Getting Paid to Drive an Electric Car? It's Possible...

©. EPA/Nissan/WSJ

Do the math

There's an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal about just how cheap electric cars can actually be once you factor in incentives and saved fuel costs. Bottom line, if you live in a state that has good incentives and you take a short lease, it's possible that you could be paying almost nothing net, or even get paid, to drive an electric car. On top of that, you could be getting nice side benefits like reduced insurance rates, access to the carpool lane, free parking in some places, etc. Not bad!

That's not how most people see things right now, but I think that over time this math will become more widely understood and that will help electric vehicles. After all, the vast majority of people, on the vast majority of days, don't drive farther than the range of the current crop of EVs (and year by year that range will only get longer).

Volt and LEAF

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Subsidies, subsidies...

I can already hear those who will complain about electric car incentives and their cost to the taxpayer. This argument cannot be entirely dismissed, but to those people, I will argue that we need to get our priorities straight and keep things in perspective. The taxpayers are on the hook for hundreds of billions, if not trillions, for things like foreign wars and military presence and operations around the world to protect the oil supply. Over decades, gasoline and diesel vehicles have received billions in all kinds of help, directly and indirectly. So a few millions over a few years while a new technology grows shouldn't be at the top of the list of places to cut to save money.

It would make sense to cut all EV subsidies if it was somehow possible to retroactively cut gas-powered vehicle's subsidies; that would've made gasoline much more expensive for decades and EVs would probably be way ahead of where they are now. But I don't think we can do that...


See also: Chevrolet Spark EV to be priced $27,495 with lease starting at $199/month (119 MPGe!)