I know going electric may seem intimidating here in the Cornhusker state. With our wide open spaces and lack of public charging infrastructure compared to coastal cities, you might have some valid concerns about switching to an EV.
Not to worry – I‘ve dug into the data and am excited to walk through everything you need to know about charging costs, available EV models, incentives, and the outlook for EVs in Nebraska. My goal is to provide you with the full picture so you can decide if now is the right time to join the EV movement.
Nebraska is lagging behind, but change is coming
First, where does Nebraska stand right now when it comes to EV adoption? As of January 2023, only 0.2% of vehicles in Nebraska were electric. That‘s just 2,667 EVs out of 1.2 million registered vehicles. For comparison, EVs make up 15% of new car sales in California.
Clearly we have some catching up to do! However, there are signs of progress coming. Nebraska recently announced its plan under the $5 billion federal National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. The state will use its $6.2 million share of funds to build out a network of EV charging stations along major highways.
The plan calls for adding a new charging station every 50 miles along I-80, I-76, and I-129 over the next 5 years. By 2028, over 50 new charging locations will give EV drivers in Nebraska reliable options for long distance travel.
Charging your EV in Nebraska
Let‘s discuss how and where you‘ll be able to charge your EV in Nebraska.
Overall, there are currently 139 public charging stations in the state according to the Department of Energy. The vast majority are located along Interstate 80 and in major cities like Omaha and Lincoln.
Here‘s a breakdown of stations by major networks:
- Electrify America – 43 locations with DC fast charging
- ChargePoint – 35 locations with Level 2 charging
- EVConnect – 20 locations with DC fast and Level 2 charging
- Greenlots – 13 DC fast charging stations
- Volta – 11 free Level 2 charging stations
DC fast chargers are crucial for long trips, as they can add 200+ miles of range per hour. The NEVI plan will drastically expand these types of chargers near highways over the next 5 years.
For daily charging needs, Level 2 stations at home or around town are perfect. They provide 10-25 miles of range per hour of charging. There are 435 public Level 2 ports in Nebraska as of January 2023.
How much will it cost to charge up?
This is always a hot topic for potential EV buyers. Let‘s break down the charging costs in Nebraska.
Charging at home with a Level 2 charger is the most affordable option. Nebraska has relatively cheap residential electricity rates, averaging $0.1038 per kWh. That means a full charge costs:
- $6.23 for a 60 kWh battery
- $10.38 for a 100 kWh, 300-mile range battery
If you install a Level 2 charger at home, the hardware will cost $500 – $1000 including installation.
For public charging, costs typically range from:
- $0.30 – $0.35 per minute for DC fast charging
- $1 – $2 per hour for Level 2 charging
So a typical 20-80% fast charge session will run you $10 – $15 depending on your EV‘s battery size. Level 2 public charging for an hour adds about 20-25 miles of range for $1 – $2.
There are also public charging memberships like from EVgo that offer discounted rates. And don‘t forget federal tax credits can save you up to $7,500 on a new EV purchase.
Which electric models are popular in Nebraska?
Based on registration data from Experian, here are the top 5 electric vehicles in Nebraska:
- Tesla Model 3 (18.7% of EVs)
- Chevrolet Bolt (14.3%)
- Nissan Leaf (13.5%)
- Ford Mustang Mach-E (10.9%)
- Polestar 2 (9.2%)
The Tesla Model 3 offers an EPA-rated 272 miles of range and acceleration from 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds. With several Supercharger locations in the state, the Model 3 makes long distance travel possible. The rear-wheel drive version starts at $46,990.
The Chevy Bolt EV is an affordable subcompact hatchback with 259 miles of range. Its price is accessible at $27,495 before incentives. The Bolt can use several public DC fast charging networks.
Other great options like the Mustang Mach-E and Polestar 2 prove you can still get excitement and range from an EV. And the Nissan Leaf is a proven commuter EV with 222 miles of range.
EV incentives in Nebraska
To make EVs more affordable in the state, Nebraska offers:
A state tax credit of 5%, up to $4,500, when you purchase or $2,250 when you lease a new EV
A $500 rebate from the Nebraska Public Power District for installing a qualifying Level 2 smart charger
A tax credit up to $1,500 over 5 years for building an efficient, EV-ready home
Don‘t forget to claim the federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for purchasing a new EV before the end of 2023. Used EVs will also offer federal credits up to $4,000 starting in 2023.
Between incentives and far lower fuel costs, EVs cost about half as much to own as comparable gas vehicles in Nebraska.
The road ahead for EVs in Nebraska
Transitioning to widespread EV adoption will take time here in Nebraska. Installing charging infrastructure across our wide open spaces presents challenges not seen in other regions of the country.
However, with the NEVI investment adding many new fast chargers near major highways over the next 5 years, expanded infrastructure is on the way. Combine that with more affordable used EVs coming to market, and the path forward is clear.
For Nebraska drivers ready to go electric now, the current charging network allows for comfortable daily commuting and city driving if you can charge regularly at home. Rural drivers do still need to carefully plan longer trips outside metro areas until we build out more fast charging locations.
Owning an EV in Nebraska means enjoying a smoother, quieter driving experience while paying far less for fuel. As newer models push past 300+ miles of range and more charging stations pop up across the state, any concerns about transitioning to an EV will melt away.
I hope this overview has provided you with all the information you need to make the switch to electric with confidence. Let me know if you have any other questions – I‘m happy to chat more about the transition to EVs here in Nebraska!