ELECTRIC VEHICLES - OVERVIEW
Driving an electric vehicle is a powerful way to keep Alameda green. Your carbon footprint will shrink by half when you swap a gas-powered car for an electric model because the greenhouse gas emissions from electricity are lower than those from gasoline.
If you’re ready to fight climate change and reduce air pollution by driving an electric vehicle, you’ll discover there is a lot to learn about the vehicles available on the market, how to charge your car, and how to take advantage of rebates. The information below can help you get started.
Why Electric Vehicles Are Greener
Transportation contributes nearly 40 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California – more than any other economic sector. The stakes are even higher in Alameda, where transportation emissions are half of all GHG emissions. Transportation emissions include those coming from gasoline-powered tailpipes.
Electric vehicles are cleaner than gas vehicles, with lower emissions of pollution. The greenhouse gas emissions due to electricity are comparatively low and trending even lower as more carbon-neutral energy is added to our power mix. Fueling up with electricity instead of gas means fewer overall greenhouse gas emissions in California. Electric vehicles also reduce overall air pollution.
Electricity vs Gasoline
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reported that, as of March 2018, the average price of a gallon of conventional gasoline was $3.36. The comparative electric “gallon” in California was only $1.68 – half that of gasoline.
The DOE has created a vehicle cost calculator to help compare the total cost of ownership for an EV to a traditional gasoline-powered car. The tool can be found here. If you’re looking for a more local calculator, try UC Davis’s Electric Vehicle Explorer...
The California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project provides a list of electric vehicles that are on the market and qualify for state rebates. Check out the list here.
Fully Electric vs Hybrids
A full electric vehicle runs on 100 percent electricity. Plug-in hybrids are designed to give drivers the ability to use electricity or gas to power their cars. For example, a Nissan Leaf is a 100 percent electric vehicle, while a Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid.
Federal and State Incentives
Both California and the federal government offer incentives for buying electric cars.
Electric vehicle owners can get up to $7,500 in federal tax credits. Find out more...
California offers rebates of up to $7,000 for electric vehicles. Find out more...
Clean Vehicle Assistance Program
Provides grants and affordable financing to help low-income Californians purchase a new or used hybrid or electric vehicle. Our goal is to make clean vehicles accessible and affordable to all who qualify."
AMP Electric Vehicles Discount
To offset some of your bill increase, AMP currently offers an electric vehicle discount on your bill. The discount ranges from $9 to $21 per month depending on the weight of the vehicle. Please note that the discount is an experimental rate and may be replaced in the future by a different rate structure specific to electric vehicle owners.
Impact On Your Electric Bill
When you use electricity as fuel for your car, you can expect that your electric bill will go up. The amount of increase will vary depending on how much you drive and how often you charge at home. Your bill increase will likely be less than what you have been spending monthly at the gas station, if your driving habits otherwise remain the same.Since electricity becomes more expensive as you use more of it, you will likely find that you will have some electricity use in Tier 3, the highest of AMP’s tiers of monthly energy usage. Learn more about the energy usage tiers here...
Types of EV Chargers
Currently, there are different types of electric vehicle chargers - Level 1, Level 2, Level 3
You can use a typical household outlet – the 120-volt standard outlet - to plug in your vehicle. This simple and inexpensive charging option will produce a range of about three to five miles per hour. You can get a full charge in 8 to 20 hours. The make and model of the car, the car’s battery, and the charger all affect how long it will take to get a full charge.
These charging stations use a 240-volt outlet, which is commonly used for home dryers. Level 2 chargers are significantly faster than Level 1, generating as much as 25 miles of range for each hour that you charge. You can get a full charge in 4 to 8 hours. The make and model of the car, the car’s battery, and the charger all affect how long it will take to get a full charge.
You can charge your vehicle in about 30 minutes with Level 3 charging. When you charge your vehicle at a 480-volt Level 3 public charging station, you can get around 75-90 miles of range. At this time, only certain kinds of electric cars can use Level 3 charging.
Public Charging Stations in Alameda
Charging at Home
If you have a 120-volt outlet available in your garage, you may be able to use that to “slow” charge your vehicle overnight.
You can also install a level 2 charger, which requires a 240-volt outlet. AMP offers a $500 rebate which can cover most of the cost of the hardware. Find details below.
If you need to upgrade your panel to accommodate a 240-volt outlet and the new electric load, you’ll need to work with a licensed electrician. Fees for this work range from $500 - $1500.
The project will require an over-the-counter permit from the city of Alameda, which is $230. Click here for more details on the Alameda permit process, which is often handled by your electrician. The level 2 charger does not require a new meter.
A DC fast charger, or level 3 charger, cannot be installed at home.
AMP offers cash rebates on electric vehicle chargers for residents, businesses and public agencies. Here’s what you should know about our rebate for residents:
EV Charger Rebates for the Home
You can get up to $500 from AMP when you buy a level 2 electric vehicle charger for your home. Level 2 chargers offer convenience and speed. You can charge your vehicle at home instead of at a public charging station. And you can get a full charge faster.
EV Charging Station Rebates for the Businesses and Public Agencies
Businesses and public agencies can get up to $3,000 when they buy charging stations for the workplace. The rebate helps you lower your costs when you install charging stations at your business.
Please consult the CARB website before purchasing your new vehicle. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues the sticker for $22.