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GDT Column: Drive green — the price is right

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TownGreen2025, following our mission to help reduce the carbon footprint of Cape Ann, is excited to support this group-purchasing electric vehicle program, the first to be held here in the Northeast. Electric vehicles can go farther on a full charge than the average car drives in a day, and now the price is right with Mass Energy’s Drive Green program.

Mass Energy

For many years the nonprofit Mass Energy has been focused on helping consumers access energy at discount prices from home heating fuel to solar panels and heat pumps. On Nov. 2, they extended the “group buying” model to EVs with Drive Green with Mass Energy.

Mass Energy negotiated with multiple dealerships throughout the state to offer discounts of up to $10,000 on models such as the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt. In addition, these cars are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 and a state rebate of $2,500. With Drive Green’s discount and the other incentives you can buy some electric vehicles for up to $20,000 less than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Leasing options with a really low monthly payments are also available -- plus you get the $2,500 state cash rebate with a three-year lease. Note: Prices from some dealerships are listed monthly, the same price may or may not be continued each following month until February.

You choose which cars and deals you are interested in online. Then, talk with your selected dealers for answers to your questions and to schedule a test drive. You can choose between an all-electric or a hybrid EV. Hybrid cars seamlessly switch from electricity to gas as you drive when the electrical charge is used up. The Chevy Volt (hybrid) will go 53 miles on a full charge, plus 367 miles on a tank of gas. The Nissan LEAF (all electric) will travel 107 miles per charge. The new all electric Chevy Bolt has a range of 238 miles. The Bolt has been named the Motor Trend Car of the Year (2017), a sure sign that electric vehicles are well on their way to becoming mainstream.

Electric vehicles can be easily charged at home just by plugging into any electrical outlet. Faster-charging plugs can be purchased for several hundred dollars plus installation costs, and there are even “plugless” charging devices available. And while you shopping in Gloucester, you can plug into the free charging station in front of City Hall.

Makers of electric vehicles understand that any new technology produces some anxiety, in this case they call it “range anxiety.” Running out of charge is highly unlikely because the cars come with an accurate range estimator that shows how many miles you have left on the charge. Some cars also come with three years of free 24/7 roadside assistance. And there are apps to indicate the location of charging stations near by.

Yes, electric vehicles save you money. Using electricity is less expensive than gas, and annual maintenance is very low. Compared to the more than 2,000 moving parts on gas powered cars, electric vehicles have about 20, making for fewer breakdowns. Generally, they need the occasional tire rotation and battery inspection, brake fluid flush and in-cabin air filter replacement. If you drive a Volt, it will need an oil change about once every two years, depending upon how often you use the gasoline engine. Overall, you can expect to cut your maintenance bill for your vehicle substantially!

The price is right, and driving an energy-efficient electric vehicle to improve the health of our planet is a great step for all of us.

Posted by Susan Hoague

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