Making the Most of an EV Charger Rebate and Incentives

Being an electric vehicle (EV) owner reaps many benefits. An EV charger rebate or other federal incentives for residential and commercial EV charger owners is an added bonus. There are nearly 100,000 public charging outlets for EVs across the country; however, many turn to install home EV chargers for easy overnight charging.

Depending on your EV’s battery capacity and the electrical outlets you have at home, a dedicated home EV charger can be installed. They do come at a price, however. Fortunately, there are lots of tax rebates and cost-saving incentives available for buying and installing EV chargers.

We cover reasons to charge at home, types of EV chargers, and how to take advantage of federal incentives.

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Why Charge at Home?

There are several reasons why you would install a dedicated EV charger at home.

The main reason is convenience — simply plug your EV in when you get home. Your vehicle battery is topped off while you sleep, ensuring you have enough range to get to where you want to go the next day.

Home EV chargers make for easy and convenient overnight charging.

EV chargers become more affordable via available tax rebates lower rates at night or other off-peak times. Off-peak times refer to the times of day or days of the week when electricity use is the lowest and the rates are often lower than the basic service price (Electric Rate, 2021).

Under current legislation, the federal tax incentives for EV chargers expire at the end of 2021.

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Types of EV Chargers Available

Currently, there are three types, or levels, of EV chargers. The most inexpensive and basic EV charger is a Level 1, typically included at the purchase of an electric vehicle. Level 2 chargers are dedicated EV chargers for residential use but require a professional electrician to perform the installation. The most powerful chargers are Level 3. These are typically reserved for commercial use only.

The differences between Level 1, 2, and 3 Electric Vehicle Chargers.

To choose the right EV charger, you’ll want to consider several factors.

First, your EV may come with a battery of a certain size. For a given voltage, or the larger the battery is, the longer it takes to charge. If it takes more than 10+ hours to charge an EV battery using a level 1 charger, charging time can be cut in half by installing a level 2 charger.

Second, consider how often and how far you drive each day. If you drive significantly less than 60 miles per day, a level 1 charger would suffice as it can charge up to five miles per hour for 12 hours for a total range of 60 miles.

More than 60 miles per day of driving would require a level 2 charger, resulting in a range of 360 miles.

It is important to check the voltages of your electric outlets to confirm they can support a level 2 charger. If not, you may need to have it professionally installed by an electrician. Federal tax incentives and rebates often cover much of the installation costs.

In most cases, the best option for residential users is a level 2 charger as they afford full overnight charging. Some chargers are even programmable! If you run a lot of errands on weekends, you can also top your car off in between errands. Finally, tax rebates make level 2 EV chargers affordable for most people, while level 1 chargers are not typically covered.

If you want a deeper dive into the various types of electric vehicle chargers, head over to EV Chat – our podcast that tackles specific EV topics with industry experts and veterans. This episode with James Tillman od Brytemove is a great place to start.

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Who Offers Home Charging Incentives and Why?

Incentives for charging your EV at home are offered by the federal government, the state government in the state in which you reside, and your power company if they offer charging discounts at off-peak times.

The federal government offers a 30% tax rebate for both home chargers and commercial chargers (typically referred to as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, or EVSE). EV chargers are eligible for federal tax rebates until December 31, 2021.

Some states and their electric companies offer incentives in addition to the federal tax rebate, including but not limited to the following:

  • California: Many power companies offer $500 rebates toward home EV charger installations.
  • Arizona: State provides a $75 tax credit for EV charger installations. Tucson Electric Power (TEP) offers $500 rebates for installations and discounts for off-peak charging.
  • Colorado: Rebates of $250-500 towards EV charger purchases are available.
  • Connecticut and New York: Clearview Energy offers free EV charging from 11 PM to 6 AM. Groton Utilities offers a $600 rebate for a level 2 EV charger, while PSEG Long Island offers a $500 rebate.
  • Texas: Most companies offer rebates of $250-500 for level 2 EV chargers. Austin Energy offers a 50% rebate (maximum $1,200) to cover purchase and installation of a level 2 EV charger

To find rebates and incentives in your own state, go to Alternative Fuels Data Center, click the Incentives tab, and click your state to find a complete list.

Why do governments and power companies offer such generous rebates and incentives? They have emission reduction goals and sustainability objectives to meet in a short time frame, so they want to incentivize consumer shift to clean power while encouraging the development of an e-mobility industry.

Many cities and states have strong reasons to promote EV adoption locally.

