An electric vehicle is, very simply, a car that relies on an electric motor rather than a gas or diesel powered one. There is a large battery in the vehicle, and the battery powers the motor to move the vehicle down the road. When the battery runs out, it must be recharged. As with any other car, electric comes with its benefits and challenges.
There are plenty of benefits to buying an electric car, but a few really stand out.
- No Gas – It’s really nice not having to pay for gas, and generally electricity is much more affordable.
- No Emissions – An electric vehicle produces no harmful emissions, which is better for everyone.
- Smooth and Quiet – An electric motor isn’t jerky and doesn’t make much noise at all, making for a much more peaceful driving experience.
- Less Maintenance – An electric motor has fewer moving parts and therefore presents fewer maintenance issues. With no oil to change and no coolant to worry about, keeping an electric car running is much more worry-free.
There is plenty to like about an electric vehicle, but there are some issues posed by getting a battery powered car as well.
- Short Range – Battery technology hasn’t matured enough yet to allow electric vehicles to travel as far as gas-powered. You’ll have to charge it daily, and probably keep your trips shorter than 80 miles.
- Limited Selection – There aren’t that many electric vehicles for sale yet, which means your options are limited if you want to buy an EV.
- Lengthy Recharge Time – Charging a battery isn’t like refilling your car with gasoline; it’s a more time-consuming process. Most cars today take at least a few hours to recharge and the time required is even longer if you don’t have access to a high tech charging station.
- More Expensive – Because of newer technology and more expensive components, electric vehicles are more expensive than gas or diesel models. If you want an electric vehicle, you’ll be spending more to get it.
Use Tax Incentives
Some of the cost of buying electric can be offset by taking advantage of tax incentives. There are federal, state and local incentives available for those willing to buy electric. Make sure you know what incentives are available in your area and that you are taking advantage of as many of them as possible. If you find an incentive attractive enough to convince you to buy electric, don't hesitate. Many of these offers change regularly and are only available for a limited time.
Before buying an electric car, keep in mind your daily commute. Take a look at the advertised driving range of the vehicle before you buy. Depending on where you work, there may be charging stations available, making this consideration less critical. In any case, if you are a fan of the road trip, an EV might not be for you.
Battery Warranties are Important
Tests on the Toyota Prius show that some electric vehicle batteries can last quite a while. However, the battery is often the most expensive, and most fragile part of an electric vehicle. That’s why it’s necessary to ensure that any offered warranties extend to the battery. That way, you know you’ll get plenty of trouble-free use from your EV, even if something does happen to the battery.
As with any car purchase, it is important to shop around. Be sure to check out multiple dealerships; you are likely to find a broad range of prices, even on the same vehicle. Research your options as the difference could be in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Buying an electric vehicle is exciting, but it’s not something that you should rush into. Take your time and make sure you get the right option for you.