Electrifying Central Oregon One Car at a Time


(Photo above: Joette Storm one of the first purchases of a LEAF with the group buy discount | courtesy of The Energy Challenge)

Electric Vehicle Group Buy Program offers deep discounts on new cars, education programs set for June 8 & 13.

Since May 1, 2017, 22 new all electric NISSAN LEAF vehicles have hit Central Oregon roads. This is almost double the amount of cars that the local Nissan dealership sold in all of 2016.

The Energy Challenge of Central Oregon has been working with local residents over the last two and a half years to help them save money on energy bills and make their homes more comfortable. This year, The Energy Challenge is expanding to help raise awareness about electric vehicles.

Electric Vehicles, (EVs), are a big deal right now—and you can get the best deal in the country, right here in Central Oregon. The Energy Challenge has partnered with Smolich Nisan in Bend to organize a Group Buy program to demystify EVs and offer a deep discount for purchasing a new car.

Until June 30, Smolich Nissan is offering a discount of $10,000 when purchasing a new electric vehicle. This can be coupled with a federal tax credit of $7,500. In total, Central Oregonians could get up to up $17,500 off the cost of an electric vehicle. This can cover more than 50 percent of the cost of a car.

“Many people still have a lot of questions about electric vehicles and are anxious about things like range, charging, battery life, and traveling with them,” said Lindsey Hardy, program director of The Energy Challenge. “That’s why we’re hosting educational forums to bring people together and get all of their questions answered at once”

At each forum, participants will be able to talk to EV owners and learn about home charging, planning trips and see LEAFs first-hand.

“It’s so easy to drive an electric car. I purchased one last fall and love EV life! I plug into a regular wall outlet in my garage and wake up fully charged. I’ve taken trips around Oregon, to the coast, and have gone to Smith Rock and Black Butte many times,” shared Hardy. “Previously, I wasn’t the best car owner in terms of maintenance. Electric vehicles are so easy. You don’t have to plan for oil changes and there aren’t going to be many other maintenance surprises.”

The education forums will highlight how to pair an EV with solar. In conjunction with this program, local solar contractors are offering to install customers’ Level 2 charging stations for free if they’re also purchasing an electric vehicle. These charging stations charge the cars in as little as four hours. Customers have to purchase their own charging stations and the solar contractors will take care of the electrical work to get them installed.

There one upcoming forum:
Tuesday, June 13 at 6:15pm at The Environmental Center in Bend

Joette and Gene Storm were some of the first purchases of a LEAF with the group buy discount. They had been considering an electric vehicle and knew this was the perfect opportunity to seriously check out electric vehicle options. “We both like the way the car drives and its smooth operation. We have solar panels on our roof and have been charging the car about every three nights and still have not had an electric bill since the purchase.”
If you’re itching to get behind the wheel of an electric car, you can stop by Smolich Nissan to take one for a spin. Nissan will even loan a car out for one to two days for perspective buyers to get a sense of what day to day life is like with an EV.

“The thing that surprised me the most about a LEAF the first time I drove one was how powerful they are and the quick pick up. The overall performance is very impressive. That’s why I encourage people to stop by the store and take one for a spin,” said Jason Bradley from Smolich Nissan. Bradley has been a LEAF drive for over three years.

With more electric vehicles hitting the road every day, Hardy is optimistic about the future of EVs in Oregon: “This is just beginning. Maybe I’m getting too far ahead of myself, but I think there’s an EV revolution coming.”

Lindsey Hardy, Program Director, The Energy Challenge, 541-948-9915 or lindsey@envirocenter.org
The Energy Challenge of Central Oregon
The Energy Challenge is a project of The Environmental Center, a Bend nonprofit organization whose mission is embed sustainability into daily life in Central Oregon. The Energy Challenge is a collaborative effort to help Central Oregonians save energy and make their homes more comfortable. For more information, visit TheEnergyChallenge.org or contact Lindsey Hardy at 541-385-6908 x11 or lindsey@envirocenter.org


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