By April Bolduc, plug-in EV program manager, SDG&E

“Electric vehicles (EV), hybrids and other alternative-fuel vehicles are moving out of the early-adopter stage and into the mainstream,” says a recent survey by Autotrader.  In addition, Autopartswarehouse.com asked its site visitors what they think of alternative-fuel and zero emissions vehicles, and a whopping 86% said hybrids and EVs are here to stay and 55% said they’d consider buying one.

I just got back from a European trip.  Among one of my favorite stops was the BMW Welt (World) factory and showroom.  There was the all-electric BMW i3 under the lights in all its glory.  The super-sexy BMW i8 with scissor doors and a price tag that surpasses the Tesla.  In addition, BMW just announced three more plug-ins – the 740e xDrive plug-in hybrid, the 330e plug-in hybrid sedan and the X5 xDrive 40e SUV.

Even with high-end brands diving into the market head first, we are also seeing the price of leases on all EVs drop considerably.  For example, in the San Diego region some are below $200 a month.  At the recent SDG&E Energy Showcase and Clean Car Expo all of the EV automakers were there with special offerings on the all-electric Chevy Spark, Fiat 500e and Ford Focus Electric, among others.  In addition to these savings, an all-electric car never needs an oil change.  EV drivers like being able to pocket that money, and the time they save to get this chore done.  I wonder how many minutes I’ve saved over the last three years by never having to go to a gas station?

Automakers are releasing more and more plug-in car models and the San Diego region is adopting them at one of the highest rates of any other region.  This means that the 50 percent of our local residents living in multifamily communities they will soon want access to fuel their cars as well.  Many have probably already asked you about it.