Many clean energy experts predict 2022 will be the year of the electric vehicle (EV). More battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are available than ever before, including electric pickups like the Rivian R1T and the Ford-150 Lightning. There are also many new luxury and sports EVs, like the Cadillac Lyric and Lucid Air. As the driving range of EVs increases, they are becoming more and more appealing here in Oregon and Washington.
When purchasing an EV, it’s wise to consider how to charge it. The amount of time it takes to fully charge depends on the battery’s capacity, level of charge, and type of EV charger. Also, it’s important to consider what energy source is used to create the electricity. For example, charging an EV with solar energy reduces emissions and helps combat climate change.
At Smart Solar Energy, we are dedicated to promoting clean energy. We install Level II EV chargers that reduce charging time and make EV ownership more convenient. Often, we install solar panels and EV chargers together because solar power and electric cars are such a great combination.
What are the different types of home EV chargers?
There are two different types of chargers that are commonly used for residential applications across Oregon.
Level I EV Chargers
These devices use 120-volt wall outlets to charge, and virtually all EVs come with a standard home connector kit. Although this is a simple option because it requires buying no new electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), Level I chargers take a long time. Level I chargers are a good option for households that are not in a hurry to charge. However, most EV owners find a faster charger far more convenient and therefore upgrade their home EV charging station.
Level II Home Chargers
Many EV owners upgrade to a Level II EV charger. These units use a 240-volt current to fully charge a discharged battery in 4-10 hours or just 1-2 hours for a PHEV. The charging time is shorter when the battery is not fully depleted. These devices require the same voltage as many electric water heaters, ranges, or clothes dryers.
Smart Solar Energy installs JuiceBox charging stations throughout Oregon and Washington. These chargers cost between $750-$1,400 for labor and material. The cost depends on the layout of the property and electrical system.
What EV chargers does Smart Solar Energy install?
We install JuiceBox Level II EV charging stations. These vehicle chargers make it easy to charge your BEV or PHEV quickly. JuiceBox chargers include intelligent WiFi controls, so you can monitor and control your charger using a Smartphone app. It also comes with an LED display, which shows the vehicle charging status.
Does Smart Solar Energy install Level III chargers for home use?
Although Level II chargers are popular for residential applications, Level III chargers are used primarily for commercial and industrial applications. The cost to install a Level III is much higher, so they don’t make sense financially for home use.
How can I charge my vehicle on the go in Oregon?
Even if you have a home EV charger, it might still make sense to sometimes charge your vehicle on the go. Many shopping centers in Portland, Salem, and Eugene have electric car chargers. If you go on long-distance trips that exceed the range of your vehicle, it is critical to charge outside of the home.
If you frequently charge on the go, it might be more cost-effective to join a network. It might also be useful to download a public charger location app. Here are a few of the leading options.
Also, keep in mind that there are three different EV charger plugs for fast chargers that are associated with different manufacturers. You will want to make sure that a given charger is compatible with your vehicle. The three EV charger plugs are CHAdeMO, SAE Combo/CSS, and the Tesla Supercharger.
Should I install solar panels with my EV charger?
Yes!!! Although we might be a bit biased because we are so enthusiastic about renewable energy, solar power and EVs are an excellent combination. This is especially true for households that want to reduce their energy bills or help protect the environment. Smart Solar Energy installs both solar energy systems and EV chargers, so we can complete both projects at the same time.
Although EVs are considered zero-emissions vehicles, there are emissions associated with much of the electricity used to charge EVs. In Oregon, more than a quarter of our electricity comes from coal power plants and nearly a quarter comes from natural gas. That means just over half of our electricity come from fossil fuels that create carbon emissions and rely on finite natural resources.
Currently, less than 10% of our power in Washington and Oregon comes from wind and solar energy, but that number is steadily increasing. Installing solar panels on your home is a great way to help increase renewable energy consumption in Oregon while reducing your reliance on fossil fuels. Combining a solar system and an EV charger means you can also dramatically reduce your reliance on oil.
Unfortunately, there are some situations where we don’t recommend installing solar panels. Heavily shaded roofs are not usually a good match for solar panels unless there is a way to minimize the shading. For example, sometimes trimming a tree or two can do the trick. In other cases, a ground mount can help take advantage of a sunny property if the home roof is shaded.
Also, it doesn’t usually make sense for renters to install solar panels on a property they do not own. In both cases, joining a community solar farm might be a better option than installing a solar system on your home.
Regardless of the solar energy potential of your home, getting an EV and installing a home charging station is likely still a good idea, especially because there are some exceptional EV incentives available right now.
Are EV incentives available in Oregon?
Oregon has one of the best incentive programs for EVs in the country! Let’s explore the options so you can reduce the cost of purchasing a new or even used EV.
