As gas prices soar in San Diego and across the country, there continues to be a steady consumer shift toward electric and hybrid vehicles. During the past year, there has been a 40% increase in the number of consumers now considering buying a green car, according to the auto research firm Edmunds.com.
If you're in the market for an EV, though, back-ordered vehicles and supply-chain issues mean you're likely in for a long wait.
“You’re going to wait anywhere from three months to a year and a half,” said Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights at Edmunds.com. "It really depends on which automaker you go with and where you land in the queue."
Drury recommends getting on a pre-order or reservation list as soon as possible, which is inexpensive. In the current market, he said, an electric vehicle can save consumers several hundred dollars a month, but there are considerations that buyers should make beforehand.
“ 'Do I have the infrastructure around me in order to really make this a viable option?' " Drury said. "If you don’t have a solar system set up, you don’t have a charging place, if you live in a condo or apartment, there’s going to be these other barriers to entry that can really change that cost factor for you.”
Also, charging a vehicle can be time-consuming, and free charging stations can be hard to find.
In Clairemont at the Vons shopping center at Genesee and Balboa avenues, there are several free charging stations with a two-hour limit.
A driver who did not want to be identified was using one of the free charging stations and said his Prius Prime hybrid cost $34,000 and averages 500 miles per fill-up. He said charging his vehicle at home has recently resulted in a $50 or so increase in his electricity bill.
Meanwhile, David Ingersoll was charging his $60,000 Tesla at a nearby charging station specifically for the high-end vehicles. He drew a comparison between his EV and his wife’s gas-powered SUV.
“Right now, it’s going to cost her 80 bucks or more to fill up, depending on where she goes in the city," Ingersoll said. "And then here, I’ll charge and get about 300 miles out of my charge, and it’s probably going to be about $25-$30.”
Ingersoll is currently driving his second electric vehicle. His first was a hybrid purchased during the 2008 surge in gas prices.
“It gives me a little bit of a feeling of satisfaction and a little redemption," Ingersoll said. "People say, ‘Oh, Tesla! Why you doing Tesla? It’s too expensive,’ but he who laughs last laughs best, and I’m laughing all the way to the bank instead of the gas pump."