Charge up your lifestyle with an electric vehicle
GOAL: 2500 EVs by 2020
Fall 2021 locally registered vehicles
Lower operating costs
On a mile-for-mile basis, the electricity needed to power an EV costs from one-quarter to one-third less than gasoline. If you have a rooftop solar system, the cost to power your EV can be rolled into those system costs and electricity production.
Charging stations proliferating
There are hundreds of EV charging stations within 30 miles of Davis, and scores within Davis proper, including several DC fast chargers. You can expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of chargers at workplaces in Sacramento in the next few years.
Don’t like hanging out at gas stations?
Electric motors are super efficient and clean and require much less maintenance than an internal combustion engine. No more oil changes and no more trips to the gas station except to fill up tires and wash windows. Plug-in hybrid engines require much less maintenance over time especially if most trips are electric.
Zero tailpipe emissions
All-electric EVs produce no tailpipe emissions, in fact, they have no tailpipes! Bicyclists and pedestrians love this. Getting around town on zero emissions — which in Davis is 40 percent of our vehicle miles — means healthier air for our kids and seniors. Even plug-in hybrids produce no emissions while in electric mode. Needless to say, this is an undeniable plus.
EVs are safer
Heavy battery packs sit below the passenger seats, making EVs more stable and less likely to roll over than a traditional car. Because all-electric EVs do not carry flammable gasoline, it’s also very unlikely they’ll explode in an accident.
EVs can cool the climate
For most, switching to an electric vehicle is the easiest single step towards reducing negative impacts on the environment especially if you commute even a medium distance to work. In California, long commute times and daily rush hour traffic contribute significantly to global warming and poor air quality.
Could you ride a bike or small vehicle instead?
Sometimes it’s better to go simple, and your daily commute is no exception. If you work in town, you could make an even greater impact by switching to walking, cycling, or acquiring a street legal low-speed or neighborhood vehicle.
Electric range keeps growing
While more expensive models top the scale, new mid-cost models are in a close second making range anxiety a thing of the past. The electric-only range of both older and newer hybrid models is more than enough for a short regional commute.
Fast charging DC “quick” chargers can fully charge compatible vehicles in 20 minutes to 1 hour. There are several publicly available quick chargers in Davis. Home chargers at 240V take about 4 to 6 hours to fully charge an all electric vehicle and about 3 to 5 hours to fully charge a hybrid.
Choose the Right EV
Willing to do some planning?
It does take more research and planning to buy an EV than a regular combustion based car. You need to figure out a charging regime, plot out stops for less traveled routes, and likely get a charging station installed. The time you save flying past gas stations should more than make up for it.
Choose the range that fits your lifestyle
Select an all-electric EV with a range that is at least slightly more than your total daily distance traveled. If you have one car, select a plug-in hybrid to solve the range problem even if it isn’t as environmentally friendly for mid range trips.
Pick the right charging option
Three levels of charging, various connectors and adaptors, and several networks and payment options require a bit of schooling. It’s important to match up what’s available and what’s planned for our community with the car you want, especially if you don’t have a home charging station. Not all cars can accept a DC fast charge.
Connect with local owner’s groups
Both Davis and Sacramento have active EV owner’s groups that can give you tons of first hand advice and information including listings of used EVs for sale. On the web: SacEV.org and the Davis Electric Vehicle Association (DEVA).
See our Resources section below for a list of expert driven Electric Vehicle Reviews and Buying Guides plus lots more information about diversifying your ride.
Visit our incentives page for up-to-date details on the incentives below:
- Federal tax credits for new and leased
- State and utility rebates for new and leased
- Grants for used vehicles
Carpool lane decals
In California, single-occupants driving qualifying clean alternative fuel vehicles with Clear Air Vehicle decals can use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOVs) lanes (“carpool” lanes). First check the list of eligible vehicles, get details on how to apply, then apply for a decal with this form with the California DMV. This is a great for those select days when you can’t carpool or your buddy is sick at the last minute.
