Many consumers want to shift to more sustainable technology and reduce their carbon footprint, and electric vehicle manufacturers are capitalizing on this by creating newer and more affordable electric cars. If you’re in the market for an electric vehicle, you have many options at your fingertips. However, thanks to the abundance of options, navigating the electric vehicle landscape looks intimidating. We’re here to break down the process and benefits of buying an electric car, so you can decide if going electric is right for you.
Different Types of Electric Cars
There are currently three different types of electric vehicles on the market, and some of them combine a gas-powered engine with an electric battery.
Battery Electric Vehicles
Battery electric vehicles, or simply electric vehicles, are what most consumers think of when picturing a standard electric vehicle. Electric vehicles use battery-powered electric motors instead of the standard internal combustion engine. Electric vehicles don’t use fossil fuels, emit any exhaust, or use liquid fuel parts, such as a fuel pump, fuel line, or fuel tank. When an electric vehicle accelerates, electricity from the battery pack flows into the motor. The battery pack in an electric car needs to be plugged into a wall outlet or charging station to charge.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are a combination of an electric car and a traditional fuel-powered car. They use a traditional engine and a battery pack to generate power. Like a completely electric vehicle, the car’s battery is charged using an outlet or charging station. Once the battery is depleted, the car starts using its internal combustion engine and regular fuel. Plug-in hybrids use smaller batteries than a pure electric vehicle, but nightly charging will give you a good amount of range before the car switches to gas.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Like plug-in hybrids, hybrid electric vehicles contain a gasoline-powered engine and an electric battery. However, unlike plug-in hybrids, regular hybrid vehicles cannot be plugged in. The electric battery is charged via regenerative braking and the internal combustion engine. The addition of the electric battery gives hybrids a better fuel economy.
Electric Car Benefits
There are many benefits and incentives for drivers who choose to go electric, including:
The federal tax credit. Drivers who purchase an alternative-energy vehicle are eligible for a government-issued tax credit of up to $7,500. If you’re leasing the car, the manufacturer receives the credit but has the option of bundling it into your monthly payments.
State and local incentives. Depending on where you live, your state government might also offer incentives for electric car owners, including free parking, carpool access, and a tax credit for installing a home charging station.
Lower fuel and maintenance costs. Saving money on gas is one of the biggest perks of buying electric. In some states, charging an electric car is around 50% cheaper than fueling an equivalent gas-powered car. Electric cars also have fewer parts and require less maintenance overall.
Lower environmental impact. Powering vehicles using electricity instead of petroleum gasoline reduces the number of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants in the environment.
Is an Electric Vehicle Right for You?
While the above benefits are available to electric vehicle owners, electric vehicles aren’t suitable for every driver depending on their lifestyle. The following factors are worth taking into consideration before making your purchase.
Manufacturers are always improving upon their electric vehicles by extending their range, or the distance an electric vehicle can travel before running out of battery power. Most electric vehicles have a range of at least 200 miles, which is still considerably shorter than the typical 400-500 miles for gasoline-powered cars. However, this usually isn’t a problem for drivers who charge regularly and don’t drive long distances. If you’re planning to road trip in your electric vehicle, you might have to map out charging stations along your route. Since electric cars and hybrids are newer than traditional cars, charging stations aren’t as common as gas pumps.
While most drivers charge their vehicle overnight, this isn’t realistic for drivers who live in apartment buildings or lack off-street parking access. If you can’t charge overnight, you’ll need to charge at work or at a public charging station. Charging times vary depending on your vehicle’s battery size and range. Charging an electric vehicle at a public station usually takes between 25 to 60 minutes. This can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of owning an electric car, as refueling at a gas pump only takes a few minutes. Charging your vehicle overnight with a standard at-home charger takes roughly ten hours. Other factors, like inclement weather and rocky terrain, can affect your battery life and require additional charging.
Now that you know the benefits of buying an electric car, you can decide if going the electric or traditional route is right for you. If you’re thinking about buying an electric vehicle, you’re going to need quality insurance before you take that first ride. The General believes that everyone deserves quality coverage and five-star customer service. You can get a quote in two minutes or less, or read more articles about buying a car on our blog.