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USA: Ashland offers electric vehicle incentive

The city of Ashland is offering a $100 incentive to people who install an electric vehicle plug-in station in homes under construction.

The incentive is meant to encourage electric vehicle use while offsetting costs.

Plug-in stations cost less than $500 to more than $1,000, depending on the number of added features.

Upgrading a home’s electrical system to accommodate the higher load of a station can run from $200 to several thousand dollars, according to electric vehicle experts.

The $100 incentive is available when a home is built to Earth Advantage or ENERGY STAR program standards, said city of Ashland Management Analyst Adam Hanks.

Homes built under those programs are at least 15 percent more energy efficient than regular homes and can include various features, such as increased insulation, insulating windows, tight duct work and energy-efficient appliances and lighting, according to the city.

Laura Lawrence, who is in the midst of having an energy-efficient home built on Westwood Street in the Ashland hills, already has an upgraded electrical system that can accommodate a future electric vehicle plug-in station.

She could take advantage of the $100 city incentive if she takes the next step and installs an electric vehicle charging station.

Lawrence is waiting on the sale of her previous home to buy an electric vehicle.

“I’m trying to go as green as possible,” she said. “I would like to have an electric vehicle as a run-about car. Living on a hill uses a lot of gas.”

Her home under construction is equipped with solar panels that she hopes will provide close to 100 percent of her home electricity needs. Green features of her home, including insulated concrete form construction, will reduce her energy consumption.

Hanks said residents who have solar panels are in a good position to buy electric vehicles. They could use any excess electricity to run their vehicles, rather than selling extra power back to the Ashland Electric Department at wholesale rates.
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