EarthTalk: What’s The Best Bang For My Buck On The New Plug-in Cars?


Published:

Dear EarthTalk: I’m finally ready to make the switch from my old gas guzzler to an electric or plug-in hybrid car. What are the best bang-for-my-buck deals on these newfangled vehicles? — Mickey LaMonte, Boston, MA

With each new model year, automakers continue to expand their offerings of affordable and fun plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. While consumers obviously want these new cars, this year’s phase-in of President Obama’s higher automotive fuel efficiency standards have given automakers another reason to step up the manufacturing of less consumptive vehicles that compete in price with their gas and diesel counterparts. Also, new car buyers can cash in on up to $7,500 in federal tax incentives (and possibly more from their own state—check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy to find out) to help defray the costs of getting into an EV or plug-in hybrid. What this means is that giving up gas has never been so easy—or cheap.

A case in point is Ford’s redesigned C-Max Energi, a plug-in hybrid that gives drivers a range of up to 500 miles as well as 19 miles of all-electric driving for under $28,000 factoring in the federal tax rebate. Not to be outdone, General Motors’ Chevrolet brand is coming on strong with several of its own affordable EVs and plug-in hybrids. The Spark Electric gets more than 80 miles per charge and can be had for less than $19,000. Chevy fans looking for a beefier engine and torquier ride can opt for the Volt plug-in hybrid, which runs for 380 miles using its gas engine as a generator or 38 miles on electric battery power alone—all for less than $27,000.

Meanwhile, German automakers continue to innovate on the electric vehicle front. BMW’s all-electric I3 EV zooms from zero to 60 in seven quiet seconds and, despite its punky look, drives just like a...Beemer. The all-electric base version of the I3 can be had for around $35,000 and gets drivers 81 miles per charge, but owners can opt to add a small back-up gas engine (for another $4,000) turning the car into a plug-in hybrid with a 150-mile range.

While Volkswagen may be in the dog house with environmentalists given its diesel emissions cheating scandal, the company is making some amends with the new all-electric version of its zippy sport-tuned hatchback, the e-Golf. Factoring in the federal EV tax credit, customers can drive off in a new e-Golf for less than $23,000—a great deal on a cutting edge fuel efficient vehicle if there ever was one.

If even that seems like too much money, consider an even smaller electric car. Smart’s FourTwo Coupe is a two-seater, around-town EV that will set you back just $13,000 following the federal tax rebate. Another logical choice is Mitsubishi’s similarly compact I-MiEV for under $16,000.

While all these choices are well and good if you need a car ASAP, those willing to wait until next year might want to hold out for Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3, a sporty all-electric sedan with a 215 mile range. The car will retail for $35,000, meaning that consumers should be able to get it for $27,500 after the federal tax rebate). Tesla is hoping that the solid range, sporty drive train and stylish look might just make the Model 3 the “it” EV on the market when it hits showroom floors in 2017.

CONTACTS: Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, www.dsireusa.org; Smart USA, www.smartusa.com; Tesla Motors, www.teslamotors.com.

EarthTalk® is produced by Roddy Scheer & Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of the nonprofit Earth Action Network. To donate, visit www.earthtalk.org. Send questions to: question@earthtalk.org.

See also:
Why Aren’t Auto Manufacturers Producing Electric Cars?
Making Hitchhiking Safe Again

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

August 18, 2018

Early morning apprehensions could be a response to the taut energies of the first quarter Moon in Scorpio. It isn’t easy being the center of attention while also craving solitude. By daybreak the Moon is approaching an engaging sextile with Mars…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

August 2018

A fantastic shopping and educational experience for the whole family! Vendors come from New England, across the US, and many foreign countries to exhibit minerals, fossils, gemstones, jewelry,...

Cost: $8 adults, under 13 free

Where:
Eastern States Exposition
1305 Memorial Ave.
West Springfield, MA  01089
View map »


Sponsor: LLD Productions, Inc.
Telephone: 505-867-0425
Contact Name: Regina Aumente
Website »

More information

Readings, healings, vendors, presentations.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn
85 Glastonbury Blvd.
South Glastonbury, CT  06066
View map »


Website »

More information

During the weekend of August 10-12, 2018 we will gather again at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts for the 44th Annual NOFA SC. This immersive annual gathering is an opportunity to come...

Cost: See website

Where:
Hampshire College
Amherst, MA


Sponsor: Northeast Organic Farming Association
Telephone: 774-262-7986
Contact Name: Marjorie Bailey
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

August 13 - 17, 9am - 1pm Instructor: Peyton Pugmire For student entering grades 6-8 iPhones are amazing, but you know what’s even more amazing? You! During this imaginative week...

