A couple of things happened this week as I wait to see if this MINI E is going to happen for me:
- I received my first official mail from MINI-USA about the trial
- I got another, different estimate for upgrading my electric to 240A
- I learned about the possibility of a federal tax credit
MINI USA let us know that we would be hearing from a company they contracted with to install the wall charging boxes. They will be contacting us to make an appointment to verify that our garage and our electric is OK for the trial.
My detached garage is almost 100 feet from my house and currently does not have 240A. The initial estimate was almost $5,000, for extending the 240A line in our house, underground, to the garage, and the bulk of the cost was for the underground work; there was no way I would pay that much, as I have no other use for the 240A line. So I asked the electrician if we could get the electric utility (PSE&G in this part of New Jersey) to extend an overhead line from the utility pole near our garage (we live on a corner) to the garage, and then just get a 2nd electric meter and sub-panel for the garage. They said Of course, but the estimate has come in at about $2100 just for that, which is a real disappointment. This cost on top of the lease really makes me doubt whether this adventure is worth it.
But then in doing a web search, I came across a discussion forum, on a web site for MINI owners, where the discussion was about the possibility of a Federal tax credit because of the recent stimulus bill that Congress passed [access the PDF here, with all references to plug-in already highlighted]. Though no forum participant feels confident at this point, some reading of the bill itself suggests that people leasing the MINI E may qualify for up to a $7500 credit. That would be amazing, and would make taking part in this trial much easier, given the high lease cost. The forum contains links to the full bills as well as to a couple of green car sites that talk about it as well [1,2].