Buy or Lease an Electric Vehicle

Electric vehicles are much cheaper to operate and maintain than gas cars, and they are fun to drive!  They also don’t create emissions that cause air pollution.  If we all drove EVs, imagine the clean air!  And ranges are extending—up to 200 miles or more on an overnight charge.  The list of EV benefits goes on!  Read more about the perks of EVs below.

Households: 2 completed, 8 committed
Points ?
Annual Savings
$0 - $3,000
Upfront Cost
These are estimates

Energy and water savings

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kWh Electricity
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Therms Natural Gas
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Gallons Gas
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Gallons Water
  • Save lots of money
  • Charge conveniently at home
  • Almost no maintenance
  • Lower dependence on foreign oil
  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

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The Action
We will buy or lease an electric car and replace a less efficient vehicle.
Is this action for me?
If you own a car, this action is for you!
When and Who?
This action can be done anytime by anyone.
How long will it take?
Longer - time to research options, test drive and purchase or lease.
What is the cost?
Generally around $2,000 - $3,000 or more for a down payment to purchase or lease. However, in some areas, rebates up to $2,500 can bring your upfront costs to $0. Check for rebates or tax credits in the resources section. MSRP for mid-sized EVs - $35-$37,000.


  • Save lots of money

  • Charge conveniently at home

  • Almost no maintenance

  • Lower dependence on foreign oil

  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution



Review changes in the CVRP over time to better understand how you can utilize incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle. 

Electric Vehicle online shopping tool with hundreds of cars and incentives 

Low to moderate income residents can qualify for grants & financing for new or used hybrids or EVs.

PG&E customers with EVs are eligible to receive a $500 Clean Fuel Rebate.

Apply for up to $7,000 in rebates for EVs or other clean vehicles from the CA Air Resources Board.


Buy an electric vehicle or purchase solar PV at a discounted price.


Community charging network that matches EV drivers with nearby chargers 

Get paid to turn in your working older car or truck. 

Cut your commute time and drive the HOV lane if you drive a qualifying clean vehicle

The Basics

Electric Vehicles are up to 3 times more efficient than gas vehicles - this means big savings on fuel costs, up to 50%. Add in almost no maintenance, and EVs save big money! And they have a huge benefit to the environment. EVs just make sense. Plus - imagine never having to stop at the gas station again!


Learn about the benefits of EVs
Check out rebate and tax incentive programs
Find the right EV for you
Decide to buy or lease
Learn about charging

Electric Vehicle benefits

In the market for a new vehicle?  Consider going electric. EVs save big on fuel costs and maintenance, and new models, ranges and upgrades are coming out every day.  Here are the main benefits:

  • Lower fuel costs - The average EV gets 100 to 125 miles per gallon (equivalent).  This means big fuel savings!  EVs cost about 3.5 cents per mile for fuel.  Even with today’s low gas prices, a gas car that gets 25 mpg costs about 8 cents per mile for gas.  That means a savings of about $50/month (for average driving of 13,000 miles/year).  If your current car gets less than 25 mpg, your savings would be even higher.  As gas prices increase (and they will increase), monthly savings will be much higher!  With gas prices at $4/gallon, the savings over a gas car that gets 25 mpg were over $150/month. This could pay for the monthly lease cost of an EV for some models.  Think about it - a new car that pays for itself in fuel savings!

  • Low cost maintenance - EVs don’t have a gas engine, so there are no oil changes, spark plugs or transmission service.  Maintenance is mostly the tires.  Batteries generally come with warranties of 8-10 years.  Think of what you could do with all that time and cash saved on car maintenance and repairs!

  • Fun to drive - The best kept secret about EVs is that they are fun to drive!  Really.  They are fast and quiet and with direct power from the batteries to the wheels, they accelerate quickly and are very responsive.  Leave the muscle car next to you at the stop sign in the dust!  Test drive one and find out why they call it the EV grin.

  • Leave the gas station behind - EVs are easy to charge at home.  Every night, just plug in your EV and you are charged and ready to go in the morning.  No gas stations required.  For the occasional longer trip where you need to recharge on the road, advance “fast charging” technology can add 90 miles in around 30 minutes.  Stop for lunch, charge up and head back out on the road.  And a full charge only costs a few dollars.

  • Reduce dependence on foreign oil - Driving an EV uses electricity which is domestic energy.  Switching to EVs reduces our dependence on foreign oil, improving U.S. security.

  • Clean air - EVs create big reductions in carbon emissions and air pollution.  Gas powered transportation is the largest contribution to both carbon emissions and air pollution for most people in the U.S.  Switching from a gas car to an EV is one of the biggest single actions you can take to lower your impact and create a safer healthier community!

  • Big perks - from large tax incentives and state rebates, to carpool lane access and free parking, there are many perks to driving an EV!  Check out the resources section below for information on rebates, tax incentives and other perks.

