Benefits to Buying & Using an Electric Vehicle

The 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric will be available nationwide by early 2012.

The 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric will be available nationwide by early 2012.

Just as having a charging station on your business premises can bring you many benefits, owning and operating an electric vehicle can provide some excellent benefits as well—whether you are an individual, a small business or a large corporation.


  • Huge “fuel” cost savings. Because of our public utilities and dams in North Central Washington, electricity here is just about the least expensive in the world. An average electric passenger car can be driven here for less than a penny a mile when operating on electricity alone. Compare that to the nationwide average of about 15 cents per mile for gas-powered cars and you begin to see how economical EVs can be. You could save thousands on fuel costs each year.
  • Tax credits-get money back. Just like with the installation of charging stations, the federal government has provided a tax credit on the purchase of electric vehicles. Currently that tax credit sits at $7,500 and can help to substantially reduce the purchase price of an electric vehicle. In addition, the state of Washington has waived the state sales tax (6.5%) towards the purchase of an electric vehicle. In the case of a $33,000 Nissan LEAF, that sales tax savings would be about $2,200.
  • Far fewer tuneups and repairs. Electric drivetrains replace the thousands of moving parts and pieces of emissions equipment that are required in gas-powered vehicles with an electric motor with two moving parts. Cost savings per mile in no oil changes and no engine tuneups/service can really add up. Even though the batteries in an electric car are expensive, they are warrantied for long periods of time (Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt have an 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranty) and have been shown to have great durability. These are not the batteries of old. Even though PHEVs like the Chevy Volt have an engine to extend their range (see “EV Basics” for definitions of PHEV and BEV) it will likely not use the engine that much and you will still see cost savings—although driving a PHEV will never be as inexpensive as driving a BEV.
  • “Fill up” at home or your place of business. The freedom to fill up daily from the comfort of your own garage is an added benefit of operating an electric car. Never be subjected to the price swings of gas stations again. No more out of the way trips to fill up after a long day of work.
  • Support the local economy. When you fill up your car with electricity in North Central Washington, you can be sure that almost all of that energy comes from one of the local utilities and almost all of it comes from a local dam. Instead of filling up with fuel that comes from foreign countries that may be hostile to the U.S., why not bypass that altogether?
  • Reduce or eliminate emissions. With electricity that comes from dams, there are almost no emissions associated with driving an electric car in North Central Washington. Given that our region relies heavily on tourism to sustain our economy, the fewer the emissions the better our region looks.

Example Case Study: How Switching to Electric Vehicles Can Benefit Business

Let’s say you’re a business that uses four light duty commercial vans to deliver goods and services around the region. More than likely most of the time your fleet vans drive less than 100 miles a day—which is about what a current generation electric vehicle can drive on one charge. Sometimes one of your vehicles drives more than 100 miles in a day, so you’re worried about completely switching to electric vehicles. You decide to keep one of your gas-powered fleet vans for those long distance trips, but switch out the other three for electric fleet vans.

If your vans drive, on average, 20,000 miles a year and gas costs $3 per gallon (who knows how much it will cost in the future), with your old gas-powered fleet you were likely paying about $3,300 per vehicle per year in fuel costs alone. Likely you also had at least another $1,000 of oil changes, tuneups and service each year as well. So, just about $4,000 per year per vehicle.

An electric fleet van—with the same capacity and features as the gas-powered one—using our region’s 3 cents per kilowatt-hour electricity cost, would cost about $200 per year in “fuel” costs and likely about $200 in service. So $400 per year per vehicle—that’s ten times less than a gas-powered fleet van!

Adding it all up, if three of your gas-powered fleet vans were switched out for electric ones, you would save about $3,600 per vehicle per year, for a total yearly cost savings of $10,800. Imagine what that extra money could buy for your business. Even if the up front costs of electric vehicles are a bit higher, you could easily make that back up and then start paying dividends within a few years.