Washington State Is Not EV Friendly

With my 2016 Zero SR and 2017 BMW i3

About two years ago I was very excited to make the switch to electric vehicles. I did quite a bit of research and I decided to get both an electric motorcycle and a car. I purchased a 2016 Zero SR electric motorcycle in Seattle and I love it — it’s fast (0–60 in 3.3 seconds) and it’s a lot of fun. Zero is an American company and they’re made in the USA. It is very quiet of course so that does make it more dangerous since drivers cannot hear you so extra caution is needed.

For the car I decided to order a Tesla Model 3. I ordered it in May 2016 — estimates at the time were that there were approximately 400,000 orders ahead of me. By early August 2016 I decided I did not want to wait for the Model 3 and I canceled the Tesla and ordered a 2017 BMW i3 from a dealer in Seattle. I got the i3 with every possible option and it was a fun car to drive — the big downside for me is that it is rear wheel drive and it did not get around well in the snow.

I live in Washington state and my typical power bill from Pacific Power ranges between $40 — $100 per month. My Zero SR motorcycle does not make any noticeable difference to my bill but the BMW pushed my bill over $220 a month. I work from home so I don’t drive much at all. Charging the i3 at home cost me more than double what I would spend in gas. When I owned the i3 my city had very few public charging stations and leaving my car somewhere to charge for 4 hours would have been a big inconvenience.

To renew my tabs on the motorcycle it’s $305.75. I have a personalized plate so that totals $72 but the big one is the “Electric Vehicle Registration Renewal” of $150 in addition to the regular “Registration License — Renewal” of $30. So the Washington Department of Licensing is discouraging EV ownership with this $150 fine. I believe there should be a registration discount rather than an extra fee.

On the 2017 BMW i3 I wanted the full electric version rather than the hybrid. The range is rated at 114 miles so driving it across state is extremely unpractical. When using Level 2 chargers on a trip it would be approximately 12 hours of charging for 5 hours of driving!

Needless to say I sold the i3. I tried for 7 months to sell it privately at a big loss — most of the time it was the current year model but I had no takers. In the end I traded it in on a Ford 4x4 truck and took a huge loss — the loss was much greater due to the fact that it was an EV.

I still have my Zero SR motorcycle and love it — other than the absurdly high Washington Department of Licensing renewal.

Ryan Moore is a writer, social media strategist and songwriter. He is @RyanMoore on Twitter, Instagram and Medium.

Ryan has been published at Daily Signal, Orlando Sentinel (2), Des Moines Register, Spokesman Review, Bearing Arms, Yakima Herald-Republic.

Contact Ryan on Twitter or to email Ryan use the email contact form at ryanmoore.com.