In the market for an electric vehicle? You have options.

Sales consultant Jeff Weber with a 2022 Bolt EV at Shottenkirk Chevrolet in Waukee. Photo: Steve Dinnen.

By Steve Dinnen

Enter: the EV. That’s shorthand for electric vehicle, and if you’re shopping for a new car this spring, you may want to consider one for its fairly moderate pricing, stylish looks, and comfortable, quiet ride. Of course, it’s also nice that they get you away from the gas pump and its ever-fluctuating prices.

EVs have yet to grab much of the market in Des Moines. Axios reports that in January they accounted for just 2.3% of new vehicle registrations in the Ames-Des Moines market. That compares with 7% nationwide.

Still, the January registrations are triple what they were a year earlier, so the trend is moving upward. It’s bound to accelerate as more models roll onto the showroom floors. There are currently 42 EV models for sale, according to Cox Automotive, and more are coming every quarter.

The most popular EVs registered in Des Moines are the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3. A visit to the Tesla showroom on 104th Street in Urbandale showed at least one available, but manufacturers are still struggling to fill showrooms due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions. Tesla sells three other models — the Y, S and X — in addition to the Model 3.

And prices?

“Oh, we can’t even discuss that,” a sales rep said at the Urbandale store. Tesla operates on a national basis, rather than through dealerships, so sales are actually done online or by contacting a company representative. For the record, though, the cheapest Tesla is the Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which starts at $39,990.

The base price on Chevrolet’s Bolt is just $26,500 — but you’d better hurry. Alex Plotz, who manages sales at Shottenkirk Chevrolet in Waukee, advises that the Bolt is being phased out as General Motors retools its production line to build electric-powered Blazers and Equinoxes.

The Bolt and most other EVs come with free installation of a charging station at your home. Yes, you can just plug your car into a wall socket in your garage, but it takes forever to juice up. Recharging with a Level 2 in-home station takes a couple of hours, while direct current fast charging (DCFC) at public stations takes 20 to 60 minutes.

For hardware expenses for in-home power charging, you can claim a tax credit under provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. More important, that law also re-upped the tax credit for buying an EV. New car purchases can grab a tax credit up to $7,500 — which may be enough to help seal the deal.


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