Is EV range anxiety a real thing? Is leasing an EV a better deal than buying one? Is there a green way to do the laundry? We answer all these questions and more in this episode of ADT Solar’s Good Energy podcast.
We talk with Escalent Market Research’s K.C. Boyce about the EV market in 2023 and beyond, and what the future holds. Also, Mallory and Daren talk about a quirk in the Inflation Reduction Act that makes leasing a smart choice for some buyers. And finally, Shae talks about green and effective ways to get the laundry done.
Mallory Whitfield: Thanks for joining me for Good Energy, an ADT solar podcast. I’m your host Mallory Whitfield. We’re here to let you know what’s happening in the world of renewable energy. Each episode will talk about the latest innovations or news in sustainable energy. hear from some of the most interesting people in the field, and share some ideas on how the changes you make today can make a big difference. Please take a minute to rate review or subscribe.
Today’s episode is going to be all about electric vehicles. First up, Daren is going to be talking to K.C. Boyce VP at Escalent about some of the trends happening in the electric vehicle market. And then stay tuned because if you are in the market for an electric vehicle, Daren and I are going to be chatting about some very interesting tax leasing loopholes that are in the news about electric vehicles.
Daren Wang: I’m here with K.C. Boyce, VP at esculent and EV experts extraordinaire. So K.C., tell me a little bit about what you do at Escalent and what Escalent does in general.
K.C. Boyce: Sure. Well, thanks for having me on the podcast. Aaron, great to be with you. So let me talk briefly about what Escalent does, which is we are a human behavior and market analytics firm. And we work with companies that are in sectors that are undergoing disruption. So what all that boils down to is that we believe that people customers need to be the focus of successful businesses, and we help our clients understand what it is that people want, so that they can navigate disruption. Within Escalent, I sit in our auto and mobility and energy groups, and specifically work on electric vehicles. So we work with our automaker and energy utility and oil and gas clients and helping them understand you know, as people are buying EVs or even just researching EVs, what is it they’re looking for? What sorts of barriers are they running into? And how can those companies help make that transition go more smoothly for people?
Daren Wang: You’re really deep in the weeds on EVs, and this is kind of going to be a EVs for beginners conversation. So bear with me. So I think I think for a lot of people, the first thing you worry about with an EV is range anxiety. You know, I’m gonna get in the car, I’m gonna go out for a joyride. And then, like, I’m stuck. Stuck by the side of road. Talk about the reality of that, what’s it look like?
K.C. Boyce: Yeah, so it’s funny when I first bought an EV, about 10 years ago, which is wild to say, I texted a friend to let him know that I had bought the car. And his response was “road trip!” And my response to him was “Well for about 80 miles and then we’ve got to stop in charge.” And so you know, let me talk a little bit about my personal journey on this and then we’ll talk a little bit about what our data says. So my experience and my wife also drives an EV and her experience was very similar is that range anxiety is something that you sit with for a couple of weeks at most after you buy an EV and you very quickly learn how to kind of work with the range that you have. We started with very short range EVs again 70 or 80 Miles something like that, which is well below what you can get today. And you know, part of it was just a mindset shift right so in a gas car, you know, I would usually drive until I got to about a quarter of a tank then fill it up completely and then repeat that cycle in an EV you just need to charge enough to get to your next destination where there is charging and so that’s just a little bit of a mindset shift and again, you know, my wife who is not a car person, she had the same kind of mindset shift and you know, range anxiety is not an issue for her at this point.
Daren Wang: So you said it was about 20 minutes you would spend the good to a heavier car charged in that process. I mean, is that average is that what we should expect?
K.C. Boyce: Give or take. So a couple of things to consider one is that when you’re on a road trip, you want to aim for charging to about 80% on your vehicle because the last 20% or so of charge is often takes about as long as the first 80% of charge. So think about a movie theater, right? First person there can sit anywhere easy to find the seat. The last person there may have to spend some time looking around to find a seat. Same kind of idea for batteries right? Depending on the EV and depending on the charger. It’s really anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes to get that 80% of charge but you know that gives you kind of an idea of what to look at. And again you know if you’re considering a vehicle, take a look at the specs and you can get a sense of is it on the 15 Minute end or the 45 Minute end?
