Benefits of electric cars in Los Angeles
Submitted by Kim Hopkins, owner of The Electric Connection
Electric cars have been driving around Los Angeles streets in large numbers since 2003. They're also called "electric vehicles (EVs)," and in some cases, "hybrids."
More than 1 million Toyota Prius hybrids have been sold in the U.S. to date – many of them in LA. In 2009, the Toyota Prius was rated by the Environmental Protection Agency as the most fuel-efficient car on the road, averaging 50 miles per gallon.
Plug-in electric vehicles
Currently, it's not possible for Prius drivers to charge their vehicle's battery by plugging into anything, the system is recharged only by stepping on the brakes. Toyota plans to launch a Prius plug-in model in mid-2012.
Plug-in EVs can be charged from either a regular electrical outlet or a special charger that can be installed in your garage or carport. In December 2010, two new cars with plug-in capability, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, began to arrive in Los Angeles and a few other cities.
The Nissan Leaf is priced at about $35,000 and is fully electric with a no gas-burning engine. It has a range of about 100 miles before the battery needs recharging. The Chevy Volt, at about $40,000, is a plug-in hybrid. It has a range of about 40 miles before it needs a recharge or begins to use its auxiliary range-extending gasoline engine.
Government incentives for EVs
Electric cars are more affordable than they might at first seem. Through December 2011, the federal government offers a tax credit of up to $7,500 if you purchase an EV. The state of California, on a first-come-first-served basis, makes limited funds available for an additional $5,000 as a rebate.
The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power also offers a rebate for installing qualifying EV chargers. These incentives can lower the effective price of EVs so that they’re competitive with similar gas-burning cars, especially when considering the savings on fuel over the years.
The reason for government incentives for buying EVs is, of course, that EVs reduce our dependence on foreign oil and can reduce smog. About 60 percent of the oil we import fills our gas tanks. In LA, EVs are particularly important, because each one that replaces a gas-burning car helps us clean the air that we and our children breathe.
Hopkins has been an electrician in Los Angeles since 1979. His company, The Electric Connection is a leading electrical contracting company in the LA area. One of the specialties of The Electric Connection is installation of chargers for plug-in electric cars.
As of Sept. 2, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.