How about a shiny new electric car for less than $10,000?
Price has long been a concern for motorists interested in ending their relationship with petroleum, and Sonoma Clean Power, the not-for-profit public electricity provider for Sonoma and Mendocino counties, is bringing the cost of electric vehicles down to clearance-sale levels.
The second year of the agency’s Drive EverGreen electric vehicle (EV) incentive program — on now through Oct. 31 — offers deals on nine models sold and leased by seven local dealers, ranging in base price from a $51,095 BMW i3 down to a Volkswagen e-Golf listed at $28,995.
The e-Golf, a hatchback with a 124-mile range, comes with a $7,000 dealer credit and a $2,000 Sonoma Clean Power incentive for the average utility customer, plus the possibility of a $2,500 state rebate and a $7,500 federal tax credit. The incentive package, which totals $19,000, slashes the price to $9,995.
“It’s a smokin’ deal,” said Cordel Stillman, director of programs for Sonoma Clean Power, which delivers electricity to 600,000 customers in the two North Bay counties.
But it can get even better for power customers who live in the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, which offers an additional $3,000 incentive in a parallel program called 3-2-1 Go Green. The district covers about 60,000 residents in western and northern Sonoma County.
For Sonoma Clean Power customers who qualify for all the incentives, including a full federal tax credit as well as low-income bonuses, the cost of the e-Golf sinks to $4,495.
Sonoma Clean Power’s incentive is fixed at $2,000 for all nine models, with an added $1,500 for qualified low-income buyers, but there is a wide range of dealer and manufacturer credits on leases and purchases.
In addition to the BMW and the VW, the program covers the Ford Focus EV, Kia Optima and Soul EV, Nissan Leaf, Mercedes Benz B-Class Electric and the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EV.
Most models will go about 100 miles or more on a charge, with the Bolt rated at a 238-mile range. The program also provides the hardware for two free charging stations, leaving buyers to pay tax, shipping and installation costs.
Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore, who is also a Sonoma Clean Power board member, said the incentive program is aimed at “driving change for the future” and pursuing the county’s “audacious goals” for curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are doubling down on our commitment to be part of the future and not the past,” said Gore, noting that the federal government is “backing away from climate change.”
“This isn’t about partisanship, it’s about doing the right thing,” he said. “The reality is we pollute too much.”
The average gas-burning car in Sonoma County emits 11,247 pounds a year of greenhouse gases, which trap heat and contribute to global warming, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
An EV that charges its batteries on Sonoma Clean Power’s Evergreen option, which delivers 100 percent renewable energy, accounts for 208 pounds of emissions a year, the local agency said.
Chris Grabill, a Santa Rosa contractor, said he reaped more than $20,000 in rebates and incentives in leasing a Leaf last year. His payments are $90 a month, about one-third of what he was paying on his previous car, and he avoids the $200 a month he spent on gas.
Sonoma Clean Power’s Drive EverGreen electric vehicle incentive program offers nine models this year.
BMW i3 $45,445-$51,095
Ford Focus EV $29,210
Volkswagen e-Golf $28,995
Kia Optima $35,210-$36,500
Kia Soul EV $33,380-$38,075
Nissan Leaf $30,680-$36,790
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric $46,000
Chevrolet Bolt EV $38,245
Chevrolet Volt $34,095
*Multiple versions of some models offered
Source: Sonoma Clean Power