35 electric vehicles have been sold or leased in the past two and a half weeks through a program called U Drive Electric.
Due to its popularity, the University of Utah’s Office of Sustainability is extending the program through January 31st with help from Utah Clean Energy and a grant from UCAIR. Kate Bowman is the solar project coordinator for Utah Clean Energy. She says U Drive Electric has been the catalyst to release pent up demand for electric vehicles.
“So that someone who has been interested in purchasing an electric vehicle but doesn’t know how to make that decision or find the information they need to make that decision can get answers to their questions,” says Bowman.
Buyers can get up to $6,000 through U Drive Electric in addition to nearly $9,000 in tax incentives from the state and federal government. Amy Wildermuth is the Interim Chief Sustainability Officer at the U. She says there was a rush at the beginning but people seem to be waiting to make sure the tax incentives are extended.
“We know now that the incentives are going to extend through 2016 and we have three dealers who are very enthusiastic, again probably because we are selling more than one electric vehicle per day,” says Wildermuth.
BMW, Ford and Nissan dealers are connected to U Drive Electric with various plug-in and hybrid models. Anyone in the loosely defined U community can participate. Wildermuth says the electric car program is an off-shoot of last year’s U Community Solar. She says her office is now working on an incentive plan to tie the car and solar incentive programs together.