Steps to Driving Electric

A 5-Step Guide to help you make the switch to a new EV

The 5-Step Guide to Driving Electric

You’re ready for an EV. You imagine the experience will be different. You’re right. No tailpipes and fewer moving parts means cleaner, more economical cars. Better performance means EVs are a driver’s dream. Special rebates and incentives may lower initial cost by thousands. The list goes on.

Use this 5-step guide along side our EV buying and driving guides.

Step 1

Find the Right EV

With 50 EV models available, there’s an EV for everyone. A battery electric vehicle (BEV) provides 200-300 miles of electric range and the ability for fast charging on the road…all with no tailpipe emissions. A 15 minute charge gets you from San Francisco to Tahoe. Drive round trip to Sacramento without stopping to charge. A PHEV runs on electricity and has a gas tank for much longer road trips. Hear Bay Area drivers talk about their EVs in our EV Tour videos and visit the DCBA Vehicles page to find the EV that’s right for your lifestyle.

Step 2

Save with Rebates, Credits, Incentives, and Preferred Pricing


If you’re concerned about EV sticker prices, consider this: EVs offer up to $11,000 in financial incentives, with additional incentives for income-qualified drivers. Plus, if you buy during one of our EV Discount Campaigns, you can save even more. Use this savings calculator to find your personalized incentives. EVs have a lower life-time cost because electricity is cheaper than gasoline and EVs require very little maintenance. And don’t forget the value of an HOV decal!

Step 3

Charge at Home

When you drive an EV, chances are you’ll be “fueling” at home. To start, simply plug into a standard (120 V) outlet for overnight charging. If you drive long distances daily or want faster charging at home, contact an electrician and use the Home Charging Advisor to decide which charging station is right for you. Remember to upgrade to a clean energy plan from your utility provider. Make sure to ask about “EV Time of Use Rate Plans” which can save you money by charging at off-peak hours.

Step 4

Charge On the Road

Taking a road trip is getting simpler all the time. Thousands of public charging sites (see map) provide fast charging. Using apps like PlugShare, it’s easy to plan a trip and find chargers along the way. Electrify America, EVGo, and ChargePoint all offer app- or card-based stations, making it easy to tap, charge, and go. EVmatch is the Airbnb of electric vehicle (EV) charging. Find and reserve EV chargers or rent out your home or business chargers to increase charging options. Practice charging a few times locally, and then take your first trip!

Step 5

Connect with Ride and Drive Clean

We are here for you. Join us for webinars to learn EV basics, information about our semi-annual Preferred Pricing Campaigns, and to ask questions. You can also ask questions on the DCBA Facebook page where other EV drivers share their experiences or email us at [email protected].

Our EV Guides

Need this info at your fingertips? Download our PDF guides:

Buying or leasing an EV? There are many things to consider including whether to buy new or used, what range you’ll need, and more. We’ve developed an EV New Buyer Checklist to take out the guesswork.

Our comprehensive Buying and Driving Guide is a source of all things EV – buying your first vehicle, incentives, planning a road trip, home energy plans, and much, much more.

Our brief Quickstart Guide helps you transition from novice to expert as soon as you get behind the wheel of your new EV.

View all our guides conveniently in one place.