Electric Cars in Your Community: Is it Fad or Future?
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As the popularity of electric vehicles has increased, so has the response from the US and Texas Energy Commissions. Efforts to build electric vehicle charging station sites throughout the state include a primary focus on the Dallas, Austin/San Antonio area and Houston triangle and other main transportation corridors. These efforts have resulted in 874 public electric vehicle charge points2 representing the 2nd largest state network in the nation behind California.
More about ZEVs and incentives.
ZEV is a broad term defining any vehicle that is at least partially powered by a battery or fuel-cell. The two primary types include BEVs, or battery-electric vehicles, and PHEVs, or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
BEVs, which have been a bit slower to gain popularity among buyers, are powered solely from electricity stored in their batteries and require a regular recharge. They typically have a range between 70 and 100 miles on a full charge. The Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S are widely recognized in this category.
Hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, are the most rapidly growing breed of ZEV. This is likely because they provide owners the option to recharge their battery or gas up their vehicle at the traditional filling station. With the infrastructure for charging stations still in development in most areas, the gasoline option helps to reduce “range anxiety” owners of ZEVs often experience. PHEVs can only travel up to 35 miles on electricity alone, but that range can extend to more than 300 miles in electric/gas hybrid mode.
Ongoing local and federal incentives are helping to entice residents considering a greener way to drive to jump on the electric bandwagon. Some of these include emissions test exemptions for electric cars and PEV charging station rebates. For example, Austin Energy provides up to a $10,000 rebate to multi-family properties that install charging stations onsite. Federal tax credits have also helped ease the higher price points of PEVs. Owners of BEVs typically see tax credits of $7,500 and PHEV owners receive $5,000 or less. With the combined benefits of fuel savings, lower maintenance costs and environmental impact, it is not surprising consumers are getting onboard.
Impact for your community.
As more electric vehicles hit the road, the demand for charging options near work centers and residential areas continues to increase, ultimately moving this topic closer to the top of the community homeowners association (HOA) consideration list. So this once seldom discussed amenity is likely to become a more common expectation for residents and homebuyers.
In fact, many HOA boards are now seriously evaluating the pros and cons of adding charging stations to their communities or buildings. This new amenity feature could help to enrich the lifestyle of residents, as well as enhance property values and ultimately the marketability of the building or community.
2 US Department of Energy AFDC