Daren Wang: And so I think one of the main fears that you have, when you’re thinking about buying an electric vehicle is that the you know, the battery isn’t going to isn’t going to last that long. Yeah, no, it’s for as far as longevity, right? Its overall longevity, it’s going to be, you’re gonna have to replace the battery in your car. Is that a common problem?
K.C. Boyce: So it’s definitely a common concern. So, you know, again, when we ask people about their concerns about buying an EV, you know, whether their battery is going to last is a concern, that comes up a lot. And I think a lot of it is driven by our experience with other consumer devices, right, where we gotta replace our cell phones every couple of years, because the battery’s not holding charge anymore. So again, totally reasonable concern that people have, the reality is a little bit different. And I’ll try to, you know, kind of explain how without getting too technical. So one is that within a cell phone, you know, essentially, what they’re doing is they’re squeezing every little bit out of the battery so that you can make it through a day.
Most EVs don’t do that, they usually have a buffer at the top and the bottom end of the battery that essentially doesn’t get it or allow it to get, you know, fully charged or fully discharged, both of which are not very healthy for batteries. The other thing that the EVS do, that the cell phone doesn’t, is that they do what’s called thermal management. So essentially keeps the battery in a comfortable temperature range, because very hot and very cold temperatures also are not good for batteries. So the way that the battery is used in an EV is really fundamentally different from how the batteries used in a cell phone or a Bluetooth speaker, you know, any of the stuff that we’re familiar with there. And as a result, they tend to last quite a bit longer. So there is battery degradation that occurs, that’s just something that is part of you know, the way batteries work, but it’s usually fairly low.
The vehicle that I’ve got right now two years old, about 27,000 miles, I can’t tell whether there’s been battery degradation or not, I’m assuming there is but like, I’ve not looked no lost any noticeable range. And a lot of the Tesla’s are reporting five to seven percent, over, you know, a period of five to 10 years. So again, there is degradation, but it’s not a huge loss of range. And automakers are required to warrant the battery capacity for eight years and the 100,000 miles and some go well beyond that. So you know, you don’t necessarily have to, particularly if you’re buying it new, you don’t have to be concerned that you’re going to end up with you know, something that is a very expensive bricks sitting in your driveway or have at the expense of replacing the battery a couple of years down the road.
So let me talk a little bit about the data. And it very much backs up exactly what you said there. And when we ask people why they’re hesitant to buy an EV range is the number one thing that crops up for people. When we look at the details of how people use their vehicles, and the existing range, in fact, I was just looking at it this morning, the median range of an EV that was on sale in 2022 is about 265 miles. And that’s well above what most people do in a single day with, you know, even errands and work and dropping kids off and all that good stuff. So day to day in ED works for most people.
And the challenge really comes into play on road trips, those longer trips, right, you’re going down to Florida from you know, Atlanta or Michigan or wherever you might be, right? And so the good news is that there’s quite a bit of charging infrastructure out there, and we can talk about that if you’d like. But the reality when we ask people who drive EVs is that they’re not running out of charge. They’re not feeling like, you know, they’re not able to do what they need to do with an EV. And it’s just one of those areas where kind of the expectation that people have on one hand, that range was going to be a barrier and the reality that it’s really not are a little bit of a mismatch.
Daren Wang: If I’m ready to take the plunge and and head out to the dealership tomorrow, what should I be thinking about? What should my concerns be?
K.C. Boyce: Yeah, so really, I have to say, you know, driving electric is great. So just know that having apprehensions about driving an EV is completely reasonable and completely normal. But once you get in an EV and start experiencing one and living with one on a day-to-day basis, my guess is that you’re going to find that it is a much better experience overall than a gas car and easier than you expected. So just know that going in right, again, like not trying to say any concerns that you might have are unreasonable. You know, one thing to keep in mind is thinking about, you know, how are you going to charge it at home.
So most of the charging that people do — 85% or so happens at home. And so thinking about where you park it, and do you have access to an outlet near where you park it. A lot of people install what’s called a level two charger that charges the vehicle faster. And a level two charger essentially uses the same outlet or the same power level as a dryer. So like 240 volt kind of thing. And if that’s something that you’re looking to do, then, you know, talk to an electrician and kind of figure out how much that’s going to cost and factor that in.
