What is the best electric car available – and will it save you money?

Published on December 31, 2018 by Andrew Sendy

Last updated on April 09, 2019

10 minutes read

Categories: Solar 101, Solar efficiency, Solar energy, Solar panels, Solar power


What is the best electric car available – and will it save you money?

UPDATE: In January 2019 Tesla implemented changes to their model names, trim levels and prices. You can check out the latest on the Tesla electric car range here: How much is a Tesla? 2019 models and prices. If it’s just the Model 3 that you are interested in, then go here: New Tesla Model 3 price and wait time.

Electric cars, also known as electric vehicles (EVs), are disrupting the auto sector. At the moment, growth in EV sales is astronomical, accounting for almost 50% of growth in the overall car market.

There are three reasons why homeowners across the United States are snapping up EVs. The first is for the environment: the globe has already warmed 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit; in the past, a 5-degree warming wiped out almost all life on Earth. The second is that electric vehicles save you a fortune on fuel. The third reason is simply that they look really cool.

Which electric car is the best?

Saying which one is best depends on your budget and what your needs are. Generally speaking, a higher price means a larger battery and a better range. Check out the table below for evidence: Tesla models are significantly more expensive but also offer far superior range.

Model

Storage

Range

Price

Price after federal tax credit

Tesla Model 3 Long Range rear-wheel drive

75 kWh

310 miles

$49,000

$41,500

Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD

75kWh

310 miles

$54,000

$46,500

Tesla Model 3 Performance

75kWh

310 miles

$64,000

$56,500

Tesla Model X 75D

75kWh

237 miles

$86,300

$78,800

Tesla Model X 100D

100kWh

295 miles

$102,800

$95,300

Tesla Model X P100D

100kWh

289 miles

$140,000

$132,500

Tesla Model S 75D

75kWh

259 miles

$77,000

$71,500

Tesla Model S 100D

100kWh

315 miles

$96,500

$89,000

Tesla Model P100D

100kWh

335 miles

$135,000

$127,500

2018 Nissan Leaf

40kWh

151 miles

$29,990

$22,490

2018 Ford focus electric

33.5kWh

115 miles

$29,120

$21,620

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

60kWh

238 miles

$37,495

$29,995

BMW i3

33.2kWh

114 miles

$48,000

$41,500

Should I buy a Tesla EV?

The Tesla models are the best in terms of quality and range. If you are more budget minded, the Chevrolet Bolt will give you the best mileage for a reasonable price.

What does a “kWh” mean?

kWh is short for kilowatt, which is 1000 watts. So if a battery pack produces 1,000 watts over an hour, it would have produced 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh). It is an industry standard unit for measuring electric capacity, output and consumption.

[Watts, kilowatts and kilowatt hours (kWh) are explained here.]

Will I spend less charging my electric car than on fuel?

Almost certainly. If you owned a Tesla Model X 100D and pay $0.12/kWh for power (the average rate in the US), each 100kWh charge (295 miles) would cost only $12!

You can also check out the Department of Energy’s eGallon tool, which calculates the cost to fuel an electric vehicle in each state. It found that in February 2018, the national average cost of the eGallon—charging your EV at home—was $1.16 compared to a $2.61 gallon of gasoline.

Are there any incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle?

There is a federal tax credit of up $7,500 for the purchase of an EV. The following states also offer their own incentives.

 

Arizona

Reduced rates for EV charging, access to carpool lane and reduced vehicle license tax.

California

Rebate upto $2,500 (varies based on income).

Colorado

$5,000 tax credit if the vehicle is new ($2,500 if the vehicle is new and leased).

Connecticut

Rebate of $3,000 for new cars under a $60,000 base price.

Delaware

$3,500 rebate if base price under $60,000, $1,000 rebate if over $60,000.

Hawaii

Reduced rates for EV charging and access to carpool lane.

Louisiana

$2,500 tax credit.

Maryland

A $3,000 excise tax credit if vehicle is costs under $60,000. $700 rebate for wall connectors and installation.

Massachusetts

$2,500 rebate if base price under $60,000, $1,000 rebate if over $60,000.

Nevada

Reduced electric rates for EV charging.

New Jersey

Sales tax exemption.

New York

$2,000 rebate if base price under $60,000, $500 rebate if over $60,000.

Pennsylvania

A $2,000 rebate for a battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) with a battery capacity of 85kWh or more. The eligible vehicle price cap is $60,000 for BEVs and PHEVs with a battery capacity of 60 kWh or more. A $1750 rebate for BEV and PHEVs with a battery capacity of 30kWh-85kWh. A $1000 rebate for BEV and PHEVs with a battery capacity of 10kWh-30kWh. A $750 rebate for BEV and PHEV's with a battery capacity less than 10kWh.

Washington DC

Excise tax exemption.

Can I charge my electric vehicle with solar power?

Absolutely! Not only is it possible, it actually makes a lot of financial sense to do so.

On average an EV will use 8.9kWh per day, which is an additional amount of electricity added to your bill. Depending on your location this could increase your annual power spend $200-$300 in Texas and Louisiana all the way up to $1,000 in New York and Hawaii.

In most places in the US, federal and state incentives combine to make home solar energy much cheaper than buying electricity from the grid. The levelized cost of residential solar per kWh is now around 7 cents.

Using solar power is thus a cheaper way to charge your electric vehicle, besides being a green energy source for your green vehicle.

How many solar panels do I need?

The average US home uses 28kWh of power per day and 36.9kWh with an electric vehicle. Using the SolarReviews solar production map, you can get a solid estimate of how big your solar system needs to be.

If you live in southern California each kW of installed solar produces 4.5kWh daily, this would mean a 8.2kW solar system is required. Modern panels have an average output of 300 watts meaning 28 panels are needed.

How much does solar power cost?

The price of installing solar can vary from $2.70-$4.00 per watt, with $3.20-$3.60 being common. Going for the 8.2 kW system mentioned earlier this would cost $26,240, however, due to generous incentives this is rarely the amount homeowners are out of pocket for.

What solar incentives can I receive?

Provided you pay federal taxes, 30% of your solar system can be claimed as a deduction to your federal income taxes. Many states also provide tax credits and some utilities also offer rebates on the purchase of a solar system. For an accurate estimate on the cost of your system with local incentives enter your zip code below.

Can I charge my electric vehicle on an off-grid system?

Yes, however you would want to make sure your batteries—and whatever method you use to charge your batteries—can cope with the extra load. If you’re interested in learning more, here is the lowdown on off-grid battery solutions.

 

How much would solar panels cost for your home?

 

 

 

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Author: Andrew Sendy Andrew Sendy LinkedIn

As chairman of Solar Investments Inc and chairman of the largest solar panel installation company in South Australia, Andy is passionate about solar power. With his unique working background he writes on the residential solar industry in America from a unique perspective.