Buying an Electric Vehicle

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These days, more and more drivers are buying electric vehicles; however, in an electric vehicle for you? Check out some of the pros and cons of purchasing an electric car and pay attention to our shopping tips once it comes time to buy.

What Is an EV?

An electric vehicle (EV or electric car) is one that's powered by an electric motor rather than a gasoline engine. An electric car is equipped with a controller that regulates the power and delivers energy to the electric motor.

NOTE: Don't confuse an electric car with a hybrid vehicle; a hybrid vehicle is gasoline fueled and uses a motor and battery to boost efficiency.

Pros & Cons of Electric Cars

Buying an EV might sound like an impressive, eco-friendly purchase at first, but there are both pros and cons to purchasing electric cars.

Pros

  • Generally, electric cars operate more smoothly than their gas-fueled counterparts.
  • Electric cars produce no tailpipe emissions.
  • Sometimes, you can get a tax break for buying an eco-friendly vehicle such as an electric car.
  • Your utility company might offer a discount for using electricity to charge an electric car.
  • Overall, an electric car requires less maintenance because it has fewer moving parts.
  • You can take advantage of HOV lanes when driving on the highway.

Cons

  • Your EV will have a limited driving range before you'll need to recharge it.
    • Of course, this is similar to gasoline-powered vehicles; however, to date, gas stations are more common in most parts of the country than are electric car recharging stations.
  • Depending on the electric car and the charging station, charging time could be lengthy.
  • Charging your EV at home could significantly increase your electricity bill.
    • However, depending on how frequently you drive, paying for gasoline could have you spending the same amount of—or even more—money.
  • Generally, electric cars cost more to buy than gasoline-powered vehicles.
  • Currently, there aren't as many electric car make and model selections as there are for gasoline-operated cars.
  • As mentioned in Where to Shop for an Electric Car below, not all dealerships carry or can order electric vehicles.
    • This could increase your travel time to have your EV serviced.

Choosing the Right EV

Weighed the pros and cons and decided an EV might be right for you? Now it's time to consider some of these tips for choosing the right electric car:

  • Research the tax incentives.
    • Generally, used electric vehicles bring fewer—if any—tax breaks than new electric cars.
  • Check the warranties.
    • Pay special attention to battery life. If your battery fails prematurely, who's responsible for replacing it?
  • Consider the resale value.
    • Because of factors like tax incentives and battery life, used electric cars might not be as appealing to buyers as new EVs.
  • Factor in charging stations.
    • How easily can you charge your EV? Does your area offer EV charging stations, and/or can you charge your electric car at home?
  • Think about how often/far you drive.
    • Simply put, an electric car isn't ideal for long trips unless EV charging stations are widely available; however, if you have a secondary vehicle for longer journeys, this might not be an issue for you.
  • Shop around.
    • Although electric vehicles tend to cost more than gas-powered vehicles, you might still find great deals by shopping around. Check various dealerships for rebates and other buyer incentives.

Where to Shop for an Electric Car

Many major car manufacturers sell electric cars; however, not every part of the country has picked up on the electric car movement just yet.

Thus, you might have to put some effort in to find a dealership that:

  • Has electric cars in stock or is able to order the one you want.
  • Is close enough that you won't have to travel a great distance to have it serviced.

Of course, as is the case with making any car purchase, make sure you do your research before you head to the dealership.

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