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Upfront Costs

Commercially available electric vehicles—similar in size and performance to traditional light-duty gasoline-powered vehicles—may cost upwards of $30,000. An at-home level 2 charging station may add between $1,000 and $4,000 installed, not including the costs of any upgrades necessary to accommodate a dedicated 240-volt circuit.


A federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is available for purchases of qualified plug-in electric vehicles. The federal tax credits will be phased out by manufacturer once 200,000 qualifying electric vehicles are sold by that manufacturer in the United States.

The state of Colorado currently offers a $5,000 instant rebate on the purchase of qualified electric vehicles. As tax credits and incentives can change rapidly and are subject to income and other restrictions, consulting a tax professional is recommended before purchasing an electric vehicle.

Operating Costs And Maintenance

In terms of operating costs for EVs, significant savings could be reaped when compared to equivalent conventional vehicles. For example, a battery-electric vehicle driven 30 miles per day would cost about $450 per year to fuel, whereas a conventional vehicle averaging 34 miles per gallon would cost about $800 to fuel assuming $2.50/gallon gasoline. Fuel costs for plug-in hybrids would likely fall in between. Should gas prices rise quicker than electricity costs over the life of the vehicle, annual savings would grow; should electricity costs rise quicker than gas prices annual savings would decrease. In addition, many utilities are beginning to offer time-of-use rates for electric customers. Electric vehicle owners who are able to recharge their vehicle battery at night during off-peak hours are likely to see additional savings when compared to gasoline powered vehicles.

In terms of maintenance, battery-electric vehicles do not have timing belts, water pumps, radiators, fuel injectors, motor oil, transmission fluid, or tailpipes to replace and do not require oil changes. Plug-in hybrids do have the parts associated with gasoline-powered vehicles but those parts do not degrade as quickly as they do in gasoline-powered vehicles because the internal combustion engine is not used as often.

In the case of plug-in hybrids, internal combustion engines should be run as required to keep the engine properly lubricated and maintained. Similarly, gasoline should generally not be left in the tank for more than one year without being used. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for performing engine and fuel maintenance.

Perhaps the biggest risk associated with maintaining a plug-in electric vehicle is the battery. To this end, it is important to secure a sound battery warranty from the dealer or manufacturer. It is not uncommon to see offers of eight year or 100,000 mile warranties for electric vehicle batteries. After the warranty expires, batteries may cost thousands of dollars to replace. In addition, electric vehicles need to be service by trained professionals, who may be hard to come by in certain parts of Colorado.

Last updated: October 19, 2017 at 14:04 pm