A woman wearing a red coat is charging her electric vehicle while out and about, as many renters do!
Photo Credit:
Adobe Stock
EVs for renters

How to Navigate Going Electric for Renters: Understanding Electric Vehicles

Siboney Winter
September 8, 2023

How to Navigate Going Electric for Renters: Understanding Electric Vehicles

If you're a renter and thinking about getting an electric vehicle (EV), you're not just daydreaming; you're making a savvy, earth-friendly, and wallet-smart move. With more public charging spots, financial incentives, and brilliant solutions cropping up, the electric vehicle transition is practically knocking on your door, ready to make your life greener and more convenient.

As a renter, I understand why you might have some questions, though, especially when it comes to charging. It's natural to worry about where and how you'll charge your EV without a dedicated home charging station. But guess what? The EV industry’s growth is booming, and the charging infrastructure is expanding rapidly.

Think about it this way: when driving a conventional car, you already leave home to fill up with gas. The transition to an EV involves a similar process—except you're refueling with electricity, which can be done at various public charging stations, your workplace, or even while running errands. We will explore the various aspects of buying an EV as a renter, including charging options, financial incentives, and some clever tips for seamlessly integrating EV ownership into your life.

Charging an EV as a Renter

Many cities and towns have public charging stations that are easily accessible to renters. These can be found at shopping centers, office buildings, and public parking lots. There are new apps and websites, for example, PlugShare and ChargePoint, that will help you locate nearby charging stations and check their availability in real time.

More office parks are including EV charging stations in parking lots and parking garages, which improves the carbon footprint of a workplace. Encouraging sustainability in the workplace is a great incentive, and if you have the privilege of having charging stations at work, take advantage of it! Retailers like Target, Walmart, Costco, and other grocery store chains are increasingly adding EV charging stations to their parking lots. These are convenient places to charge while you shop for groceries or run errands.

A woman holds groceries while she stands by her charging Electric Vehicle
Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Some regions host EV meetups or events that feature charging stations, creating an opportunity to connect with fellow EV enthusiasts while charging your vehicle. Coming up Sep 22nd-Oct 1st is the National Drive Electric Week 2023. This is a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in vehicles of all kinds. You can RSVP online for an in-person or online event if you want to learn more.

Switch Up Your Habits

Transitioning to an EV does require a change in your habits, but it's not as daunting as it may seem. Keep in mind that you already need to go to a gas station to refuel a conventional vehicle; switching to an EV merely involves incorporating charging into your routine. Here are some tips to ease the transition.

  • Plan Your Routes: Use apps to find charging stations along your route.
  • Charge During Idle Time: Charge while shopping, working, or running errands.
  • Look into Emergency Roadside Assistance: Many automakers offer roadside assistance packages
  • Plug-in When You Can: Use a standard household outlet for slower charging, carry a portable charger, or use a friend or family’s outlets. (Sidenote: These charging cables often have copper, so depending on where you live, keep an eye on it.)

Financial Incentives for EV Buyers

To get more folks excited about electric vehicles, the federal government and some forward-thinking states are offering some sweet financial perks for buyers! Yep, on November 15th, 2021, President Biden gave the green light to the Bipartisan Infrastructure LAW (BIL), and it's got some cash tucked away for spreading EV charging stations all over this great land.

They're not messing around, either! Check this out: there are these cool new USDOT programs called the National Electric Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program (with a hefty $5 Billion) and the Discretionary Grant Program for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (rocking $2.5 Billion). These programs are making waves and making it easier for us to plug in our EVs.

And if you want all the nitty-gritty details, just hop on over to the US Department of Transportation website, where they've got the scoop on the Federal Funding Program.

As of right now, the largest climate investment in US history is the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) signed on August 16, 2022. It is focused on revitalizing American resources to improve access to EVs and EV charging infrastructure. There currently are multiple EV-related programs across federal agencies you can learn more about.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also provides a federal tax credit for EV buyers. The credit amount varies depending on the vehicle's battery capacity but can be as high as $7,500 if you qualify.

There are qualifications you can learn about, such as:

  • You must buy an electric vehicle for personal use,
  • You must not buy it for resale,
  • And you must use it primarily in the US.

Many states offer additional incentives, such as rebates, tax credits, reduced registration fees, and access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. These incentives vary widely by state, so it's essential to research what's available in your area. For example, Maryland is a state to highlight this year when it comes to tax credit incentives. “Beginning July 1, 2023, qualified EV and FCEV purchasers may apply for an excise tax credit of up to $3,000,”. The tax credit is first-come, first-served and is limited to one vehicle per individual and 10 vehicles per business entity.

Innovative Charging Solutions

The EV charging landscape continues to evolve, with innovative solutions emerging to make charging more accessible and convenient. Cities are developing fast-charging hubs in central locations, making it easier for renters to access high-speed charging when needed. For example, NYC DOT and New York Power Authority are creating 13 Public fast-charging hubs at municipal parking facilities across New York City.

To sum it all up, if you're currently a renter contemplating the switch to an electric vehicle, don't dismiss it as just wishful thinking. In fact, you're embarking on a wise and eco-conscious journey that's not only budget-savvy but also increasingly accessible. The electric vehicle revolution is on the cusp of transforming your lifestyle, thanks to the growing number of public charging stations, enticing financial incentives, and innovative solutions. It's as if the electric vehicle transition is at your doorstep, poised to usher in a greener and more convenient way of life.

As the EV market continues to grow, so will the accessibility and convenience of charging options, making the switch not only doable but increasingly hassle-free. So, get out there, change your habits, and explore all the resources available. You'll be cruising into the future of transportation with a big grin on your face and a green planet at your back. Happy charging!

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