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Energy Questions Answered

EVs on the Cheap

The state of Colorado offers one of the most aggressive incentives for plug-in electric vehicles in the country. The state offers a standard $5,000 tax credit for all light-duty EVs and can be applied at the time of purchase by assigning the tax credit to a financing entity. A $2,500 instant tax credit can also be applied to 2-year minimum leases of new EVs.

EV tax credits decrease in 2020 to $4,000 for purchases/$2,000 for leases, in 2021 to $2,500 for purchases/$1,500 for leases,and in 2023 to $2,000 for purchases/$1,500 for leases before expiring at the end of 2025. Converting a traditional gasoline vehicle to a plug-in electric is eligible for the same tax credits as EV purchases.

Overall, costs and benefits of EVs compared to gasoline vehicles include:


  • Fewer dedicated fueling stations
  • Need to fuel more often
  • Potential battery replacement


  • Potential home fueling station
  • Lower fuel cost
  • Long battery warranties
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Zero tailpipe emissions
  • Reduced total emissions (even after factoring in electric grid emissions)
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6 Responses on “EVs on the Cheap

  1. Kurt Jones says:

    Are the ranges on EV’s getting better? I seem to recall some of the early models having pretty low ranges before needing the recharge.

    1. cweiner says:

      They’re getting there. Most plug-in hybrids get 10-40 miles per charge before switching to gasoline. All-electrics typically get in the 75-100 mile range on a single charge. The exceptions are Tesla Model Ss which is rated for 270 miles/charge, and the soon-to-be-released Chevy Bolt, estimated at 238 mpc.

  2. Darrin Goodman says:

    What sort of scheduled maintenance is required on EV’s? Does the battery need to be serviced or perhaps even replaced one or more times during the life of the vehicle?

    1. Cary Weiner says:

      Good question, Darrin. Maintenance for EVs is less than maintenance for gasoline vehicles. Maintenance of plug-in hybrids is less than conventional vehicles because the internal combustion engine is only used when the vehicle isn’t in all-electric mode. All-electrics have even less maintenance because there is no internal combustion engine, there are fewer fluids to change, and fewer moving parts. Both plug-in hybrids and all-electrics use regenerative braking, so brake wear is reduced compared to conventional vehicles.

      Batteries, as you mention, are the biggest question mark. While they generally don’t require any maintenance, they can be a significant expense if they need to be replaced. Fortunately, a number of EV manufacturers offer 8-year/100,000 mile warranties on batteries.

  3. Tim Aston says:

    I saw one Nissan dealer offering a ‘group buy’ discount of $4500 per Leaf. With the federal and state tax credits, this really helps lower the cost.

  4. Irene says:

    I’m waiting for the 4WD models!

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