The City of Saint Paul is committed to tackling Our Climate Crisis, so reducing energy use in transportation is an important part of Saint Paul's Climate Action and Resilience Plan. Transportation is the source of 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Saint Paul. Most trips in our city are taken in cars, and most of those cars burn fossil fuels. To do our part in slowing climate change and reducing our local air pollution, it's critical that Saint Paul makes electric vehicles more accessible to its residents by building more electric vehicle infrastructure in the city.
Jump to a section on this page:
- Why Switch to Electric?
- Purchasing an Electric Vehicle (EV)
- Charging Your EV
- Driving Your EV
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Useful Links
Cars that burn gas and diesel pollute the air with toxins that can cause us major health problems. Gas and diesel-powered cars produce carbon emissions, which trap heat in our atmosphere and contribute to climate change.
Electric vehicles are...
...becoming more cost-effective
While the cost of purchasing a new electric vehicle (EV) can be higher than the cost of purchasing a new gas-powered vehicles today, EVs are expected to have comparable up-front costs to gas-powered vehicles within the next few years. In addition, electricity is a much cheaper fuel than gas. In Minnesota, fueling an EV is about half the cost of fueling a gas-powered vehicle. So even when buying an EV, the savings on fuel quickly outweigh the initial cost of purchase.
There are fewer parts that can break on an EV, so they are generally much cheaper to repair and maintain. This also makes them more reliable, so you don't have to worry as much about them breaking down as when driving a gas-powered car. EV batteries can also last for hundreds of thousands of miles without needing to be replaced.
...better for the climate
Gas-powered cars produce three times more greenhouse gas emissions than EVs, which contribute to climate change. Electricity still has a carbon footprint, but in the Twin Cities that footprint is shrinking. Xcel Energy, which services much of the Twin Cities, will produce 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050 (and be 80% carbon-free by 2030).
...better for our health
Gas-powered cars emit toxins that contribute to air pollution. People who live in areas with more polluted air, such as along urban freeway corridors, are at higher risk of developing asthma and cardiovascular diseases. Pregnant women who breathe in that air are more likely to have a child with impaired lung development, low-birthweight, and leukemia. The more polluting cars on the road, the more that people nearby suffer from these health problems. Electric vehicles do not contribute to local air pollution, having zero tailpipe emissions.
...here to stay
As new innovation hit the market and demand increases worldwide, the cost of EVs is dropping fast. By 2020, the cost of lithium-ion batteries will have fallen 90% since 2010. By 2022, the cost of EV and gas-powered cars will be roughly the same. There is also a growing market of used EVs, which offer a cheaper option to people looking to buy their own. All of this means that EVs are here to stay. That's why Saint Paul is building out its network of electric charging infrastructure, so that more people can have access to the savings associated with switching to EVs.
There are three main types of electric vehicles (EVs), each with their own mix of fuel:
|Vehicle Type||Fuel Type|
|Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)||All electric (plug in)|
|Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)||Conventional fuel + electric (plug in)|
|Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)||Conventional fuel (primarily) + electric|
Find the electric vehicle that's right for you
If you are thinking of purchasing an EV, it's important to know what kind of car will fit your needs. Drive Electric MN has a great resource for finding the right vehicle.
Learn about discounts and rebates
Here in Minnesota, you can access rebate programs and discounts that make purchasing an electric vehicle cheaper. Before buying an EV, compare the cost savings for each model. Incentives for buying electric vehicles are becoming more and more common, both at the national and state levels. Keep track of tax credits and other incentives at Energy.gov.
There are different kinds of chargers that charge at different rates, and it's important to know how they work if you have an electric car. Learn about Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, as well as DC Fast Charging, at Drive Electric MN.
Find public chargers
Visit PlugShare to find chargers throughout Saint Paul and around the world. You can search public and residential charging stations to find compatible plugs for your electric vehicle (EV) and see which chargers are currently in use so you can better plan your route. Most EVs also have in-dash navigation to find charging stations.
Consider installing a home charger
For most people who own EVs, 95% of charging is done at home. Having a home charger can make charging your vehicle much cheaper and easier than relying solely on public chargers. However, if you do not have access to a home charger, you can use public charging stations or check to see if your workplace has one.
The Twin Cities Electric Vehicle Mobility Network
Through its partnership in creating the Electric Vehicle Mobility Network, the City of Saint Paul is installing new electric chargers throughout the city in 2021. The project will also bring EV car sharing to the Twin Cities. Click here to learn more about this project.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are much quieter than conventional ones, so you may be surprised when you first turn it on. They also accelerate more quickly than gas-powered cars because the power goes straight to the wheels, which can make them fun to drive. Please drive below the speed limit.
Don't stop there!
Driving electric is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but you shouldn't stop there. It makes a big different to simply drive less and use other transportation options like walking, biking, and taking public transit.
What are the types of electric chargers?
There are Type 1 charger, Type 2 chargers, and DC Fast Chargers, which all charge at different rates. Visit Drive Electric Minnesota for more information on charging terminology.
What is the typical range of a fully charged electric vehicle?
It depends on the model, but most new electric cars can run for over 200 miles on a single charge, some up to 250 miles per charge. However, the ranges of older models and plug-in hybrid vehicles vary a great deal.
What is a "time of use" rate?
Utilities offer different rates for electricity at different times. The "time of use" rate at night is generally lower than during the day when there is less demand for electricity. Most people who own electric vehicles charger at night when rates are lower, if they have access to a home charger.
Where can I find public electric vehicle charging stations?
PlugShare offers a great map showing chargers available throughout the world. The map helps you look for different kinds of charging options and evaluate prices.
How does driving an electric car compare to driving a gas-powered one?
While electric vehicle have a higher up-front cost than gas-powered ones, they will save you money on fuel and maintenance. The feel of driving an electric vehicle is very similar to driving a gas-powered one, but they generally have more powerful acceleration. They also have a quiet motor that is almost silent when you come to a stop.
How can I buy my own electric vehicle?
Can I get a tax credit by owning my own electric vehicle?
Yes! The federal government and the state of Minnesota offer financial incentives, including tax credits, for owning an electric vehicle. Check out FuelEconomy.gov's Tax Credits for Electric Vehicles page for more information.
- Drive Electric Minnesota
- Clean Energy Resource Teams: Choosing Your Electric Vehicle
- Xcel Energy: Electric Vehicles
- Energy.gov: Electric Vehicles Tax Credits and Other Incentives
- U.S. Department of Energy: Alternative Fuels Data Center: Emissions from Hybrid and Plug-In Electric Vehicles
- My EV: Electric Vehicle Marketplace
- MN Department of Transportation: Community Conversations Engagement Project
- U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Saving on Fuel and Vehicle Costs