Boulder County supports community members’ adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), as EVs offer many benefits to the vehicle owner, our community’s public health, air quality, and the climate. This page provides information to assist residents in understanding how EVs work, what car models are available, costs and incentives, and how to charge at home and around town.
Electric Vehicle Resources and Information
Limited Time Offers and Discounts
Other organizations are offering the following limited-time opportunities and discounts so check them out today! All offers are subject to change so please contact each entity directly for more details.
- Nissan is offering up to $10,000 combined special offers for the 2019 LEAF model for a limited time.
- Tesla has reduced the price of the Model S Long Range Plus by $5,000. This is noted in this 2020 Tesla blog post.
- Owners of electric vehicles may qualify for up to $7,500 for the federal tax credit and up to $4,000 for the Colorado state tax credit. That is up to $11,500! Please see the section below, Vehicle Models and Pricing, for more information. Tax credits will be reduced in 2021.
- A Federal Tax Credit is available for up to $1,000 for home charging equipment and installation. Installation must occur before 2021. Consult your tax advisor to confirm your eligibility or visit the IRS website for more information. Offer ends Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020.
Benefits of Electric Vehicles
Cost savings. Reduce your fuel costs and maintenance. On average, it costs 50% less to drive an all-electric vehicle over a gasoline-powered vehicle. Federal and State tax credits can reduce purchase costs up to $11,500.
Environmentally sustainable. EVs reduce carbon pollution and improve our air quality. They also contribute to a healthy community, by reducing air pollutants that contribute to asthma.
Convenient charging. Charge your EV at home with either a standard 120-volt wall outlet or a 240-volt charger. Also, more workplaces, retail, and grocery stores are offering public charging.
What is an Electric Vehicle?
An all-electric vehicle (EV) uses electrical energy from rechargeable batteries to power an electric motor. EV batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source. Depending on the vehicle model, electric vehicles have a driving range of 100 to 330 miles per charge.
An all-electric vehicle does not have an internal combustion engine so it requires no gasoline and no oil changes. The car is clean and quiet with exceptionally little maintenance.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) runs on both electrical energy and gasoline. Thus, it has two motors, an electric motor and a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE). PHEVs will first run on battery power and then use gasoline. Batteries in PHEVs use electric power to drive 10 to 54 miles per charge and then the internal combustion engine provides approximately an additional 300 miles.
The majority of Coloradans’ commute distances are fulfilled by all-electric vehicles. However, a PHEV could be a good option if you need a longer range and don’t have the option of home or workplace charging.
Buying an Electric Vehicle
Owners of electric vehicles may qualify for up to $7,500 for the federal tax credit and up to $4,000 for the Colorado state tax credit. The exact amount of your tax credits will depend on your EV/PHEV model selection, your tax liability, and whether you purchase or lease the vehicle. Consult your tax advisor about your ability to receive tax credits, your eligibility, and how to get them. Tax credits are the highest they will be today and will decline in the future, so now is the time to consider purchasing an electric vehicle.
The table below provides a list of electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle models, and an estimate of the cost for the base model vehicle before and after the federal and state credits. The range is also included; for EVs, that is the average miles the car gets on a full charge, and for PHEVs, the range is how many miles the car gets on battery only (before and excluding the internal combustion engine mileage range). Federal and state tax credits, and MSRP are subject to change and vary based on packages and model type. Please speak with your local dealership and your tax advisor to confirm.
As a reminder, once a manufacturer sells 200,000 EVs or PHEVs, the federal tax credit is ramped down to $0. For example, Tesla and GM have reached their quota, and Federal Tax Credits are no longer available for their EV models.
Electricity is cheaper than gasoline. In March 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy completed a study that found driving an electric vehicle costs half as much as driving a conventional gas vehicle. For example, on average the cost of one gallon of gasoline is $2.32, where the cost of an equivalent gallon of electricity is $1.11. In addition, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a report that estimates $558 savings per year on fuel costs.
Maintenance is another key point to understand when thinking about cost of ownership. There are big cost saving opportunities here, as electric vehicles require less maintenance compared to internal combustion engine vehicles.