Cost: $250

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Website »

More information

August 13 - 16 Juan Li has been teaching Daoist energy practices for the last 27 years. He has created a sequence of practices based on the I Ching, adapted to the emotional and mental...

Cost: $950 single retreat; $1650 for both retreats (8/16)

Where:
Angels’ Rest Retreat
63 North County Road
Leyden, MA  01337
View map »


Sponsor: Tao Retreats
Telephone: 212-243-6771
Contact Name: Sharon Smith
Website »

More information

August 13 - 14 This fun and exciting healing workshop guarantees you valuable knowledge and powerful skills to keep you in a higher vibration of energy and flowing with infinite intelligence and...

Where:
Royal Plaza Best Western
Marlborough, MA


Sponsor: Geozuwa
Telephone: 646-606-9935
Website »

More information

August 13 - 21 With NLP training and master healer certification. This course is specifically designed for healers of every modality. For information call (646) 606-9935 or visit...

Where:
Marlboro, MA


Telephone: 646-606-9935
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

August 14 - 24 For millennia people have entered the wilderness to encounter Spirit and seek their direction, purpose, or medicine. If you are seeking guidance and renewal, or you’re...

Cost: $1295

Where:
Somerset Lake
P.O. Box 48
Putney, VT  05346
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Air and Stone
Telephone: 802-387-6624
Contact Name: Sparrow Hart
Website »

More information

What better way to end a busy day than with a little bliss. We'll support your body right where it is today and help you to open your spine to find more movement and flexibility. Begin and end...

Cost: $18

Where:
Body Love Wellness Center
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Sponsor: Bliss Through Yoga
Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Yoga is an ancient behavioral practice that allows for the development and enhancement of mind-body skills and behavioral factors including physical functioning, self-regulation of internal...

Cost: Free

Where:
CIC Cambridge
One Broadway
Charles Conference Room, 14th Floor
Cambridge, MA  02142
View map »


Sponsor: CIC Wellness
Telephone: 617-953-0674
Contact Name: Shakti Rowan
Website »

More information

Barbara Macias will present an information workshop on the benefits of essential oils. A demonstration of the oils will be included. Please RSVP at katboston@comcast.net

Cost: Free

Where:
NBA Business Center
145 Washington Street
Route 53
Norwell, MA  02061
View map »


Sponsor: Mind Balance Hypnosis
Telephone: 339-788-1193
Contact Name: Kathryn Caruso

More information

Relax and restore this summer with free outdoor yoga classes on historic Rogers Field! We’re packing the lawn with yogis of all levels for yoga led by experienced practitioners from Dragonfly...

Cost: Free

Where:
Rogers Field
Devens, MA


Sponsor: Dragonfly Wellness Center
Telephone: 978-487-7181
Contact Name: Anne Ferguson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

August 16 - 19 Magnetic-harmonic vibrational therapist, Jay Emmanuel, A.K., N.S.,V.M. shares powerful energy techniques that use the forces of sounds produced by the human voice in combination...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
430 East St.
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

August 16 - 19 Juan Li has been teaching Daoist energy practices for the last 27 years. He has created a sequence of practices based on the I Ching, adapted to the emotional and mental...

Cost: $950 single retreat; $1650 for both retreats (8/13)

Where:
Angels’ Rest Retreat
63 North County Road
Leyden, MA  01337
View map »


Sponsor: Tao Retreats
Telephone: 212-243-6771
Contact Name: Sharon Smith
Website »

More information

Daily practice for peace, healing, Christ mindedness, meditation, awakening.

Where:
Milton, MA


Telephone: 617-696-5685
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

With June Edward, “The Massachusette Medium” This is a mediumship gallery with June Edward, the “Massachusetts Medium!” Have you ever wanted to talk to someone on the...

Cost: $55 on Eventbrite, $60 at door

Where:
Plymouth Lodge AF & AM
116 S Meadow Rd
Plymouth, MA  02360
View map »


Sponsor: June Edward “The Massachusetts Medium”
Telephone: 508-259-1231
Contact Name: June Edward
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Guide: Peyton Pugmire Ages 16+ Like meditating with a paintbrush! Escape your stress and routine and re-connect with yourself, your heart and soul - one brushstroke at a time. This fun...

Cost: $85 (includes cost of all supplies)

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Peyton Pugmire
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags