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Lessons Learned: South Shore Plaza’s Electric Car Showcase wraps up

An EV Specialist intern’s perspective on the electric car showcase and common questions that came from the public.

The end of March we wrap up our three month long Electric Car Showcase at South Shore Plaza in Braintree. Working onsite as EV Specialists every Saturday, our goal was to inform curious mall visitors and anyone else who showed interest in electric vehicles. In order to prepare for staffing this showcase, I and the other interns completed a training and online assessment, and worked on the job at the showcase with more experienced and trained EV owner-specialists.

EV Specialists Katelynn Halpren & John Fitzmaurice at the Electric Car Showcase in South Shore Plaza, Braintree, MA, January-March 2019

Two plug-in electric car choices – BEV or PHEV

We had two plug-in electric vehicles on site, an all-electric 2019 Chevy Bolt rated at 238 miles on a full charge, and a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with 22 miles of electric range and the ability to run on gas for over 300 miles more. Both cars also have navigation that can tell you where the nearest charging station is. Any electric cars can be plugged into any outlet just like a cell phone. Full charge time depends on what level charger you have, and also like a cell phone most charging is done overnight while the driver sleeps.

Discounts, rebates, and other incentives to choose an EV

Local dealers are offering up to $7,500 off some of these vehicles. This dealer discount comes off MSRP right away each one is different depending on dealer and vehicle. The state incentive and federal tax credit will be reimbursed after the vehicle is purchased. Federal tax credits are available for purchasing an EV up to $7,500 and state rebates of $1,500 or more depending on the car and in which state you reside. When you lease a car, the federal credit goes to the leasing company and this is passed on to the driver by lowering the monthly payment. We also let Braintree residents know about the local incentives for EV drivers from BELD. These include an electric bill credit of $8 a month for programming your car to charge after 9 pm, and a rebate of $250 when they install faster Level 2 charging at home.

The battery is guaranteed

The warranty for all EVs batteries today is a replacement guarantee against failure for at least 8 years or 100,000 miles. This guarantee is very reassuring since a modern car engine or transmissions are usually only warrantied for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Many first generation EVs are already proving that their batteries are still going strong well past the 100,000 mile warranty period.  For example, BDE’s electric vehicle program manager’s vehicle now has over 140,000 electric miles on the original battery.

What people wanted to know most

The most common concern at the showcase was customers asking how are they going to charge their car while traveling. I would explain that there is an app called Plugshare which gives you the nearest charging stations. You can make a trip and it will show you the charging stations along the way to your final destination.  Alternately, if they choose a PHEV like the Outlander on display, they never have to charge on a long trip, only stop for a few minutes every few hours to refuel like they do now.

Another common reason why a person wouldn’t consider going electric is that they think it cost a lot of money to charge at your house. In reality, it averages less than $1.50 a “gallon” equivalent to drive on electricity. Once they hear that they often said “WOW, really? I thought it was way more than that!” It of course all depends on where and how often your charging. A lot of customers leave the showcase ended up learning a lot more than expected, even if just passing by and wanting to see what was going on.

In conclusion: Informed consumers want EVs!

I believe this showcase was beneficial to the Town of Braintree as well as other potential customers that knew nothing about electric vehicles, moving them towards wanting to own one themselves or even to the point of ready for purchasing an EV after talking with me. Throughout the showcase I saw many of the same faces that would come back for more information or even coming back after purchasing one and thanking us for providing very accurate and helpful information. I really enjoyed this showcase and hope to do another one similar to this one and hopefully also have test drives available on site. And that’s exactly what we’ll do at our next outdoor public EVent – Drive Electric Earth Day on Saturday April 27th at Braintree Town Hall. For more info or to sign up, visit: https://driveelectricearthday.org/event.php?eventid=1733


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