Electric Cars, Are They For You?

Last updated on March 21st, 2018

>What is an electric car?

Based on its name, electric cars use electrical energy stored in batteries to function. This is in stark contrast to the conventional vehicles, which rely on gasoline or diesel fuel.

Why consider an electric car?

First, an electric car is quiet and very smooth. What surprises most people about the electric car versus the conventional car are its high torques. When one steps on the accelerator, there is power immediately to the wheels.  Second, an electric car offers the convenience of home charging. All you have to do is to plug them into your garage or driveway and it will charge the car batteries.  The next morning, expect it to be fully charged and ready to go another 80 to 100 miles. Third, electric cars incur lower maintenance costs because there is no need for oil changes and other engine work needed for a fuel-powered car.  To maintain an electric car, you just need to rotate your tires and keep them properly inflated – that is it. In addition, if you live in a state where electricity is cheaper than petroleum, driving an electric car will be cheaper to operate. Studies show that the cost per mile to fuel an electric vehicle is approximately one-third to one –quarter the costs of gasoline. Fourth, electric cars help reduce air pollution for they do not emit tailpipe pollutants, as they do not compost fuels.  Examples of tailpipe pollutants include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, and soot.

Finally and more importantly, purchasing an electric car is cheaper because of the federal and state tax credits and insurance discounts offered.  For instance, buyers benefit from a federal tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500, depending on battery size. On the low end of the spectrum, cars with four kWh battery packs for a $2,500 tax credit. The credit maxes out at $7,500 for cars with a 16 kWh battery pack. Some states also offer tax credits, so best that you check with the state where you live. Moreover, several insurance companies offer discounts of 5 percent or more for owners of electric vehicles.

Why not to go on with the purchase?

Now, for the other range of the spectrum, these are the things to consider before settling on an electric car:
First, electric cars have a limited range. As mentioned above, most affordable electric cars only have about 80 to 100 miles. This may sound too many miles but not for long distance commuters.  Hence, if you have a long commute, electric cars are not for you. Given the limited range of the vehicle, you need proper planning for your trips. Proper planning ensures that you still have enough battery charge to get to where you are going and get home (or get to a charging station).  Second, electric cars could also prove to be inconvenient because it takes a long time to charge (usually overnight). Electric cars add 20 to 25 miles an hour of charge. This is minimal compared to adding a few hundred miles in five to ten minutes at a gas station using fuel powered vehicles.  Thirdly, owning an electric car can also lead to big expenses like at-home charging station or replacement batteries. Purchasing any of these could easily set you back a few thousand dollars. Lastly, there are only 20 or so electric vehicles in the market.  Unfortunately, the style of electric vehicles is polarizing – you love it or you hate it. If you hate it, then you can wait a few years, as more automakers will be manufacturing electric vehicles. Eventually, you will find a style that you will like.

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