Electric vehicles represent the latest and greatest in automotive advancements, and they’re getting better every year. But as with any up-and-coming technology, there are also some tradeoffs you should keep in mind before you buy an electric car. We’ve assembled some of the most common pros and cons compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles.
Pro: No More Gasoline
For many people, ditching gasoline is plenty enough reason to go electric. It’s the most obvious of ways to save money with an EV, with a much lower cost per mile—regardless of whether you charge at home or at a public charging station. According to Consumer Reports, the average EV owner can save $800 to $1,000 each year on fuel costs alone. There are other side benefits to a vehicle that doesn’t run on gasoline. EVs are driven by an electric motor and battery, which means fewer moving parts for mechanics to worry about. Historically, that means less maintenance for powertrain-related components. You won’t have to worry about replacing your oil or transmission fluid, so you can expect to spend less time at the dealer and less money on maintenance.
Con: Finding a Charging Station
Have access to a charging station where you live or work? You may not need to think much about finding a place to plug in, especially when it comes to your daily commute. But you may also want to take the occasional road trip or run a few errands. When you’re low on battery, you’ll need to find a public charging station. That can take some planning and coordination. Especially compared to the early days of electric vehicles, it’s now easier to find a charging station. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you may already be used to seeing stations around town. Other areas may have fewer charging stations, so it’s smart to plan ahead if you’re driving long distances. We recommend using an app like PlugShare, which can help you find charging stations near you or along your intended route.
Pro: Lower Carbon Footprint
Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions and play a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions produced from transportation. And with new vehicles such as the Hummer EV and Ford Mustang Mach-E, you can find EVs in more shapes and sizes than ever. You can go even further if your home is powered by renewable energy. Solar panels are becoming increasingly affordable and efficient, making them a perfect pairing for EV owners. It’s true that building a vehicle produces emission, regardless of whether it’s powered by gas or electricity. Buying used is a great way to help offset any product’s carbon debt, which helps give it a second life. It’s certainly applicable to cars, and there are plenty of used and certified pre-owned electric vehicles to choose from. And if you’re worried about the battery, know that most automakers provide a warranty of at least 8 years or 100,000 miles.
Con: Slower to Charge
Filling up a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle takes just a few minutes at the pump, assuming you don’t have to wait in line. In comparison, electric vehicles are much slower to charge. The most commonly found Level 2 chargers provide up to 20 miles of range every hour spent charging. That may be acceptable if you’re at work or at dinner, but it may be challenging if you’re in a hurry. While slower charging speeds can be a downside to EV ownership, technology is advancing quickly and narrowing the gap. Most modern electric vehicles sold today are compatible with DC Fast Charging, which can provide up to 80 miles of range for every 20 minutes the vehicle is plugged in. These public stations are designed to provide fast speeds until the battery has reached 80% capacity, which helps limit degradation.
Pro: Tax Credits, Rebates and More
The perks of driving an electric vehicle run deep. When you buy new, you may qualify for federal tax credits of up to $7,500, assuming the automaker hasn’t already sold 200,000 vehicles across their lineup. You may also qualify for state rebates, ranging from $500 to $5,000. So while you may spend more at the dealership, there are plenty of ways to lower the overall cost of ownership. In addition to these savings, your state may offer other incentives that make life on the road a little easier. That includes HOV lane access and exemption from emissions testing. Also, some utility companies offer rebates with the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle. This could help offset the price of installing a charging station in your home, which can otherwise be cost prohibitive.
Con: Higher Initial Costs
While electric vehicles are quickly becoming more affordable, they are still priced at a premium compared to their gasoline counterparts. You may make up for it by driving on electricity instead of fuel, and the average MSRP of electric vehicles is getting lower each year. But today, there’s no denying that the sticker price of an EV can make it a less compelling option. Working with a tight budget? Used electric vehicles can offer an incredible value, with many options available at a fraction of their original MSRP. This includes first-generation EVs such as the Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e and BMW i3, which offer more limited range compared to modern examples. But if you just need something to handle commutes and short trips, going pre-owned can be the perfect gateway into an electrified lifestyle.
Thinking About Going Electric?
Electric vehicles are steadily becoming mainstream, and automakers are committing to building more of them across the board. We’re always keeping tabs on the best electric cars and best electric SUVs available today. And when you’re ready to buy, you can use the Union Plus Auto Buying service to shop and get an upfront, personalized offer from a Certified Dealer.
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This adaptation of the original article was published by TrueCar.