Utilities aim to reduce the load on their electric grids. To incentivize the shift of EV charging from costly peak usage toward less costly off-peak usage, they offer lower rates when charging during off-peak hours.

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What Types of Incentives Are Available?

To better understand what tax incentives are available, it’s important to be aware that there are different types (levels) of charging stations. The first two types are available for residences, and the third type is only for commercial use.

Residential Use

On average, a charging station installed at a residence costs between $250 and $1,900. There are two types of charging stations for residences, level 1 and level 2. The hardware cost of a level 1 EV charging station usually lies in the lower end of the price range, and the level 2 charger toward the higher end.

The tax incentive:

You can save up to $1,000 on buying and installing an EV charging station at home. Specifically, with the EV charger tax credit, you get 30% off the cost of the charging station up to $1,000, including both hardware and installation costs (The Environmental Center, 2020).

Commercial Use

While level 1 and 2 chargers are suitable for light-duty EVs, the level 3 charger is much larger in size and is designed to charge heavy-duty EVs for commercial use. They are not available for home installations.

This type of charging station supports much larger voltages and thus can charge heavy-duty EVs much faster than level 1 or 2 chargers. Although level 3 charging stations are much more expensive, running between $20,000 to $50,000 each, they can support 480-800 volts and charge 250-300 miles per hour over only 20-30 minutes.

The tax incentive:

You can get a 30% tax credit of up to $30,000 for installing a level 3 charging station at your place of business by December 31, 2021 (The Environmental Center, 2020).

Rebate Also Covers Installation Costs

Installations can be expensive because labor charges for electricians can run you $50-100 per hour.

Assuming you already have a garage, installation costs such as wiring, wall connections, as well as a permit can add another few hundred dollars to your total costs. In some cases, you may need to add a circuit to support 240 volts in your garage, costing around $700 on average.

Fortunately, EV charger tax rebates can help cover these installation costs. You can retroactively apply for rebates for installs done as early as 2017. (Source: The Environmental Center)

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How Do I Get the EV Charger Rebate?

Obtaining an EV charger rebate can increase saving on an EV purchase, EV charger hardware, and installation costs.

However, EV charger rebates aren’t typically awarded for level 1 chargers. An EV charge rebate will require a purchase of a level 2 EV charger installed by an electrician.

A professional installation is often required for the rebate, so for that reason — and for your own safety — don’t try to install it yourself.

Required documents

To get awarded the rebate, you’ll need to supply the following documentation along with Form 8911 of your tax return (see instructions):

  • DMV registration of your EV
  • EV purchase or lease agreement
  • Receipt or invoice for the charger
  • Photo of installed charger
  • Receipt from the installer
  • Local permits (if applicable)

Keep in mind that you need to purchase and install the charging station at your home by December 31, 2021, to be eligible for the rebate.

Further reading: What Is Form 8911: Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit

What if I live in an apartment or condo?

You can still get the rebate, but you may be required to take additional steps because part of the process falls on the property manager’s responsibility.

First, let your property manager or HOA know about commercial EV charging incentives, many of which are applicable to multifamily properties.

Second, ask if community chargers for shared parking and personal chargers for assigned parking are available. Some suppliers of EV chargers do work with property managers to set them up at your residence.

Some states such as California, Colorado, Florida, and Oregon — to name a few — have “right to charge” laws that allow you to use an EV charger at home, whether it is a house or apartment, or condo. Check with your state and local authorities to see if this applies to you.

To learn more about how to install an EV charger at your apartment complex, read our blog Three Ways to Charge an EV at an Apartment Complex.

Expected cost and savings

You can reasonably expect to spend roughly $1,500-2,000 on purchasing and installing a level 2 charger,d to get a 30% rebate to help defray those costs.

Plus, charging an EV will cost the typical consumer between 3.5 and 12 cents per mile driven. This is in comparison to a gas-powered vehicle that costs between 4.4 and 39 cents per mile driven (JDPower, 2021).

These efficiencies result in 40% lower maintenance costs and up to $10,000 in lifetime fueling costs. Finally, utility companies often provide discounts of 5% off your electricity bill if you use your EV charger, especially during off-peak times.

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Next Steps

To learn more about installing an EV charging station, use the 365 Pronto platform to gain direct access to a network of local, compliant, and certified service providers. Our world-class team can help you get started today.

I already have an EV charger installed. Now what?

You still have a chance to save on operations and maintenance costs for your EV charging equipment by becoming a Pronto customer, or contact our 365 Pronto Team and request a demo before you try.

One final point: unless Congress renews them, the EV charger tax credits expire December 31, 2021, so take action now before it’s too late!