Is An Electric Car Right for You?
As the global concern for climate change continues to grow, one of the most significant inventions that address the challenge of burning fossil fuels is the production of electric cars — both all-electric vehicles (fully electric cars) and the hybrid type.
Electric vehicles are gaining in popularity worldwide, and there are many compelling reasons to make the switch from regular gasoline cars to electric cars. And it's not just the concern about the environment; other benefits include superior efficiency, less cost of maintenance, cheaper energy costs, and better overall performance.
But before you decide to purchase your first electric car, there are important questions you should answer to determine if owning an electric car is the right thing for you at the moment. So, if you’re thinking about switching to an eco-friendly car, this article answers almost all the important questions there are on electric cars pros and cons.
Read on to learn if you`re missing a thing or two and if buying and owning an electric car is the next right step you need to take.
How Environmentally Friendly Are Electric Vehicles?
Although not all electric vehicles are fully electric cars, they are built to engender clean usage of energy. Today, most people buy electric vehicles not just because they`re fancy or have superb performance on the road, but much mostly because they help to protect the environment.
Fully electric cars have zero tailpipe emissions, however, they’re not 100% emissions-free. The batteries of most electric cars are lithium-based and cost more energy to manufacture than gasoline-powered cars. However, according to studies, all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids emit fewer pollutants than gas-powered vehicles.
What is the Cost of Electric Cars?
The cost of electric cars varies depending on the model and type you want to buy. But they are generally way more expensive than the gasoline equivalents. Prices of most EVs range from $30,000 to $40,000. But with the incentives that some states and the federal government offer (such as federal tax credits), the costs are a bit cheaper.
Anyway, buying the car is usually the first and only point where you spend the most because it is so much cheaper to run and maintain an electric vehicle. You might also have to spend a lot when replacing the battery of your car.
All-electric cars have electric motors and rechargeable batteries, while hybrids are built as a combination of gasoline and electricity, meaning the owners can either use gasoline or electricity to power their vehicles. When the combustion engine is running, it can be used to charge the battery of the electric engine. But All-electric cars have to be fully or partially charged to be used.
Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, can be charged in the same way as all-electric vehicles. The difference is that they also have backup gasoline motors. This takes care of the range anxiety that comes with using fully electric vehicles.
Do EVs Have Enough Range?
The question of how far your EV can travel on a full charge is an extremely important one, especially if you move around a lot. While there are some EVs that have low mileage, most manufacturers make EVs that offer over 200 miles of range on a full charge. At the moment, Tesla is the only electric automaker that produces EVs with over 300 miles of range.
An example is the Tesla Model S, which offers an EPA-rated 402 miles per charge. If you purchase an EV with 200 miles of range, you`ll hardly experience issues with range, but also note that the range may vary irrespective of the EPA`s estimates. Some factors that might impact the range of your EV include speed, your local weather, driving habits, and the car’s climate control.
This means that you should expect a bit less than the car’s EPA estimate, and if you drive over 200 miles daily, you may not get a satisfactory experience using most EVs.
How Far Can I Drive My Electric Car Before It Needs Recharging?
As stated in the preceding section, this depends mostly on your driving habits and your local climate. You can expect between 90 and over 250 miles depending on the model you`re using. If you travel less than 200 miles every day, you don't need to worry about range.
If you intend to do longer trips daily or go on road trips, buying an electric car may not be the best choice for you because charging stations may be hard to find along the road. Additionally, it could take anywhere from 10 minutes to 8 hours to recharge your car, depending on the type of charging station you find. But the good thing is that charging stations are gradually becoming popular everywhere. So if you don`t mind breaking your trips to recharge, then you may purchase an electric car.
Can I Charge My Electric Vehicle at Home?
The convenience of charging your EV at home is one of the most significant advantages it has over the gasoline-powered alternative. After using your car for the day, you can simply pull into your garage, plug in your car, and let it charge over the night. Fortunately, most multi-family dwellings and even single-family homes now allow the installation of home charging stations, thereby making life easier for EV owners.
In fact, some provinces in Canada offer tax rebates for installing a home charging station. You can also install another type of charging station in the parking lot, a type specifically built to withstand tough weather conditions. However, installing a home charging unit requires some special considerations. You can either use a Level 1 or install a Level 2 EV Charger power supply system, but these require the expertise of a professional electrical contractor and — in many cases — strict compliance with local codes and regulations.
Charging with the standard 110-volt wall outlet is possible, only that it takes a longer time. Typically, this type of charging (Level 1 charging ) only adds about 4 miles of range per hour of charging. For faster charging, installing a level 2 EV Charger charging system (a 240-volt outlet, offering about 25 miles of range per hour) would be a better choice.
How Much Does It Cost to Recharge An Electric Car?
The cost of recharging your electric car depends on where you live, as electricity tariffs vary from one region to another. For instance, the cost of electricity in California is 19.79 cents per kilowatt-hour, whereas, in Louisiana, you’ll pay 9.5 cents per kWh. But no matter where it is you live, the average cost of recharging your car throughout the year is so much cheaper compared to what it takes to refuel your gasoline engine.
The fuel cost for a BMW 3 Series, for example, is about 3 times the cost of recharging a Tesla Model 3. But even at that, charging at public charging stations is also more expensive than charging at home, and it's less expensive to recharge overnight and during the weekend than compared to charging at peak times during weekdays. You may need to check with your utility provider to know if they offer off-peak billing. In fact, some utility companies may offer special plans to encourage EV owners.
Incentives for Using EVs
Oh yes, there are tax rebates and special treatments available to owners of electric vehicles, both at federal and state levels. Not all U.S. states offer incentives though. The federal government offers EV owners and manufacturers an annual $7,500 tax credit per vehicle. But this applies only to new and not resold EVs.
And in cases where the title of the car is transferred to another person, even if the person is a family member, the tax credit can’t be claimed. The plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are also eligible for the credit, but it depends on the size of the car’s battery. Another thing is that not all
EVs qualify for tax credits. For instance, Tesla and GM electric vehicles are no longer eligible for the federal government tax credits because they have both exceeded the sales threshold of 200,000 units of electric cars.
Also, you can’t claim the credit if you lease an EV because it is already offered to the original owner of the vehicle — the manufacturer in this case. So they'll usually apply it to the lease discounts. But always find out for yourself if the tax credit is applied to the lease.
How Much Does it Cost to Insure an Electric Car?
Insurance for EVs costs more than for the gas-powered alternative, and it’s simply because EVs cost way more than gas-powered cars. The high cost of EV battery packs for one is a matter of concern for insurance companies because it is one of the most expensive repairs they`ll ever need to cover in an EV.
If you're interested in learning how to charge your electrical vehicle at home, read our another article about CHARGING ELECTRIC VEHICLES AT HOME.
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