Electric Vehicles in Minnesota

EVs are an exciting technology with their own unique benefits and challenges.

Electric vehicle in a field

Electric vehicle (EV) sales are on the rise across the nation. Minnesota leads the Midwest in terms of EV sales, with policy initiatives like Governor Tim Walz’s Clean Cars Minnesota initiative paving the way for continued growth in popularity. In general, EVs offer three primary benefits over traditional, internal combustion engine:

  • Lower fuel costs

  • Lower maintenance costs

  • Lower greenhouse gas emissions — overall greener and reduced impact on air and water pollution

Beyond those three key factors, other benefits of EVs include greater torque, and by some accounts, greater performance. Some drivers also report that EVs are more fun to drive than traditional cars, and note the additional perk that they no longer have to go to gas stations.

While cold weather (below 20°F) can reduce battery range by 35%–40%, EV owners generally report that their vehicles handle winter roads well. As battery technologies progresses, cold weather will become less of a concern for EVs, but is still a consideration for current EV owners in Minnesota — especially when taking longer trips.

Types of EVs

There are two types of EVs: plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and all-electric. PHEVs provide extra flexibility in that they can operate on only electricity or they can operate with gasoline (i.e. when a EV charger is not available). PHEVs are often more affordable than all-electric vehicles, though they do have a few downsides. The electric-only range tends to be substantially less than the gasoline, usually hovering around 30 miles of electric driving, while many all-electric vehicles reach 200+ miles. Additionally, PHEVs don’t have the same advantage of lower maintenance cost because they still have traditional gas engines.

Do EVs save you money?

EVs are typically more expensive up-front than traditional cars, but many households will qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 depending on the size of the car’s battery.

According to a 2018 study from the University of Michigan, electric vehicles can cost less than half as much as a traditional gas car over the course of a year. The report found that the average cost to operate an EV in the United States is $485 per year, while the average for a gasoline-powered vehicle is $1,117. Want to see what the annual cost would be for you? Check out this electric vehicle calculator.

Interested in installing your own EV charging station?

There are a number of charging infrastructure options for EVs.

  • Level 1 chargers take about 16 hours to fully charge an EV, a good option for overnight charging.

  • Level 2 chargers take about 3.5 hours, a good fit for workplaces and also for homes.

  • DC Fast chargers (Level 3) take about 30 minutes to fully charge an EV. These are most typically seen in non-residential settings, such as grocery stores.

If you have a house with a garage or an off-street parking space, we recommend that you consider installing a Level 2 charging station to power your new EV. Current research suggests that Level 2 chargers operate more efficiently than Level 1 chargers, offering some cost savings and environmental benefits to customers. Additionally, with a Level 2 charger, many Minnesota utilities’ customers can take advantage of lower electricity rates of time-based price decreases.

How much will it cost to buy and charge an EV?

Cars
In 2018, popular EV models ranged in cost from about $22,000 to about $72,000. Quartz, an international news organization, reported in August 2019 that the average cost of an EV was $55,600, having dropped over 13% in the previous year.

Chargers
Materials and labor for installing EV chargers vary in cost by type.

CEE’s Lending Center offers several energy improvement loans that can be used to fund the installation of an EV charger at your home or business.

outside resources

Drive Electric Minnesota

Lots of resources on purchasing, owning and driving an electric car in Minnesota

EV Cost Calculator

Calculate approximate savings of owning and driving an electric vehicle.

Inside EVs

Compare prices and ranges for EVs and PHEVs