You know, for what it’s worth, when we first bought an EV my intent was just to charge from a regular household outlet. I know plenty of people who do that, and for most people’s travel, you can completely do that, it’s totally fine. And what we realized is that we enjoy driving the EV so much that, you know, we’d go out on a Saturday morning, say to go hiking or something like that, come home for lunch and then want to take the EV again in the afternoon to go do something else.
So it was really helpful to have that level two at home so that we could get the charge back in to be able to take it back out again. You know, shorter range EV. You know, the other thing to take a look at is, if you are concerned about road trips, right, we’ve already talked about that a little bit, you know, check out some of the trip planning tools out there. So there’s a site called Plugshare. It’s also an app that you can download on your phone, there’s a site called Chargeway, again, they’ve got an app that you can download.
If you’re really geeky and want to get into you know, very specific details, there’s a site called a better route planner. All of these can help you find chargers on trips. So you know, you plot out the trip to you know, grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, or the trip to Disney World, or, you know, whatever it is that you’re doing on a regular basis, use one of those apps and just see where the charging is. And, you know, that’ll help you get comfortable with the availability of infrastructure or, you know, if you’re in one of those areas of the country that doesn’t have a lot of infrastructure, you know, it’d be one of those things where like, maybe this isn’t the right vehicle for me right now, or we need to have something else for those road trips. So, you know, those are really kind of the big things that I’d recommend thinking about as you’re thinking about an EV.
Daren Wang: And so let me ask you, you know, you’re knee deep in this stuff. And yet you were talking the other day, and you said, you know, you’ve always been a car guy. So what do you think the future of the EV is? I mean, do you think in the near future, we’re gonna see that it’s going to be going cheaper Do you think it’s going to? Do you think we’re going to get longer ranges? What do you think the technology trends are? What should we be looking for?
K.C. Boyce: Yeah, so I think both of those are likely to happen. So battery costs have been coming down, and they continue to come down. And that’s one of the biggest components of costs for an EV. And so right now, I’m gonna get the numbers wrong. But I think the average new car transaction price in the US is something like $46,000. And there are a number of really good EVs like the Chevy Bolt that are available for well, less than that I think the Chevy Bolt has been $26,000, something like that.
You certainly can spend quite a bit more on an EV. And that’s before the rebate. So, you know, consult your tax professional, but many people qualify for a $7,500 federal tax rebate, which can help further by down the cost.
So anyway, I do think costs are going to continue to come down. We’re also seeing energy density, which is essentially like how much power the batteries can store increasing, so that enables longer range. That being said, I’m a little skeptical that we’re going to see, like every EV with 500 miles of range. And, you know, 5 to 10 years, I think there certainly will be some out there. There are some out there right now that you can buy, like the Lucid Air and the Tesla Model S that are really expensive, but they’ll get you know, 450, 500 miles of range, just because most people don’t need that much range, even on an occasional basis. And it adds quite a bit of weight and quite a bit of expense to the vehicle.
So again, you know, thinking about your own situation, and do you actually need that range or not can help drive you to the right vehicle. The other thing that I think we’ll see a lot of in the coming years is what’s called “vehicle to x”, the “to-x” technology. And, you know, there’s already some EVs that you can plug into appliances in your home. The Kia EV six has an adapter that allows you to plug in regular 110 socket to the car. The Ford F 150 Lightning has a little bit more robust system where it can serve as backup for the entire home. And so you know, if you’re an area of the country that sees weather, other kinds of periodic shutdowns from the electric grid, that’s something that, may be a value to you versus going and buying a home backup generator.
And we see quite a bit of interest from customers in using their EV. And those sorts of situations. But there are also things out there that potentially allow the EV to enable the electric grid to work better and incorporate higher levels of renewable energy in that, and a lot of utilities are starting to work on those kinds of programs. So kind of keep an eye out on that. But I think, you know, overall, we’ll see quite a bit more technology that’s enabling that, vehicle to x to happen. You know, right now, it’s kind of early days doing that’s pretty expensive. But over time, I think it’s going to become more commonplace. And we’ll figure out what the, you know, kind of key value propositions are and how to make them work.