Used models can save you money, too
Buying a used electric vehicle can lower your total cost, even though the big financial incentives don’t apply. Generous battery warranties make this an easy decision. Most popular used car sales web sites include EVs but check out the SacEV Marketplace first.
Car insurance discounts
Some car insurance providers give small percentage discounts for electric vehicles. Ask your agent and shop around.
Save more by pairing your EV with PV
If you’re planning on installing a rooftop solar system, your energy-transportation systems portfolio will leave a lasting legacy.
Home chargers pay for themselves quickly
The average cost of home charger equipment ranges from $350 to $600 added on top of labor costs for a licensed electrician which could run in the hundreds. While this up front cost may seem steep, $30 of gas weekly adds up to $1560 within a year.
Charging at home is usually cheaper
With a time-of-use price of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour, it would cost about $3 to fully charge a Chevy Volt at home with about 25kwh of electricity. Rates are lowest from 11pm to 7am, making this the best time to charge your vehicle.
Time of use electricity plans
PG&E offers two electric vehicle rate plans for residential customers. EV-A combines your vehicle’s electricity costs with those of your residence. EV-B involves the installation of another meter, which separates your vehicle’s electricity costs from those of your home. Check out PG&Es electric vehicle charging cost calculator.
Ying Wu and family and their 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
Suresh Ram and his 2017 Chevrolet Bolt
John & Chris and their Fiat 500e
Chris Soderquist and Fam
Tell us your EV story!
If you’re interested in being featured on this page and on the UC Davis Policy Institute and Institute for Transportation Studies web page EV&Me blog, fill out this form.
Cool Davis Planning Guide: Buying a Used Electric Vehicle PDF Download
Generous Grants for Used Electric Vehicles blog post (March 2020)
Used Electric Vehicle Buyer’s Guide (Plug In America)
Kelley Blue Book online (click Used then select View, scroll down to Fuel and select Electric)
AutoTrader.com, CarsDirect.com, Autolist.com, CarGurus.com, Cars.com
True Car (select Shop Used)
My EV (Buy and Sell)
Drive Clean Buying Guide from the CA Air Resources Board
Plug In Vehicles, Plug In America
Green Car Reports Buying Guides, Green Car Reports
The Best Electric Cars You Can Buy, Digital Trends
The Best Electric Cars, Wirecutter
Electric Cars 101: The Answer to All of Your EV Questions, Consumer Reports
Best EV Lease Offers, ev-vin
Federal tax credits for newly purchased electric vehicles
Federal tax credits by vehicle
California rebate up to $5,000 for purchase or lease of new vehicle
PG&E one-time-per-vehicle $800 Clean Fuel Rebate
Clear Air Vehicle decals for HOV lanes (“carpool”)
Coming soon for Sac Metro Air Quality Management District residents: Clean Cars 4 All program income-based incentives
Check out other rebates and incentives on the Cool Davis website including grants for used vehicles!
Partially updated June 2022
Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) EV Charge Network is a three-year program, starting January 2018, to install 7,500 electric vehicle chargers at multifamily housing and workplaces. PG&E covers the cost of make-ready and installation, which is typically 60-80% of the total project cost. Program participants have the option to own the chargers, partially paid for by PG&E, as well as choose the charging equipment from an approved vendor list, which includes ChargePoint. The program requires a minimum of 10 EV parking spaces per site.
Program is fully subscribed and not accepting any new participants. Follow the link to sign up to receive alerts if the program re-opens.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (“PACE”) programs allow property owners to finance energy efficiency, water efficiency anew renewable energy projects on existing and in some cases new residential and commercial structures through a voluntary special tax assessment on the property. PACE programs provide financing for these types of improvements without requiring a down payment or payment of the full or partial up-front capital cost of the improvement. There are three approved PACE programs in Yolo County.
Grants for EV charging stations are periodically available through the California Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. NOT FOUND: UPDATE NEEDED.
Clean Technica 2018 report: electric cars score “higher safety ratings … from major government agencies, reduced odds of injury in the case of an accident, lower personal injury claims, lower risk of rollover crashes, and reduced risk of fire in the case of an accident.”
Learn about plug-in electric vehicles and PG&E