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Owning an electric vehicle in San Jose

From a Chevy Volt to a Tesla Model Y, Eshan Gupta is all about EVs

Vicky Volvovski
June 4, 2024
A Tesla parked outside Eshan Gupta's home in San Jose

A Tesla parked outside Gupta's home in San Jose

When Eshan Gupta moved to San Jose, California from India in 2017, he knew he needed a car. Looking for the most cost efficient option, he leased a Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid. Not only were the lease terms good ($260/month for a 3 year lease), but there were incentives through the government and Pacific Gas & Electric, his utility, that brought the price down by about 25%. 

He also had free charging at work. “I’d often have 3 month stretches where I didn’t need to pay for charging or fill up my car with gas,” Eshan remembers. That said, the Volt was basic and lacked many features like lane assist or adaptive cruise control, making his commute sometimes feel like a chore.

When the lease was up, Eshan and his wife considered their options. They wanted to upgrade to a crossover instead of a sedan and they wanted the additional features to make driving more pleasant. 

Understanding the economics

There weren’t a lot of crossover EVs or plug-in hybrids on the market in their price range, so they considered a Honda CR-V and a Toyota RAV-4. But then Tesla came out with the Model Y, a small crossover EV priced at ~$45k – about half of what other Tesla models cost.

Eshan did the math. With government tax incentives and the fuel savings of an EV over a gas powered car, Eshan figured out that “the Tesla would break even with the CRV after 2 to 3 years of ownership.” 

Going fully electric

The next hurdle was convincing his wife to go all in on an EV. In 2018, they had a bad experience on a road trip in an EV with Eshan’s friend. Driving from San Jose to Los Angeles, they needed to make multiple stops to charge. 

Eshan did some more research. He learned that the Model Y had an additional 90 mile range, that it charged twice as fast, and that the charging infrastructure had improved since that road trip. “Plus, I’m a better planner than my friend,” Eshan joked.

He convinced her to go all in and they’ve been happy with their purchase, so much so that they’ve convinced Eshan’s parents, who are moving to San Jose soon, to get an EV as well.

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