Shopping for an EV

Should you buy an electric vehicle? Yes. But when? It depends.

By Jim Mayfield

LMUD’s new rebate program will help you save on an EV purchase. Adobe stock photo by Paulynn

In the next five to six years, it will make sense for almost all of us to own an electric vehicle (EV). But when should you buy an EV?

If you live in a house with an electric outlet—or a potential outlet—in your garage, carport, or where you park your vehicle, “when” is sooner than later. If not, you probably should wait until there is a more robust network of EV chargers on Kaua‘i.

Is your taxable income at a level that allows you to use the current or proposed future federal tax credits? If yes, don’t wait too long. You never know when the tax credits will end. Up to $7,500 is a lot of money.

Do you own a business that allows you to apply a substantial tax deduction toward the purchase price? If yes, think sooner than later.

How important is it to you to make Kaua‘i quieter and know you’ve done something to minimize worldwide climate change? If it’s important, start looking now. Including the additional CO2 required to mine the lithium for the battery, EVs emit roughly one-third the CO2 as internal combustion engine vehicles in the first five years. Because 65% to70% of KIUC’s electricity is produced by renewable resources, the purchase of an EV on Kaua‘i does more to reduce CO2 emissions than almost any car purchased in the United States today.

How many years until you buy a new vehicle? Will it be new or a used vehicle? If you’re looking for new, many EV models are coming out in the next 12 months, including SUVs and trucks from more than half of all major national/international manufacturers. There’s no need to wait more than one to two years.

If you will be buying a used vehicle, you can wait five years or more, because the current availability of used EVs is modest. Plus, the 2020-2025 EVs should have a much larger battery with extended range than older models.

Will your next new vehicle be a truck, SUV, or sedan? If a truck, wait a year or two. The first three trucks—including the iconic Ford F-150 and Tesla Cybertruck—should hit the market in late 2022. If you’re looking for a sedan or SUV, start window shopping now. There are a number of new model EV sedans coming in the next five months.

How many years do you expect to keep your next car? If five years or longer, start thinking about which EV is best for you. The savings in maintenance and energy costs will likely offset most, if not all, the additional cost of the vehicle. That excludes the federal tax credits. Consumer Reports stated last year, “Owning an electric vehicle will save the typical driver $6,000 to $10,000 over the life of the vehicle compared to owning a comparable gas-powered vehicle.”

Newer-model EVs should have the same level of depreciation as ICE vehicles during their initial five years, after taking into consideration the initial federal tax credits.

Whether you should start shopping for an EV in the next few months or within the next five years, you should absolutely start planning now.

Lassen Municipal Utility District EV Rebate Program

Lassen Municipal Utility District is pleased to announce our new Electric Vehicle Rebate program. Customers may receive a $500 rebate on qualified EV purchases. Program details and rebate forms can be viewed and downloaded at our website. To learn more, call our Public Relations Manager at (530) 257-4174.