Electric or hybrid vehicles can be smart additions to eco-friendly lifestyles. Although such cars were once science fiction, electric vehicles are now increasingly more common on roads around the world. Thanks to several mainstream brands offering electric and hybrid models, consumers are more informed than ever before about the benefits of a plugged-in ride.
Still, even with all the information available, some people may be unsure about what owning an electric vehicle means and how to make good decisions when shopping for them. Going electric means thinking beyond the gas station. Here’s how to navigate the ins and outs of electric vehicles.
Type of vehicle: Not all electric vehicles are the same. Hybrid vehicles use a mix of gasoline and electricity and tend to have long fuel ranges. All-electric cars will only use electricity that is obtained through charging the vehicle for a certain period of time and they generally can’t go as far as hybrids.
Affordability: Consumers can expect to pay more for electric and hybrid vehicles than gas-powered vehicles. But as demand increases, costs may drop. According to a report from USA Today, estimates point to electric vehicles being as affordable as gas vehicles by 2021. Another consideration is there may be tax incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle. Speak with a tax professional to see if this apples.
Environmental savings: Electric cars produce no emissions from the tailpipe and reduce dependency on oil-based fuels. Furthermore, electric vehicles will not need oil changes or emissions checks that traditional cars require, which saves money. Electric vehicles can also save on fuel costs, approximately 2 cents per mile compared to 12 cents for gas-fueled vehicles.
Fill-ups: electric vehicles can be charged at home using personal charging kits or at charging stations in the neighborhood. Charge times will depend on the size of the vehicle and its battery. The typical time for an all-electric car using a standard home wall socket is between 6 and 8 hours. Some new electric vehicles can be charged in 30 minutes to an hour at rapid-charging stations..
Solar + electric vehicles = savings: Consumer Reports advises that, when electric vehicles are combined with home solar systems, fuel costs can be completely eliminated. That financial gain can be a big motivator for some.
Short trips: Individuals who travel 80 miles or less per day may find pure electric vehicles advantageous. Those who have to drive further should consider hybrids that offer greater range. However, Tesla, Chevy and Nissan electric vehicles have recently moved beyond the 200-mile range before requiring a charge.
Charging stations: A report from University of Michigan researchers using data from the Department of Energy suggests that in the United States there are now roughly 16,000 public electric vehicle charging stations with about 43,000 connectors.
Electric and hybrid vehicles could be the wave of the future as more people embrace the convenience and savings these cars offer.