Daren Wang: So, I mean, it ends up your car ends up being a being, like a more integral part of your home essential. Yeah,
K.C. Boyce: That’s exactly right.
Daren Wang: Well, K.C., thanks for taking his time with us today and seeing the north Georgia mountains, hiking around.
K.C. Boyce: Sounds good. It’s great to be with you, Daren. Thanks so much.
Mallory Whitfield: Hi, Daren, so I’ve heard you’re gonna tell us all about this tax leasing loophole I keep hearing about when it comes to electric vehicles.
Daren Wang: Yeah. So you know, for anyone that’s considering switching to EVs, the big $7,500. EV tax credit is, it’s a big deal, it really makes a makes a difference. You know, right now, there are some EVs on the market for as little as $30,000. And you’re talking about 25% of your sticker price being covered by this this tax break.
So with that in mind, when the Internal Revenue Service issued the list of cars that qualified for this tax break, a lot of people were really disappointed, because the list is maybe 20 cars, not even quite that. So yeah, but it turns out, there’s a there’s an easy way around this around the whole list altogether. Right. And that’s leasing.
Although the IRA, the inflation Reduction Act, was intended to promote US manufacturing, it’s also aimed to put as many EVs on the road as possible as quickly as possible. And they kind of focused on commercial cars, or commercial vehicles, because of course, you know, that Amazon delivery van that’s out on the road is going to hit 40,000 miles in a year. And if you can get that electric, that’s a lot less emissions in the air, than your Camry that drives 7000 miles.
So they set up an incentive, all EVs under a commercial fleet are covered and eligible for this $7,500 Tax Credit.
Well, it turns out your leasing company, any leasing company, is a part of a commercial fleet. So yeah, if, if you go and buy a buy a car from GM, and they lease it to you, instead of buying it, that’s considered part of a commercial fleet, they get the credit.
Mallory Whitfield: So moral of the story, if you are interested in electric vehicle, maybe leasing is a better deal than buying right now.
Daren Wang: It can be. It depends on the car that you’re looking for. So the way this, this works for you, as a consumer, is there’s $7,500 credit for that car. Whether you get it or not is right, that’s the question. And what this means is $7,500. If you signed a three-year lease for a car, it’s about $222 a month off of the price of a car. And a lot of a lot of car manufacturers are passing that savings directly on to the to buyers. And obviously encouraging you to lease instead of buy and you’ll see that leasing deals across the industry is really making a difference. So, for example, in April of 2022 13% of EBS driven off the lot were were leased. This April, it was 37%.
Mallory Whitfield: That’s huge.
Yeah, it’s, I mean, that’s a big number. And I mean, when you’re talking about $222 a month, on average, that’s, you know, that makes a difference. And you know, that Hyundai Ionic for example, over that period of the beginning of this year, they were leasing 2% of their cars. And now they’re leasing 30. So like everybody signing up for this. And the thing is, if somebody is interested in actually owning the car, you know, they don’t want to mess around with leasing. In the long term, the idea of owning the car is more important to him, typically what happens is at the end of a three-year lease, you have the option to purchase the car at residual value. And that comes out to basically how much they owe, you know, the equation is all the same, they can keep those numbers pretty close.
So if you did that, if a consumer and let’s be clear, I am not a personal finance expert. Right. But if one were to lease a car under this deal, it’s quite likely that and get the credit the tax credit, or get the money from the leasing company, apply to your payments that $220 a month, then, at the end of that your residual value would be right in line and that you could own the car anyway. You know, paying basically what you would have with $7,500 Deal.
Mallory Whitfield: Wow. So yeah, leasing, it seems like definitely something to research, do your due diligence, investigate if you’re in the market for an electric vehicle right now?
Daren Wang: Yeah. So there’s a bit of a deadline on this. The legislation wasn’t intended to operate this way. So it wouldn’t surprise me if something happens in the legislature to change this, this particular loophole.
Mallory Whitfield: So if people are thinking about getting an electric vehicle anytime soon, they should really do their research and act fast, right?
Daren Wang: Yes, yes, of course. Remember, this is the good energy blog, and it’s not a good Finance Blog. So we are not financial experts at all. So do your research and find out on your own.