Charging Your Electric Vehicle
The time it takes to fully charge your EV is based on the level, or speed, of charging. The chart below depicts the different types of charging. A benefit of all-electric vehicles is the convenience of charging your vehicle at home overnight and never needing to go to a public gas station again!
|Type of Charging||Volts||Charge Time||Primary Location|
|Level 1||120 volts||40 miles of range in 8 hours of charging. Charging overnight is typically sufficient for those without a long commute.||Home|
|Level 2||240 volts||25 miles of range per hour of charging. 3 to 8 hours for a full charge.||Home, Workplace|
|DC Fast Chargers||480+ volts||80 to 100 miles of range in 20 to 30 minutes of charging.||Public, Interstate Corridors|
As depicted in the chart above, EV owners who want to charge at home will either use a Level 1 or Level 2 charging option. Level 1 charging occurs through a 120 volt plug which is the standard outlet for homes in the U.S. If you already have an outlet in your garage, this type of charging is convenient and low cost. However, you do need a dedicated branch circuit and we recommend speaking with an electrician to ensure safety and proper connectivity. Some EV owners choose to purchase a Level 2 charging station which charges through a 240 Volt AC plug (like a dryer or stove plug). On average, the cost for the Level 2 equipment and service is $1,000.
Popular Examples of Home Level 2 EV Charging Stations
Disclaimer – Boulder County is a local government and does not endorse any products or services. The chargers listed below are a sample of home chargers to provide EV owners with a ballpark picture of cost and style. There are many more available home chargers on the market.
In addition to the tax credits available for the purchase of electric vehicles, there is a tax credit available for residents to offset the cost of home charging equipment and installation. The Federal EV Charging Tax Credit covers 30% of a home EV charging station equipment and installation costs up to $1,000. The installation must occur before December 31, 2020 to be able to claim the credit on your federal tax return. Consult your tax advisor about your ability to receive the tax credit, your eligibility, and how to get it. This tax credit is only available in 2020 so take advantage of it today.
It’s important to choose an electrician who is licensed and insured. We recommend choosing an electrician who is knowledgeable about electric vehicles and the associated equipment when installing charging at home. Check out Xcel Energy’s list of pre-qualified contractors. In order to be featured on Xcel’s list, electricians need to have valid licenses, insurance, certifications, and take Xcel’s EV Training with a score of 80% or higher. You can read more about the vetting process here.
While most EV and PHEV owners choose to charge their vehicles at home, there are many charging options around town for convenient fueling on-the-go. Charging stations can be found while running errands such as grocery store, retail, library, gym, and restaurant locations. Be sure to ask your employer about workplace charging too.
Plugshare is a free phone app and website that helps EV owners locate charging stations. It is considered the most up-to-date and comprehensive platform for public charging. Plugshare also provides the ability to reserve a charging station, filter which level of charging station you want (i.e. Level 1, 2, or 3), filter which stations are compatible with your vehicle, and receive notifications when new charging stations have been installed nearby. For more information, visit the PlugShare customer support page.
Powering Your EV or PHEV with the Sun
You may want to power your home EV charging with a rooftop solar PV system for an even greater environmental impact and carbon neutral lifestyle. EnergySmart serves all residents in Boulder County with free, unbiased advising and can help answer questions you may have, such as:
- How to charge your EV with solar
- Which EV model may be right for your lifestyle
- Rebates on installations for rooftop solar PV
- Pre-vetted contractors for home energy upgrades
Visit EnergySmartYes.com or call 303-544-1000 to talk to an advisor.
Electric Vehicle Charging for Businesses
While most electric vehicle charging takes place at home, providing EV charging stations at work has been demonstrated to make employees 20 times more likely to purchase an EV. Businesses in Boulder County are encouraged to explore the installation of EV Charging Stations at their commercial property to increase the adoption of EVs and to provide a great amenity to both your employees and customers.
Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) Advisors are available to answer questions, connect you with grant opportunities for charging stations, and to review your grant application to optimize your chances for getting selected. Visit https://www.pacepartners.com/program-areas/transportation/ for more information.