Electric Vehicles

Green electric vehicle parking only sign in Boston Properties' West Garage

About Electric Vehicles (EVs)

There are two types of electric vehicles:

  • Battery electric: These are all-electric vehicles with an electric motor in place of an internal combustion engine (ICE). The power used to run the electric motor is stored in the onboard battery that can be recharged from the regional power grid. The new EVs coming on the market are expected to have a range of 80 to 300 miles per charge, depending on battery size, driving and weather conditions.
  • Plug-in hybrids: These are vehicles that combine electric motors with internal combustion engines. The ICE can run the vehicle or recharge the batteries if the electricity runs low. Plug-in hybrids will get about 10 to 50 miles on the electric motor and battery alone. Unlike a hybrid vehicle, plug-in hybrids can be recharged from the electric grid.

The prices of new EVs range from $24,500 for the Mitsubishi iMiEV to $100,000+ for luxury Tesla models.

These two tools will ask you a series of questions about your vehicle needs and driving patterns to help you find an electric vehicle that meets your needs:

Tax Credits, Rebates and Grants

As of January 1st, 2019, Massachusetts's MOR-EV program has reduced the maximum offered rebate amount from $2,500 to $1,500, and will no longer accept applications for the purchase or lease of hybrid electric vehicles or vehicles above $50,000. Applications are due within 3 months of purchasing the vehicle, check here for eligible vehicles. To learn more about the upcoming changes or the application process, please review their FAQ.

Electric vehicles (both battery electric and plug-in hybrids) purchased after 2009 are eligible for a federal income tax credit ranging from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the battery capacity. The full amount of the tax credit will decline after the manufacturer has sold 200,000 EVs.

Drive Green is a limited-time EV discount program run by The Green Energy Consumers Alliance. It aims to make choosing an EV easier and more affordable; anyone is eligible to participate and receive a discount to purchase or lease a wide selection of EVs at a participating dealer.

Charging Equipment

A woman charging an electric vehicle at the state-funded EV charging station in the Cambridgeside Galleria garageThere are different types of charging equipment referred to as Levels 1, 2, and 3. The differences are related to the speed of charging.

  • Level 1 is the slowest and involves plugging into a standard wall outlet.
  • Level 2 will be the most common type of charging equipment, at least initially, given that it costs significantly less than Level 3. Level 2 charging uses specialized equipment with a 240-volt connection, which is similar to the type of plug used for dryer connections.
  • Level 3 is rapid charging, but is currently too expensive for widespread adoption.

Most EV owners will charge at home. Auto manufacturers are partnering with charging equipment vendors to make home installation easy and streamlined for customers.

An industry standard has been established for the coupler that connects EVs to the charging equipment. This ensures that EV owners will be able to recharge their vehicles at any charging station, whether at home or in a public place.

City-owned Public Charging Stations in Cambridge

City owned stations charge a rate of $0.189 per kWh drawn and $0.15 per hour. To learn more about this rate structure please read our press release on the subject.

  • Department of Public Works, 147 Hampshire Street
    This station is open to the public from 6:00 P. M. to 6:00 A. M. on weekdays, and all day on weekends, ending at 6:00 A.M. on Mondays. There is one dedicated EV charging space in the public parking lot at the front of the building. The charging station can provide a Level 1 or 2 charge.
  • First St. Garage, 2nd level, entrance on Spring Street
    This station is open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can charge two cars with a level 2 charge at the same time. There are two dedicated parking spots for EVs at this station.
  • City Lot #5 on Bishop Allen Drive, between Norfolk and Douglass St.
    This station is open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can charge two cars with a level 2 charge at the same time. There are two dedicated parking spots for EVs at this station.
  • City Hall, Inman Street side lot
    This station is open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can charge 1 vehicle with a level 2 charge at a time. 

To find all ChargePoint charging stations, use the ChargePoint locator map.

The Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center also has a map of charging stations made by other manufacturers, as well as Coulomb.

Eversource EV Make Ready Program

Eversource is looking for site hosts to partner with for their EV Make Ready program, which offers to cover the build-out of electrical infrastructure at parking lots to support the eventual installation of electric vehicle charging stations. Follow the link to learn more about the program, who is eligible, and how to apply.

MassEVolves: Public/Private Partnership

MassEVolves is a new state program that encourages and recognizes private sector investments in transportation electrification through electric vehicle awareness campaigns and electric vehicle charging programs. It will support companies in achieving their ZEV aspirations by providing information resources, sharing relevant experiences and, when appropriate, mentoring others.

Environmental Advantages of EV

The city encourages residents and employees to walk, bike, ride public transit, and carpool rather than driving alone. These are all environmentally better choices than driving alone. But if you drive alone, electric vehicle technology is an improvement over the internal combustion engine (ICE).


Battery electric vehicles do not emit any pollution at the tailpipe. However, because most EVs will recharge their batteries from the regional power grid, there are emissions associated with the production of electricity. How the electricity that supplies the grid is produced determines the environmental footprint of electric vehicles.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, EVs can emit up to 99 percent less conventional air pollution than ICE vehicles even when charging from the grid. EVs can emit up to 70 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than ICE vehicles. If an EV is charged from renewable sources such as solar or wind, then zero emissions result.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) have both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. When they are running on the electric motor, they do not emit pollution at the tailpipe. But when the ICE takes over or recharges the battery, pollutants are emitted.


Electric vehicles are more efficient than vehicles with internal combustion engines. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, electric motors convert 75% of the chemical energy from the battery to power the wheels—internal combustion engines only convert 20% of the energy stored in gasoline.


Electric vehicles are simpler and cheaper to maintain than ICE vehicles. EVs do not need regular oil changes.


Electric vehicles are better-suited for urban driving compared to internal combustion engines. They provide a smoother, quieter ride and stronger acceleration in the stop-and-go traffic of cities.


For More Information

For more information, contact Bronwyn Cooke, bcooke@cambridgema.gov, 617/349-4604.