Oregon EV Rebates
The Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program provides rebates up to $2,500 for vehicles with at least a 10 kWh battery. However, larger incentives are now available for low to moderate-income households that buy or lease new or used EVs. Currently, Oregon has the best EV incentives in the country!
The Charge Ahead rebates are available up to $5,000 for vehicles purchased or leased in January 2022 and later. The Oregon EV rebates are available for households that make between $51,000 to $251,000 and vary by household size. Please refer to the Charge Ahead Rebate Income Eligibility Calcultor for details on the income qualification requirements.
The Charge Ahead program produces a list of eligible EVs. These EVs include the:
- Chevy Bolt
- Chrysler Pacific hybrid
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Hyundai Ioniq EV or PHEV
- Kia Niro EV or PHEV
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Nissan Leaf
- Polestar 2
- Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid PHEV
- Tesla Model 3 & Model Y
- Toyota Prius Prime PHEV
To qualify for the rebate program, the EV owner must apply for the EV rebate within six months of purchasing the vehicle. Also, they must live in Oregon and have the vehicle registered in the state for at least two years. If they sell their EV after less than two years, they will need to return part of the rebate.
Federal EV Tax Credits
There are tax credits available for up to $7,500 for purchasing a new BEV or PHEV, but hybrids without plug-in capabilities are not eligible. Unfortunately, used and leased vehicles are not eligible either.
Also, the amount of the tax credit varies by the automaker and model. We highly recommend speaking with a tax specialist to ensure you can use the tax credit.
How to Apply for the EV Tax Credit
The EV tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income taxes. Thus, a $6,000 tax credit would reduce the amount of money you owe the IRS by $6,000. However, the tax credit doesn’t have any value to the EV owner if they do not have any federal tax liability.
If you purchase an EV in 2022, you can apply the tax credit to your 2022 taxes using IRS Form 8936. Therefore, this incentive operates differently than the Oregon EV rebate, which isn’t associated with your taxes in any way.
EV Tax Credits by Model
Not all new BEVs and PHEVs qualify for the full $7,500 federal EV tax credit, and some EVs don’t qualify for any tax credit. The eligible models vary over time, so refer to the FuelEconomy.gov website for up-to-date information. Before purchasing a new EV, determine if the given model is eligible.
As of March 2022, the following 2022 vehicles qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit, including the:
- Audi A7 TFSI (PHEV), Q4 e-tron, Q5 TSFI (PHEV)
- BMW i4, iX, X5
- Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid
- Ford Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit
- Hyundai Ioniq 5 (EV), Kona (EV)
- Jaguar I-Pace
- Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (PHEV), Grand Cherokee (PHEV)
- Kia EV6, Niro (EV)
- Lexus NX Plug-in Hybrid
- Mazda MX-30
- Mercedes EQS 450+, EQS 580
- Mini Cooper EV
- Nissan Leaf
- Porsche Cayenne E-hybrid
- Rivian R1T
- Toyota RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrid
- Volvo CX40 Recharge Pure Electric & S90 Extended Range
The following 2022 vehicles qualify for less than a $7,500 tax credit, including the:
- BMW 330e, 530e, 745e
- Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid
- Hyundai Ioniq (PHEV), Santa Fe (PHEV), Tuscan (PHEV)
- Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid
- Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, Corsair Grand Touring (PHEV)
- Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in
- Range Rover Sport PHEV
- Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
- Toyota Prius Prime Plug-in Hybrid
- Volvo S90
Unfortunately, some automakers do not make vehicles that are eligible for the EV tax credit, including the 2022:
- Chevrolet Bolt, Bolt Electric Utility Vehicle
- GMC Hummer EV
- Tesla Model 3, Model S, Model X, Model Y
Why don’t Tesla and Chevy EVs qualify for the tax credit?
Unfortunately, the tax credit starts to phase out for a manufacturer’s vehicles when they have sold at least 200,000 qualified units for use in the United States. So, Tesla and General Motors vehicles reached that number a few years ago, and their EVs are not currently eligible for the tax credit. Because General Motors own GMC and Chevrolet, the same applies to these automakers.
Should I purchase an EV in Oregon or Washington?
There are many advantages to driving an electric car, SUV, or pickup. As gas prices increase, the savings from going electric also increase. In addition, the maintenance costs associated with owning EVs are lower than traditional gas-powered vehicles. This is because cars with electric motors are simpler than those with internal combustion engines and have fewer moving parts.
A 2020 report by the Oregon Department of Energy found that the transportation sector accounts for 40% of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, switching to an EV is an excellent way to protect the environment and reduce reliance on oil, especially when combined with clean, solar energy.
Want to learn more about installing a home EV charger? Contact Smart Solar Energy today to get started!