Buying your first electric car can be great, but what can be even greater? The immediate increase on your monthly electric bill if you don’t pay attention to details. Before buying your first electric car, or a specific model, you must understand the benefits and drawbacks, just as you would with any other major purchase. It’s also necessary to understand certain concerns about its cost, maintenance costs, and the economic benefits provided by government agencies, etc.
Electric cars have long been a viable mobility option for many families, particularly in urban areas. However, take a look at the following considerations before buying a vehicle of this type
1. Understand the type of electric car
Before you get overwhelmed with all the battery, zero-emission, hybrid, and electric stuff that come with your first electric car, let’s debrief one important thing: There are really only three types of green cars – at least – for now.
They are still the closest thing to the cars we have known for decades. They use a gasoline engine and an electric motor to make them more efficient. All you need is to fill up your tank and go.
They’re the middle ground. Using a larger battery pack allows the technology to power a car with only electricity over short distances.
Once the battery is depleted, the vehicle reverts to a regular fuel-powered hybrid that recharges its batteries with kinetic energy or with the gasoline engine as a generator. However, it can also be charged by connecting to any compatible station. Depending on driving needs, it is possible to travel using electricity and only wake up the combustion engine on longer trips.
Yes, here is where the wide-known Tesla has come a long way. While battery-powered models were city cars at best due to their limited range, there are several options today that can drive more than 250 miles on a single charge. The infrastructure has also improved and the technology has also advanced. Now you can find electric car stations – much like regular gas stations.
If you’re not sure which option suits better your daily commute and needs, before buying your first electric car, check out the Department of Energy My Plug-in Hybrid Calculator or The University of California, Davis EV Explorer. They’re great options to compare yearly fuel costs and charger Access customized to your needs.
2. Ever heard of battery autonomy?
When buying your first electric car take a look at the battery autonomy. In brief, it refers to the distance your first electric car can drive with one single charge. Generally, when driving at lesser speeds, such as in town, most electric cars can travel more than 200 miles on a 1-time charge. You should be fully aware of your main use of it. Highway driving depletes battery reserves more quickly, resulting in much less range than claimed.
Certain models continue to place a premium on performance over autonomy. Check out for extended-range electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids with a reserve gas tank, they increase the autonomy widely. Before adding an engine to your first electric car, remember that adding it increases the expenses on fuel and engine maintenance, such as oil changes, which aren’t required in a conventional electric car.
Different seasons and altitudes can also affect the autonomy of the battery. In general, you can expect to get from 20% to 30% less battery autonomy because it’s harder for your car to operate. On this cool video you can see a winter test on 20 of the most popular electric cars in Norway, they’re real EVs exposed to extremely real conditions:
3. Be aware of the upfront costs before purchasing your first electric car
If you want to install an electric vehicle charging station, costs can vary from $300 to up to $4,500 depending on the features it’s equipped with. If you want to have an estimate on how much it can cost you can check out this cost calculator, it will give you some estimates on how much you can be paying upfront just to charge your car at home.
Before buying your first electric car, make sure you understand your options. In wide terms, there are three types of charging types:
- Level 1: 120-Volt Outlets
They’re usually included with the car and they can take up to 24 hours to fully charge the battery. This are regular domestic cables, same as the ones you use to plug in your devices.
- Level 2: 240-volt Outlets
One common selection for homeowners. It can be portable or wall-mountable and it charges the vehicle significantly faster. For a regular car it’s charging time can be lowered up to 6 to 8 hours.
- Level 3: Commercial charging stations
They’re used publicly, you can see them in some malls and gas stations. They’re capable of delivering up to 80% of the battery charge in around 20 mins. It is not suitable for all vehicles, and it’s constant use can damage greatly the battery if it’s used too often, but can be a life saver if you’re in a rush.
4. What are the regular costs?
When you buy your first electric car the first thing that comes to your mind is “moving a car using electricity is less expensive than moving it with fuel”, right? Well, this is something that is commonly assumed without diving too far into an issue that is far more complicated than it appears. In fact, the US Department of Energy has established a program that compares the price of a liter of gasoline, dubbed eGallon, in an effort to better understand the issue.
eGallons are in brief, the measuring unit to fuel an electric vehicle with electricity. On this app made by the US Energy department, you can check how much it’s going to cost you to fuel your electric car in your state.
Are you planning on buying your first electric car? Share with us your thoughts on it, and whether you found this article useful. We’re committed to saving you energy and money by bringing you all the information you need to Empower your Energy. Check out our website, to find more information about saving tips, electrical safety tips and all energy-related issues.