Skeptics ask, “How are we going to charge 35 million electric vehicles in California with a power grid that can barely handle air conditioning?”
Kent Bullard, field representative for Ventura County Electric Vehicle Advocates, hopes to share answers at upcoming events celebrating National Electric Driving Week, which runs Sept. 23 through Oct. 2.
“Time-of-use power tariffs convince EV owners to charge at night, when the grid isn’t overloaded,” Bullard said.
In addition, he added, many electric vehicle owners are installing solar panels, generating their own electricity. Some also buy backup batteries and send power back to the grid during peak hours, he said, storing power when the grid has had enough.
Bullard also pointed to the emergence of “vehicle-to-grid” and “vehicle-to-home” technologies, known respectively as V2G and V2H, which are built into a charger for the Nissan Leaf and are expected to soon become commonplace for more other models.
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Bi-directional chargers allow a car battery to function as a backup battery for a home or the grid. After being fully charged during off-peak hours, a battery can power appliances in a home when electricity is expensive.
Of course, even if the public policy questions of skeptics are answered, the real challenge to realizing a vision of the electric car future lies in the purchasing decisions of individuals.
Taking on the challenge of promoting electric cars to the public, Nancy Clarin, an EV coach for the Ventura County Executive Office’s Sustainability Division, helps organize events for Drive Electric Week.
The rallies will include information booths not only on the environmental and economic benefits of plug-in cars, but also on the financial incentives available, ranging from tax breaks to reduced maintenance and fuel costs.
Most mainstream auto shows showcase the newest models, meticulously restored classics or hot rods, all in pristine condition. Crowds file past these sparkling objects of aspiration, with many wishing they could afford such excellence.
While upcoming electric car shows will feature impressive new models of ambitious cars, the rallies will also showcase cars that were affordable 10 years ago and are even more affordable now than used cars.
For example, the shows will host impressive new cars like the latest Tesla S, the Lucid Air and the Rivian Adventure pickup truck. All are hard to find for less than $100,000 despite base models slated to sell for around $20,000 less.
On the downside, cars like mine will also be included, some of which have driven over 100,000 miles. At one of the shows, I’ll be displaying my 2014 Chevy Volt Plug-In Hybrid, which I bought in 2017 for just $15,477. Apart from standard maintenance, the car did not require any costly repairs.
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My electricity cost has been minimal, as the solar panels at home produce more power than I use, and I often charge for free on one of the few remaining free public chargers. I also received a $700 incentive payment from Southern California Edison for the purchase of a used car.
The standard incentive to buy or lease used cars from Edison is now $1,000 and can be as high as $4,000 depending on income, location and type of car.
Additionally, the recent federal “Reduction of Inflation Act” provides a tax credit for used electric vehicles of $4,000 or 30% of the price of the automobile, whichever is less. . The ceiling price for qualifying vehicles is $25,000.
The legislation also includes a $7,500 tax credit for new car purchases or leases, with requirements for parts made in the United States and limitations on batteries containing minerals from certain countries. Additionally, the Edison New Car Incentive, funded in partnership with the California Air Resources Board, is $750.
For upcoming electric car shows, register to display your car and join the electric vehicle community at Driveelectricweek.org.
Upcoming EV shows in Ventura County:
- September 25, 1-4 p.m., 10th Annual Drive Electric Car Show, Port of Ventura, 1591 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, on the Village Main Lawn. Admission and parking are free.
- Sept. 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ride and Drive at Ventura County Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura, HOA parking lot. Free, with food trucks and industry experts at your fingertips.
- September 29, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Oxnard Thursday Markets EV Show, Plaza Park, 500 S. C St., at the Downtown Oxnard Farmer’s Market. Meet electric vehicle owners, learn about incentives and win prizes.
- October 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 30th Annual Thousand Oaks Rotary Street Fair, on Moorpark Road between Hillcrest and Wilber. The Sierra Club booth in front of Chick-fil-A is sponsoring an EV showcase.
David Goldstein, environmental resources analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or [email protected]