Finding the right EV for you

EV sticker prices are coming down, and along with rebates and tax incentives, many EVs are cost effective today.  Because EVs are new, there aren’t as many options available; however, this will change over the next few years.  If the options on the market now don’t quite fit what you’re looking for, or you're not quite ready to replace your current car, schedule this action out a few years on your plan.  With all the benefits of an EV, however, they are worth considering today.  Take a test drive, estimate your savings and get ready to fall in love with EVs!  Below are a few things to consider in an EV purchase.

Range anxiety is on the way out

As of 2018, ranges on many EVs have extended to 150-200 miles or more!  The average commute for most Americans is under 30 miles a day and 90% of Americans drive less than 60 miles a day to get to work.  These new ranges cover daily driving needs for most Americans.  If you occasionally need to drive more than 150-200 miles in a day, stop at a fast charging station and add a few extra miles quickly. 

Buy or lease?  

Because EV technology is advancing so quickly, there are a lot of benefits to leasing.  Leasing provides lower monthly payments, increasing the monthly savings of EV ownership.  Leasing also protects you from the drop in value of an EV over time as newer models increase in range and features.  Under most circumstances, leasing is a better financial option while EV technology is rapidly improving.

Charging - the basics

Charging is new and different, but easy!  There are a few basics that are helpful to know.  First, most people do most of their charging at home.  Its simple, just plug in when you get home, and your car is charged and ready to go in the morning.  There are three charging speeds - basic (level 1), regular (level 2) and fast. 

Regular, Level 2 charging - The most convenient home charging is a regular, Level 2, charger which will charge your car overnight, generally in 4-8 hours.  Level 2 chargers require a 240 volt outlet, the same as a standard clothes dryer outlet.  If you have an extra 240 volt outlet, just plug in the charger and you are ready to go.  If you don't have an extra outlet, you can have your local electrician add one or you can consider charging with a Level 1 connection at home or going to charging station.   If you rent, talk with your landlord about providing a charger or allowing you to install one.

Basic, Level 1 charging - All EVs can charge with any standard outlet.  Really.  Just plug your EV power cord into any standard electrical socket.  The catch - this method is slower.  EV charging is improving and getting faster, but with a Level 1 connection it is still around 3-4 miles per hour.  However, if you don't have access to a Level 2 charger at home and you don't drive much, this might be perfect for you.  According to the US Department of Transportation people drive an average of 29 miles/day.  You can easily charge 30 miles per day with a basic Level 1 charge overnight.

Fast Charging - Fast charging is, well FAST.  If you get 3-4 miles/hour on a Level 1, and 10-25 miles/hour on a Level 2, you can get up to 150-200 or more miles/hour on a Fast charge!  This means up to 90 miles in 30 min.  If you are unable to charge at home or if you are out and about and need a few extra miles, Fast charges are the answer.  If you drive 30-40 miles a day, you can charge a couple times a week at a public Fast charging station and be back on the road.  The Fast charging network is growing rapidly and there are apps to help you find charging stations (Fast & Level 2) in your area like PlugShare and ChargePoint

Level 2 Public Charging - In addition to Level 2 home chargers, there is also a fast growing network of public Level 2 chargers.  Public charging stations for both Level 2 and Fast chargers can be found at common locations like grocery stores, parking garages, community centers and other central locations.  The charging network is growing rapidly, some companies even provide free charging for employees during work.

Before you purchase an EV check to make sure that it uses one of the common charging systems and is compatible with fast charging stations (DC Fast Charging, SAE J1772 Combo, Tesla).   Most newer models are compatible, but if you are buying a used EV, make sure to check.  Also, check to see if the EV you are considering comes with a free charging card, a discount on a 240 volt home charging station or other perks!

Success Stories

My partner and I are vegetarianrecycle and compost as much as we can, and lease an EV but as renters, we struggled to identify other steps we could take to reduce our environmental footprint. We also know these actions help save a lot of precious resources and emissions so we wanted a way to quantify the environmental benefits of our current actions.

The Fremont Green Challenge has been a great resource to identify renter-friendly actions and track our progress and financial savings. So far, we have reduced 17.7 tons of carbon! Since joining the Fremont Green Challenge, we realized our biggest impact on the environment is in the transportation sector. I grew up on the east coast and my partner’s family lives in India. Flying to visit family and friends not only costs money but bears a huge environmental burden, releasing tons of greenhouse gases. Since we will continue to visit our families, we learned through the Fremont Green Challenge that we can offset the carbon emitted from our air travel. We quantified the amount of emissions our flights from 2017 released and donated to COTAP, a non-profit based in Oakland that counteracts carbon emissions through certified carbon sequestration forestry projects in developing countries. We are excited to keep using the Fremont Green Challenge to reduce our carbon footprints, and we are now working on taking the train more and combining trips. The Fremont Green Challenge platform allows renters like me to learn about easy actions we can take to reduce carbon and help our City reach its climate action goals.