As electric vehicles become mainstream and almost every manufacturer releases their version, you might be feeling ready to make the switch. We've all watched fuel prices steadily rise and could do without the regular fillups. Plus, they're good for the environment, and most of them are pretty snazzy. But what should you consider before selecting your first electric vehicle? Here are four key factors.
4 Key Factors to Consider When Buying an Electric Vehicle
A new feature to consider (that you don't have to think about when buying a gas-powered vehicle) is the range of an electric vehicle's battery. How far will you be able to drive on each charge?
Most of today's electric vehicles have a battery range from 100 miles up to 300 miles. The average commute in the U.S. is just over 27 minutes each way, so a 100-mile range would be enough for the average person to make it through most days without recharging mid-day.
However, if you have to run the heater or air conditioner, you can be looking at a substantial drop in range. On a very cold day when temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the range could decrease as much as 41%. Being so, it's important to know how much you'll need to drive each day and how weather impacts range to determine if the vehicle's range will be enough.
2. Cost (With Incentives)
Cost is always a factor when making any purchase, but many electric vehicles come with incentives. When determining your budget, research any applicable incentives you can get. For example, most electric cars currently come with a federal tax credit of $7,500.
However, it's important to note that tax credits only reduce the tax liabilities you owe. If you don't owe any taxes at the end of the year, the credit won't benefit you, as it's non-refundable. Ask your dealer about incentives available with all of the electric vehicles they offer, read the fine print, and be sure to factor them into your decision-making process.
3. Driving Experience
The driving experience in an electric vehicle is going to be quite different than a traditional gas-powered one. First, the car is very quiet. Second, 100% of the vehicle's power is immediately available. Third, there won't be any gearshifts due to the one-speed transmission. And fourth, these vehicles have regenerative braking which can feel more or less obvious depending on the model.
Further, each vehicle will have its own unique set of features and designs. Being that the driving experience will be different from what you're probably used to, it's important to get behind the wheel and test drive a few prospective models. Get a feel for them to see which you like best.
Lastly, charging. How will you charge your vehicle? Are there charging stations along your routes? Additionally, while you can charge your vehicle in about 24 hours using a standard plug, a level 2 circuit (with 240 volts) can cut that time in half. This allows for overnight charging during off-peak hours which can lead to additional savings. Being so, many will want to have an electrician install a 240-volt-line charging station in their garage.
Pros and Cons of Electric Vehicles
Still on the fence about an electric vehicle? Here's a quick rundown of the pros and cons.
Lower long-term costs (electricity is cheaper than gas).
Low maintenance (no oil changes, less wear on brakes, etc.).
Lower carbon footprint.
Tax credits and incentives are often available.
Can use the carpool lane any time.
Limited range due to battery life.
Takes a long time to charge.
Charging station infrastructure is still lacking.
High costs upfront.
Battery replacements are expensive.
Less variety of choices.
May need to install a home charging station.
How Else Can You Cut Down Your Driving Expenses?
Going electric can help you reduce your long-term driving cost but we can help you save even more. At Aceable, we offer online defensive driving courses which can help you get a ticket dismissed or possibly get a discount on your insurance!
Learn more about Aceable's defensive driving online courses.