If you’re thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle, answer the following ten questions to make sure it’s a good fit.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of contents
- 1. Where will I charge my electric vehicle?
- 2. How much does electricity cost? Is it worth the savings?
- 3. Is the driving range sufficient?
- 4. Will I take my EV on road trips?
- 5. What’s my budget?
- 6. Am I eligible for incentives or tax credits?
- 7. Will my EV be near Wi-Fi?
- 8. Will I buy or lease?
- 9. How much does insurance cost?
- 10. When will I need to replace the battery?
1. Where will I charge my electric vehicle?
Instead of filling up your tank at the gas station, you’ll charge the vehicle’s battery. Will you charge your EV at home or a public charging station?
The most convenient and cheapest way to charge is at home. However, you’ll need to make sure you have the correct setup.
While you can use a standard 110V wall outlet, it’s best to upgrade to a 240V outlet because it’ll charge faster.
Charging with a 110V outlet is Level 1 charging, and a 240V outlet is Level 2. Level 1 charging can take multiple days to recharge the battery to 100%, while Level 2 charging can get it filled overnight.
To upgrade to Level 2 charging, you can hire a certified electrician. You can have it installed in your garage or outside your home.
2. How much does electricity cost? Is it worth the savings?
Charging an electric vehicle costs less than filling up your car with gas. However, it’s not free because you’re using electricity.
The cost to charge your EV depends on where you live. With electricity, you pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average cost per kWh is 12.69 cents.
To be more specific, find out how much you’re paying per kWh where you live. Then, get information about the battery capacity of your EV of choice.
The cost to charge your EV is determined by multiplying the battery capacity by the cost per kWh.
Charging at home is cheaper than a public charging station and DC Fast Charging.
At public charging stations, the cost can vary depending on location and the network.
Tesla has its Supercharger network and an average price per kWh of 28 cents. You can also go to other networks, such as ChargePoint.
Aside from knowing the cost, you must also compare it to how much you’re paying for gas.
From a financial standpoint, consider whether the savings are worth buying a new car.
According to Consumer Reports, the average savings of EV ownership per year is between $6,000 to $10,000. For gas, you’re looking at $800 to $1,000 of savings.
3. Is the driving range sufficient?
How far can the vehicle drive on a single charge? Many of the electric vehicles on the market have a range of 200 miles or more.
While it’s not common to drive 200 miles per day, having more driving range gives you peace of mind.
The most common scenario is to drive the vehicle to work and leave it to charge overnight. If your EV has more than 200 miles of range, you won’t have to worry about not making it to work or back home.
Also, note that the range that automakers list is an EPA-estimated range. The actual driving range depends on how you drive, road conditions, and weather.
4. Will I take my EV on road trips?
Before deciding on the vehicle, consider whether or not you’ll take road trips or go on long drives.
Aside from having a lot of range, you must be able to charge it along the way.
Figure out which public charging stations you’ll have access to and if the EV can use DC Fast Charging.
The perfect EV will have access to plenty of charging stations. It’ll ensure you have many options regardless of where you drive.
Also, determine how long it takes to recharge the battery with a fast charger. It’ll tell you how long you’ll need to wait before getting back on the road.
5. What’s my budget?
Your budget will determine your options. The cheapest new EV is the 2022 MINI Cooper SE Electric Hardtop 2 Door, which is just under $30,000.
Related: The cheapest electric vehicles
If you’re in the market for a new car and have a budget that’s less than $30,000, a new EV isn’t the right choice. You may be able to find a used one for less.
Another option is to wait. As automakers find ways to reduce the costs for manufacturing an EV, the price may decrease, especially if they become more common.
6. Am I eligible for incentives or tax credits?
In the United States, there are incentives and tax credits at the federal and state level. Currently, there’s a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for purchasing a new EV.
The tax credit only applies if you owe the IRS money after filing your income tax return. If you owe less than $7,500, you’ll receive a credit in the amount you owe. If you don’t owe anything, you won’t get anything.
It’s also important to know that the automaker you purchase from must have sold less than 200,000 electric vehicles.
Under the current regulations, General Motors and Tesla aren’t eligible for the credit because they’ve surpassed 200,000 EV sales.
Aside from a federal tax credit, states and utility companies offer incentives for buying a new EV. Check with your state or utility company to see if you’re eligible for any.
7. Will my EV be near Wi-Fi?
It may seem like an odd question. However, you’ll need to make sure the vehicle is near Wi-Fi for software updates.
Whenever an automaker releases new features or needs to update something, they’ll send over-the-air updates.
You’ll receive a notification and can schedule a time for the vehicle to update. You won’t be able to drive during the update, which means you need to plan for it.
The update can take 20 minutes to several hours. You’ll find out when the automaker sends the notification.
Since software updates are a part of EV ownership, figure out where you’ll be able to update the vehicle.
If you park the vehicle in an underground garage without a Wi-Fi connection, you’ll need to find a place for updates.
You can go to a friend’s house, a coffee shop, your workplace, or anywhere else with Wi-Fi.
8. Will I buy or lease?
Deciding whether to buy or lease an EV is an important decision. With technology rapidly improving, some features aren’t able to be upgraded with a software update.
If you buy an EV for $50,000, it may be outdated within a few years. There’s a good chance that an EV with better performance, range and design will be available for the same price or cheaper.
With a lease, you’ll return the car after the term ends. However, you’ll make payments that don’t go towards owning the vehicle. It’s like renting a car.
There are pros and cons for both methods of financing an EV. Think about your financial situation, how long you plan to keep the vehicle, and how crucial cutting-edge technology is to you.
9. How much does insurance cost?
Insurance for an electric vehicle may cost more expensive than gas-powered vehicles. An EV has a higher price tag and is more complex.
While an EV has fewer moving parts, typically, it costs more to repair or replace.
Driving an EV doesn’t mean you’re a risky driver. It costs more to insure because it’s a greater liability for the insurance company.
Having a clean driving record is the best way to reduce your insurance premium.
However, be prepared to pay more for insurance than what you pay for a gas-powered car.
10. When will I need to replace the battery?
Most EV batteries can last up to 10 years. While the maintenance costs are less for electric vehicles, the replacement battery can be expensive.
On average, a new battery can cost between $5,000 and $15,000. It depends on the automaker, capacity, and labor costs.
If you’re buying a new EV, you won’t have to worry about replacing the battery. It’s important to consider when you’re buying a used one.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of EV Unleashed, the leading resource for electric vehicle news, reviews, and buyer’s guides. He launched EV Unleashed to provide unbiased and in-depth news and reviews about electric vehicles and the EV industry.