Buying Your First Electric Car
Electric cars sound like an excellent investment — especially if you have been at the gas pump lately. Not only do they cost less to operate, but they also produce fewer emissions, which is terrific for the planet (and all the creatures that call it home).
In the past, electric vehicles have had a few problems to overcome, including the availability of different vehicle types. Today, more electric cars are available than ever before. There are even several highly stylish options to consider. Now is the perfect time to give electric vehicles a second look if you have been sitting on the fence.
What to Consider
Before you dive in, there are a few important considerations you will need to keep in mind. Electric vehicles are not the right choice for everyone. As you explore your options and try to decide whether electric cars are the best choice for you, take into account the following:
- Access to charging stations. Does your community provide access to publicly available charging stations? Does your employer offer charge stations? Are they always full?
- Ability to charge your car at home. Can you charge your car at home? Will you need special equipment to do so? How quickly can you recharge your car at home? What happens if the power goes out?
- The cost of electricity. The price of electricity varies greatly from one city or state to the next. It is a good idea to know how much electricity costs in your area and how your electrical costs would compare to a gas vehicle.
- Driving distances beyond a full charge. How much do you anticipate driving daily? What kind of range will you need? Will you need this car to go on longer trips from time to time? Most electric cars still have limited ranges. They are not up to the challenge of efficient cross-country journeys just yet.
- Extra taxes for electric and hybrid vehicles. Some states, seeking to recoup lost gas taxes, have placed additional taxes on electric vehicles. Are you prepared for those costs in addition to the purchase price?
- Maintenance. How is maintenance different for electric cars than those that are gas-powered? Considering the cost of batteries alone for electric vehicles ranges between $5,000 and $16,000, it is a good idea to consider other maintenance costs as well.
As you can see, there are quite a few considerations to mull over when deciding if an electric vehicle is an appropriate choice for your driving needs.
With the broader proliferation of electric vehicles in the marketplace, many ownership costs have decreased. While many states are imposing higher taxes on electric car drivers, the fact remains that the broader competition is keeping prices in check.
Plus, there are ways you can bring down the costs even further, including the following:
- Consider buying a used EV instead of buying new. Depreciation is a beast, and buying a used vehicle can mitigate its impact — to some degree.
- Consider a short-term lease rather than buying. This allows you to decide if it is the right choice for you before committing to a major purchase.
- Insurance costs. According to US News, it costs 23 percent more, on average, to insure electric vehicles than gas vehicles. Keep this in mind and plan your finances accordingly. You may justify that by your monthly gas savings.
- Tax credits. Take advantage of tax credits that may be available in your state for buying electric or hybrid cars.
Buying Used vs New
One of the significant drawbacks of purchasing used vehicles for many is the lack of warranty protection, especially for batteries. The average EV covers the battery replacement for up to 100,000 miles, making it a non-issue. Buying used can save money, but some people simply like that “new car smell.”
- Electric vehicles release fewer emissions than gas-powered vehicles.
- Electric vehicles can save a lot of money compared to the costs of gas (depending on electricity costs in your area).
- Tax credits are available to make buying EVs more affordable.
- Some states have levied additional taxes on electric car owners to compensate for their losses in the gas tax.