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Ready to Buy an EV? Here's How to Save Big

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By Gina Coplon-Newfield

If you're looking high and low for a new set of wheels, now is the perfect time to go electric. With "group buy" discounts, many people are eligible for incredible price incentives to help make the switch from dirty gasoline-fueled cars toward cleaner, electric vehicles (EVs) an easy one. Residents in states like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Colorado, Virginia and Maryland have access to EV discount programs offering shockingly high savings.

How does it work? Organizations or agencies collaborate with automakers and car dealerships to provide a "group buy" discount, which offers the auto dealers greater assurance that people will look to them for their EV shopping. Most of these discounts are for thousands of dollars off the price of a car. And indeed, all of these group buy EV discount programs are on top of the federal tax credit people can receive of up to $7,500 on an EV purchase and a rebate or tax credit that many states offer too. In many places, the combined group buy discount, federal tax credit and state rebate can total upwards of $15,000 in savings.

Here are some examples:

Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Through February, Drive Green with Mass Energy is offering Massachusettes and Rhode Island residents massive discounts of thousands of dollars off the purchase or lease of several different models of electric vehicles, including the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Ford C-MAX Energi and Ford Fusion Energi through group buy prices. To see how much you can save on each model, click here. And remember that any savings in Massachusetts and Rhode Island will be coupled with up to $2,500 through a state government rebate. My own Cambridge, Massachusetts city councillor Jan Devereux just leased a Chevy Volt through this program and made a video about her experience, and several people who recently bought EVs through Drive Green with Mass Energy tell us about their real-life experiences on this helpful blog.

Colorado

On top of the state tax credit of up to $5,160 for the purchase or lease of an EV, many Coloradans can participate in a special group buy price through Drive Electric Northern Colorado when they purchase or lease a Nissan LEAF. With an original price of $33,710, the price is reduced all the way down to $11,840 once both federal and state tax credits are applied, as well as the $5,210 group buy discount. This special group buy price ends on Dec. 31, so now might be time to start dreaming of a green Christmas.

Virginia, Maryland and DC

Residents of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC have access to a pre-negotiated price for the 2016 Model Year Nissan LEAF through the Virginia Clean Cities partnership. With this group buy offer and federal tax credits, area residents can take advantage of up to $12,000 off the sticker price. And the program offers people information about solar energy too.

Utah

While Utah's U Drive Electric group buy program has recently expired, it provides a creative model for others to follow, bringing together public and private groups to promote EVs and reduce local air pollution. The University of Utah, the city of Salt Lake City, and the organization Utah Clean Energy created the program for community members to purchase or lease fully electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles at discounted prices. In 2015 this program led to the purchase of 76 electric vehicles in the Salt Lake City area with discounts ranging between 3 and 25 percent off the retail price.

Even in areas where group buy discounts are not available, the price of EVs is often lower than you'd think. If you purchase an EV, the federal tax credit of up to $7,500 applies to everyone, and in states including California, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado, Rhode Island, Maryland, Utah, New Jersey and (coming soon) New York, states are offering rebates, sales tax waivers or tax credits off the price of EVs for those who lease and/or purchase an EV. Additionally, reduced fueling and maintenance costs make many EVs cheaper to own and operate over the lifetime of the vehicles, as reported by NerdWallet.

The Sierra Club's recently updated online EV guide provides information about just about every plug-in car on the market in the U.S. If you click on a car and type in your zip code, you can even see incentives available in your state and how much you'd reduce your fueling costs and emissions in your region of the country, based on the electricity sources where you live.

With more than 20 electric vehicle models available in different mileage ranges and price points, this holiday season may be the right time to go green and save green too.

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