Massachusetts is known for many things, including its prestigious universities, the settling place for the Pilgrims, Boston baked beans and even the Salem witch trials. But how does it compare to other states when it comes to owning an EV? From incentives and charging costs to the availability of charging stations, we’re covering what you need to know.
A crucial part of owning an EV is having access to convenient charging, and how well Massachusetts supports this infrastructure is paramount.
Fortunately, there are just under 5,000 public charging stations across the state. Massachusetts ranks 3rd in terms of EV chargers available, relative to the number of EVs. This is undoubtedly good news for EV owners in the state.
Types of Charging Stations in Massachusetts
Most of these stations rely on Level 2 charging, which is between Level 1 chargers and fast DC chargers in terms of charging speed. With so many charging stations in the state, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs. Some of these stations are free to use but are the minority in the state. More often than not, charging will come at a price.
Level 1 charging stations only make up around 1.5% of the total stations in the state, so chances are you won’t come across one easily. These 120 V chargers are free but can take considerably longer to charge your EV. Expect somewhere between 12 to 24 hours, or possibly even longer, to juice up your car. As such, this will likely be unsuitable for your needs, particularly if you travel long distances.
Level 2 charging stations are the most popular and account for 90% of charging stations in MA. These 240 V stations offer shorter charge times, usually around 4 to 6 hours for most EVs. As such, they’re about 5 times faster than Level 1 stations on average.
The fastest of the three types, Level 3 charging stations, can also be found across the state. They make up 9% of stations in the state. Supplying a voltage of 480 V, these incredibly fast chargers can fill up an EV’s battery from empty in as little as 30 minutes, depending on the model. Consequently, these are the most convenient for heavy users and those taking a break during a long journey or commute.
Which charging stations can you use?
What stations and levels of charging are available to you depends on your EV model and its connector type. The vast majority of EVs in the U.S. rely on the standard J 1772 connector. These are also known as CCS (Combined Charging System) chargers, as they can be used for Level 1 and 2 AC charging and Level 3 DC fast charging. You won’t need an extra adapter or anything special to use these charging ports as every connection is housed in the charger.
While CHAdeMO (“Charge de Move”) chargers are being phased out, some of these stations are still in use across the U.S. Most EVs won’t be able to use this connector type, as only Nissan LEAF and the Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid EV use it. If you own one of these, you’ll need an additional connector cable to use J 1772 inlets.
The other connector type is for the world-famous Tesla EVs. These use their proprietary connector type, which works for all charging levels, including the Tesla Supercharger ports.
Where are the Charging Stations in Massachusetts Located?
Stations are spread across Massachusetts, from Springfield and Worcester to Boston, Cambridge and Newton. With the 3rd highest number of charging stations per registered EV in the U.S., rest assured that whatever city you’re in, there will likely be a charging station nearby. You can check EV maps on PlugShare to find a charging station near you.
Cost of Owning an EV in Massachusetts
Charging stations are fairly easy to find in MA. Unfortunately, the state is one of the most expensive places for driving an EV ranking 46th out of all states in terms of cheapest charging costs, with household electricity costs 51% higher than the national average. So, you can expect to pay more than average. But how does this change depending on the EV model? Check out some examples below.
Tesla Model Y
In some states, you can’t buy a Tesla due to strict bans on sales direct from manufacturers. Luckily, Massachusetts isn’t one of them, and you can get your hands on a Tesla Model Y Long Range for around $55,000 or the Performance version for about $3,000 more. The 2023 rendition comes with a 75 kWh battery. Although there’s only one battery size, you should get around 330 miles and 300 miles range with the Long Range and Performance models, respectively.
As for charging cost, using a Tesla Supercharger port tends to be around 21 cents per kWh. To juice up your car to full charge from empty, you’ll spend roughly $16. Charging at home in MA will set you back $17 or $18.
A standout electric pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning from Ford is as practical as impressive. The basic model costs $55,000, while the Platinum model $100,000. Two battery options – the standard 98 kWh “Standard” pack and the 131 kWh “Extended” pack – are available. These give around 230 miles and 300 miles of range, respectively.
Charging the F-150 at a public station costs approximately $20 for a full charge of the standard battery, $5 more than the average in the U.S. Unfortunately, charging at home isn’t economical. You’ll certainly pay more, with a full charge costing, on average, around $23.
Whilst not the trendiest or speediest of EVs, the XC40 offers a comfortable and highly safe experience for a small SUV. Interior lighting and heated seats add to the refinement Prices start at around $38,000 for the base model, going up to around $50,000 for the Ultimate model. With a battery size of 78 kWh, you can expect to get just over 200 miles from a full charge.
Costs are relatively high considering MA’s high electricity prices. Public charging will set you back around $16, while charging at home will cost about $18.
If you don’t fancy splurging on the F-150 or a Tesla, consider the LEAF from Nissan. The LEAF S 2023 model costs $27,800, with the SV Plus being available for $35,800. The S model comes with a 40 kWh battery, whereas the SV Plus has a 60 kWh battery. These have a range of around 150 and 210 miles, respectively.
The smaller battery of the LEAF S will cost around $9.20 for a full charge at home and about $8 at a public station.
Owning an EV in Massachusetts: Incentives
Although Massachusetts has steep energy prices, residential incentives can help reduce charging costs.
As the name suggests, this incentive is available to all EV owners and includes up to a $7,500 income tax credit for EVs. This does depend on factors like the assembly location, personal income limits and cost of the vehicle. Check out the United States Department of Energy website to see if you’re eligible.
The MOR-EV, or Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles Program, delivers rebates for leasing or buying an EV. This includes fuel cell or electric battery rebates of up to $3,500 and an additional $1,500 available to low-income households. Some used EVs may qualify, but visit the MOR-EV website for full eligibility criteria.
Owning an EV in Massachusetts: Is it Worth it?
Since the average fuel-powered vehicle in MA will cost around $50 to fill up with regular gasoline, even with the state’s high electricity prices charging up an EV will still cost substantially less. Installing a Level 2 home charging station can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500, though, so this is an upfront cost you’ll have to take on board if you plan to charge at home predominantly. Considering a full charge cost of $23, it seems it would take almost 4 years to make back the cost of installing a charging station. But when you factor in that EV maintenance costs tend to be 30 to 50% less than their fuel-guzzling counterparts, this figure becomes much shorter. Even still, with MA’s steep energy costs and the considerable price of many of the hottest EVs, you may want to hold off until their prices come down.