Mallory Whitfield: Right and if viewers and listeners want to learn more, we do have a link to the original CNBC article that you learned a lot of this information from in our show notes. Next up, we’re talking with ADT solders own Shae Thomas, where you can make a difference, a look at some of the actions you can take today to make things better for all of us. Shea is a senior designer for ADT, solar, but it’s her passion for all things sustainable. That really makes me want to talk with her. Hi, Shay, and thanks for coming back to share another green cleaning tip with us. Let’s talk about laundry. How can we make laundry day a little bit more eco friendly?
Shae Thomas: Well, I know laundry is a topic that not everybody is excited about right when it’s time to do it. But there’s some good that you can actually do to not only help the environment, but to help you know reduce the amount of things you have to to purchase and utilize just to get some clean clothes.
So first and foremost, we talked about doing laundry, what are you doing with your machine? What settings do you have it on? When do you operate it? using cold water for starters is a great way to reduce your hot water heater from having to heat up hot water for that, that load. But also, if you’re using different detergent, things like that, make sure not to overuse it. This is a very common problem, we get that big huge scoop of laundry detergent, we throw it in there. And a lot of times it oversuds our machine, it’s too much and it’s just wasteful at the end of the day. But there are several different things like that that you can do. Now when you do your laundry is an important topic as well. Everybody has their schedule. But if you can kind of target doing your laundry during the cooler hours of the day, you start using those machines as appliances that have a decent cooling or electricity. But they can do it during a time when it’s not peak hours when the electricity that you’re using is a little bit more cost effective.
But also at a time in the day where the heat generated from an appliance is not going to heat up the house. There’s nothing exciting about already being in a warm house and then turning on warm appliances and then your AC unit having to like blast to make sure that you don’t overheat.
So definitely pay attention to the time of day that you can do your laundry. Now some of the other things that you can do with your laundry machines.
Reduce what all has to go into that process is using wool laundry balls. I know everybody’s used to the sheets. Great, right? They’re supposed to like help with all these things. But one of the things that’s really great, especially about the laundry balls is that they actually help to aerate the clothes that are tumbling in the machine. So it actually helps to reduce drying time as well.
You still get all of benefits of the laundry sheet, but you get a little bit extra by using those.
And not to mention, they’re one less thing that you have to keep throwing out every time you do a load of laundry, right?I know we’ve all had that we’re like, oh, there’s there’s that laundry sheet. So you can have something that’s reusable, that you don’t have to keep purchasing over and over again every time you go to the store.
Now one other option as well as skip the machine altogether, you’re drying clothes, you’re gonna go ahead and say ‘hey, I want this to be nice and fresh and clean. go old school with it line dry it.’ There’s a million different racks that you can have in any size apartment, whether it be studio small or you’ve got a nice big yard that you want to hang things up on a line. But line drying is a great option. There’s even some settings if you do have a machine and you do really want to just air dry some clothes aides are a great option as well. And it helps reduce the amount of electricity that you end up using just to get a clean t shirt.
Mallory Whitfield: That’s it for good energy this month. If you’d like to learn more about solar and what’s going on in the world of clean energy, check out our blog at add solar.com. For everyone here at good energy. I’m Mallory Whitfield. We’ll see you next time. For now keep the sunny side up.
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About our guest
K.C. Boyce is a vice president in Escalent’s Auto & Mobility and Energy market groups. He works with automakers, energy providers and others in the clean energy ecosystem to craft compelling products and programs that accelerate the energy transition. Throughout his career, K.C. has worked across industries and sectors to develop innovative solutions to complex problems and translate subject matter expertise into actionable insight. He is the co-host of the weekly Energy Matters radio show and an internationally-known speaker on topics such as electric vehicles and solar.
Before joining Escalent, K.C. was senior vice president at Chartwell, where he led industry and consumer research, conference production and marketing. He also served as the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative’s assistant director, leading its consumer research program.
K.C. holds an MBA from Georgia State’s Robinson College of Business and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado College.
Connect with K.C. Boyce on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kcboyce/
The reality is when we ask people who drive EVs—they’re not running out of charge. They’re not feeling like they’re not able to do what they want to do.,
There’s $7,500 credit for that car—whether you get it or not, that’s the question.,