Electric Cars are in Your Future – Try One Out Next Saturday!

BMW showed off its plug-in motorcycle and i8 supercar at last year’s Charge Up LA event

Electric cars are not just the future of driving — they’re pretty awesome right now, and you can come and feel it for yourself at the annual Charge Up LA event, Saturday, September 14th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is LA’s part of National Drive Electric Week, a nationwide event which lets you test drive several different kinds of electric cars.

The event will take place at LAFD’s Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center, 1700 Stadium Way, with free parking at Dodger Stadium lot #13.  There will also be food trucks and raffles for an EV charging station and 24 hours free use of a Tesla.  The first 500 people to take a test drive will also get a ticket for a free lunch… and you can RSVP ahead of time at chargeupla.org for a chance to win $250.

So why the excitement?  EVs are incredibly fun to drive, already have a lower cost of ownership than gas-powered vehicles, and their sticker price is coming down.  Dan Neil (who until recently covered automobiles for the LA Times) wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal that:

“During the reasonable service life of any vehicle I buy today, I expect the demand for [gasoline-powered] vehicles will drop to practically zero, equivalent to the current market penetration of flip phones. No one will want them and there will be nowhere to get them fixed; by that time widespread fleet electrification will have cratered traditional dealerships that depend on service dollars to survive.”

As if to confirm Neil’s prediction, one major supplier is halting further investments in non-electric car engines.

But for the next few years, they will still be priced higher than gasoline cars.  To help you over that hurdle, however, there’s currently a $7500 federal tax credit, a $2500 state rebate, and an up to $5000 AQMD rebate for buying electric.

Or you can just wait for electric cars to come to you. Sales of electric cars are up 63% in California this year, led by Tesla, which is outselling all other brands of luxury cars in the US.  Established car makers are waking up to the challenge; VW plans to sell 330,000 electric cars a year by 2021, and even brands that had been in denial about the shift to electric vehicles are now hurrying to introduce electric versions.  Change is even coming to the truck market — Ford recently released a video of its 2021(?) electric F-150 towing a freight train.

Finally, if you’re ready to consider a new EV this month, the American Public Power Association is offering a $3500 discount on a new Nissan Leaf EV for LADWP customers until September 30.   A basic new Leaf with 150 mile range and a quick charge port goes for about $32K according to truecar.com, so with the $10,000 federal and state incentives, and the discount, you could pick one up for about $19,000.  (Full disclosure: this reporter owns a 2013 Leaf with half that range, charges at home by plugging it into a plain old wall socket, and is very happy with it.)

So don’t miss your date with the future.  I’ll see you there!

[Note:  this story was updated after publication to correct the date of the event.]

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About Daniel Kegel

Dan Kegel is a software engineer and a member of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council's Sustainability Committee. He also volunteers with Citizens' Climate Lobby Los Angeles and is an occasional contributor to the Buzz.

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