As technological advancements continue to encompass every aspect of our lives, people are turning towards more sustainable transportation resources. Global warming has taken the world by storm, and if everyone doesn’t make the collective effort to reduce their carbon footprint, the world as we know it will crumble around us.
Consider, for instance, electric cars. They’re getting cheaper, don’t require gas, and help shrink greenhouse gas emissions. It’s no surprise then that, according to statistics, electric vehicle sales have increased tremendously in the past decade. Keep reading as we explain everything you need to know before buying an electric car.
Plug-in Hybrid Vs. Full EV
Although a standard hybrid (HEV) runs on a gasoline engine working in tandem with a small battery, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) relies on its battery alone for a specific number of miles before the engine kicks in to help. Unless you plug your PHEV in, it will operate like a conventional hybrid with a trade-off between the motor and battery. If you charge your plug-in hybrid, you can reap the benefits of battery-only driving, albeit for short distances, but you also don’t have to. In contrast, a full EV is solely powered by its battery and requires regular charging.
Before you purchase an electric car, you should compare its cost with a regular car’s. While prices are falling, electric cars still aren’t cheap. EVs still sell at around $55,600, which is much higher than the industry median, and PHEVs fall somewhere in the middle, costing about $46,000. You might even have to pay up to $7500 in federal tax credits on top of state or city credits and additional rebates for some electric cars.
However, it would help to think long-term by considering factors such as how much you drive, car make and model, maintenance costs, electricity and gas prices where you live, or when and where you’ll charge your EV. For example, it’s much more likely to have lower energy costs with an electric car than a conventional one in the long run.
Charging at Home
Whether you can use public charging stations to ensure your EV’s battery is full depends on where you live. Still, many electric car owners claim that installing a charger at home is much more convenient and easy to manage. Rather than going through the misery of waiting at a station, you can charge it while it’s parked in your driveway or garage and you’re busy doing something else. We recommended investing in a Solar-powered EV charging station.
Unfortunately, this option isn’t feasible for individuals living in apartments or those who park in streets or public lots unless they get permission from their landlord or property manager. If you buy a level 1 charger, you can plug it into a standard 120 V outlet, but it will charge your vehicle very slowly. A level 2 charger uses 240V and works much faster, adding a range of 10 or 20 miles for every hour the car is charged. This charger can be installed for a few hundred dollars to $1000, and you can either do it yourself or hire an electrician.
Maintaining Your Vehicle
Just because EVs don’t need frequent oil changes like gas-powered cars doesn’t mean your only task is to charge them and take them for a spin. There are other standard car maintenance issues and functions to attend to, such as changing your wiper blades, regularly inflating and rotating your tires, and keeping an eye on brake pads. Several EV drivers have reported that underinflated tires have considerably affected their car’s range; maintenance matters.
Still, most EVs need to endure maintenance checks much less routinely than conventional cars. You might have to check on batteries and electronics, and of course, situations where things go unexpectedly wrong are entirely different. On the other hand, PHEVs must be maintained just like any other car since they still rely on gas engines and associated fluids.
It’s possible that your neighborhood mechanic isn’t equipped for the job, especially if specialty tools need to be used. As your EV can demand specific service needs, you should find a dealer who knows how to work on your EV model.
Benefits of Electric Cars
Now that you have a good grip on what different electric cars entail and their mechanisms, let’s take a look at why you should buy one.
1. No Tailpipe Emissions
Unlike internal combustion engines, an electric motor significantly limits the spewing of greenhouse gasses and smog-forming pollutants into the atmosphere. However, its local electricity source determines how an EV affects the environment. The net effect is lowest in areas where energy resources are readily available. Generally, an electric car helps to reduce pollution and makes you a responsible citizen looking out for this planet.
2. Lower Maintenance Costs
With an electric car, gone are the days where you had to take in your vehicle for tune-ups and oil changes; there are fewer moving parts, meaning there are lesser chances of car failure and replacement. EVs operate on a simple one-speed transmission and wear-and-tear items, including a clutch, a catalytic converter, a distributor, drive belts, hoses, muffler/tailpipe, plugs, and valves. Typical service visits are based around checking brake pads as well as other components and rotating the tires.
3. Increased Public Charging Stations
As electric cars become more common, the number of EV charging stations has doubled over the last few years. Sure, compared to gas stations, they’re still rare, but it’s a good start. You can now see them around hospitals, office buildings, public parking garages at airports, shopping mall parking lots, and many other locations, depending on where you live.
The most popular type of charging is by the Level 2 chargers plugged into a 240-volt outlet, possessing the ability to completely restore an EV battery within four hours, according to the model. People also use Level 3 DC fast charge, which takes 30 minutes to get a vehicle’s battery capacity back up to 80%- it’s a rarer but quicker alternative.
While the costs of purchasing an electric car can seem challenging, they’re worth your savings. There’s no better time than now to invest in an EV that’ll make your life more straightforward and environmentally friendly. Electric cars are the future, and they’re steadfastly gaining traction worldwide. If you’re considering buying an electric car, check out the new models planned to be released in 2022 before you make a decision.