There are many new models of electric cars flooding the market, from pure electrics (like the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Bolt or Tesla) to electric cars that also sport gas electric generators so they may run on duel fuels (like the Chevy Bolt Volt or BMW I3). Still others boast a small electric engine that takes you 10 to 15 miles and then switch to a gas engine (like the plug-in Prius or Ford Focus ). This is just a start. There are now more than 35 models of electric cars from more than 17 companies for sale in the Unites States. Increasingly there is an electric car that can meet the driving needs of nearly everyone.
At PSEG we have a very successful Employee Electric Car Incentive Program, and from it we have learned that the reasons people drive electric cars vary greatly from person to person. Some do it for the benefits that electric cars bring to the environment — when on electric, they emit no climate-changing gases and also do not spew health-affecting pollutants into your neighborhood air. Others do it because electric cars run on energy made in America. Using these lessens our dependence on foreign oil, much of it supplied by countries that are not entirely friendly to America.
However, a large portion do it because it saves them money. Electric charging at our Newark office comes with free parking – not an insignificant perk. Our spots filled up not with techies or “first adapters” but finance types who determined that with the free parking, savings on gas and oil changes, and incentives being offered by dealers and the federal government, it was cheaper to buy an electric car than continue to drive a traditional combustion engine automobile.
So a lesson learned was that incentives matter. Nowhere is this clearer than in Norway, where the government has offered an array of incentives ranging from use of HOV lanes, free ferries, free parking at municipal lots, abundant chargers and exemptions from fees and taxes. How well did those incentives work? In January of this year, electric cars actually outsold traditional combustion engine cars in Norway.
Of course, chances are you are not in Norway. Most of you reading this are in New Jersey. So try this incentive on for size: Nissan USA in conjunction with PSE&G is offering all customers of PSE&G a $10,000 rebate off of a 2017 Nissan LEAF. This is in addition to a federal tax credit of $7,500 and New Jersey’s all-electric car exemption from sales tax. Basically, if you buy a 2017 LEAF under this promotion, more than half of the cost is being paid for by other people! (Starting with a MSRP of $32,500, after the incentives, the base price of the car becomes $15,000.)
So why are Nissan USA and PSEG doing this? I can’t speak for Nissan, but the 2017 LEAF has sold well (it’s the most popular electric car in the world) and averages 107 miles per charge. However, the 2018 LEAF is weeks away from reaching the marketplace, with better charging distance. So people aren’t buying the 2017 model. Hence, an offer almost too good to be true. But it is.
PSE&G agreed to partner with Nissan because we think it makes good sense for America, the environment, the economy and, yes, our company, if more people start considering electric cars. The 2017 LEAF might not be for everyone, but for people with certain driving habits (those commuting to school or work or taking trips over a 100 miles), it might fit the bill – and there has never been a better time to consider buying one.
So, head to a Nissan dealer with your PSE&G bill and a copy of this flyer and see if the Nissan LEAF makes sense for you. Call or check online first, since not all dealers carry the 2017 LEAF. If not, learn more about the other models out there and join the growing number of electric car drivers in New Jersey.
Paul has driven a Chevy Volt for the last four years. He was the moving force behind the start of the PSEG Employee Electric Car Incentive Program and tweets about electric cars and other topics @PaulRosengren.