Things you should know before buying an electric car

Are you thinking about buying an electric car? Like every other important decision, you should put some thought into it before it is dead on arrival. Electric cars have been on the market for a while, especially in metropolitan areas.

At the end of the day, whether you consider buying an electric car or not will depend on how you want to use it, your lifestyle, your willingness to adopt new habits, and your devotion to the environment. Let’s go through 7 essential questions you should ask yourself before taking this big step.

1. What’s the budget you have for buying an electric car?

Even though the operating costs of an EV are substantially lower than those of a vehicle with a conventional internal combustion engine, the price of buying an electric car itself can be much higher. Electric vehicles are typically more pricey than their gasoline or diesel counterparts.

On the other hand, governments have made available some incentives to save money on an electric vehicles. For example, according to FuelEconomy (a government Internet resource that helps make vehicle choices), plug-in hybrid cars and all-electric can apply for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. The tax credit varies depending on the car model, but you can check all the info on this website: Green Cars.

Another great source is the US. Department of Energy, check out the Vehicle Cost Calculator to determine the total costs of buying an electric car and it’s maintenance over the years.

2. How much does it cost to fuel an electric car?

By now, you should know there are more costs when you are buying an electric car than just the purchase prices. You can get the costs for charging your electric vehicle by multiplying the price per kWh times the battery capacity. To make an example, and, based on data from the US Department of Energy:

“An electric vehicle’s fuel efficiency is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 kilometers. The cost per mile is around $0.04 if power is $0.13 per kWh and the vehicle consumes 33 kWh to travel 100 miles. Charging an EV with a 200-mile range (assuming a depleted 66 kWh battery) will cost around $9 if power costs $0.13 per kilowatt-hour..”

If you are plan on buying an electric car, the best option is to stick to a fixed-rate energy plan. But do you know what this means? Well, if you buy an electric vehicle, the chances are that you might be charging it at home. If you are in a variable rate, this means the price per kWh you pay will vary depending on the market.

To put it in easy terms, if you’re in the middle of summer when the electricity demand is high, you will pay much more than in months like October, March. Why? Because since there is more demand, the prices of electricity tend to go up as well. Variable costs are not only a problem depending on the season. If you’re on a variable rate, the cost you are paying per kWh can vary considerably, even within minutes.

So what’s the solution? Just switch to a fixed rate. You can choose one per-kWh cost with fixed rates, get your rate protected, and enjoy the same rate throughout your contract. Fixed electricity rates have one major perk: budgeting around your energy bill becomes predictable and stable. Learn more about the differences between variable and fixed rates in our blog post about it.

3. What do you want to use your electric car for?

One of the first things to consider before buying an electric car is understanding the use you’ll give to it. Why? You must think about whether your daily commute is short or long and compare them with the vehicle’s autonomy – how much distance you can travel without recharging the battery.

On average, regular electric cars have an autonomy that ranges from 150 to up to 300 miles. This autonomy is usually enough for the average of daily urban commutes. But they are very few kilometers if we think about long trips unless you have stations along the way. In that sense, you must consider the time to recharge the battery and the location of the charging stations.

Additionally, the useful life of the battery is different from the warranty period. It depends on the number of charges given to the vehicle, the installation of accessories, and the use of an approved charger. Remember to check out the battery life when buying an electric car. In general, the battery life can be between seven and ten years, depending on the conditions of use. Then, it will lose small percentages of autonomy. The warranty time is five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

4. Do you have a charging plan?

The country’s infrastructure has been changing a lot lately. However, despite the significant improvements in the commercial chargers, you need to have a charging plan before buying an electric car. How does it work?  The ideal is to have a garage or parking space to install a wall box to charge the vehicle. Of course, you can use an electric car without having its own charging point, but it is far from being a convenient solution.

On the one hand, recharging at commercial electric stations or public charging points is usually more expensive than home. If you use them often, they can cause damages to the lifespan of your battery, and let’s be honest, we do not always have one of those points close to home, and if there is, they are packed.

The general recommendation is to install a charging point at home. The most common battery charger is 240 volts and 30 amps (a level 2), which can take 9 to 13 hours to fully charge a battery, although that time depends on battery size, speed, and circuit amperage. Check out the costs of charging an electric car on our blog about it to find out how they work.

5. What kind of electric car is better for you?

And finally, the type of vehicles. Before buying an electric car, you must check the different types of them on the market. Generally speaking, there are three types of electric vehicles:

  • BEVs or Battery Electric Vehicles
  • HEVs or Hybrid Electric Vehicles
  • PHEVs or Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles.

Check out how they work on this short video from the EPA.

Are you an EV owner? Or are you planning on buying an electric car soon? Feel free to share your experience on how you prepare for it, the tips and tricks you’ve found along the way. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to stay up-to-date with all our latest posts!