The 5 things you need to know before you buy an electric car

white tesla electric car

Since many car manufacturers have pledged to go fully electric over the next decade, you may want to get ahead of the curve. Electric vehicles are already very accessible to the average car buyer and have been around long enough that buying used is also a possibility.

Going with an electric vehicle is not as easy as buying a traditional combustion engine car. We are very familiar with those so we know what to look for. If this is your first time thinking about going electric then there are going to be some things you didn’t realize. In this article, we will go over some of the things you need to know about so you can make your first electric car purchase armed with the right information.

1. Figure out your budget

A new electric car runs the gamut in price from roughly $22,000 to well over six figures. The same is basically true of what you would expect to pay for most traditional cars these days.

Before you can decide on an electric vehicle, you have to determine how much you will be able to spend. Your research can then begin in earnest when you know how much you will be able to spend. Since there are so many electric cars on the market these days, you need to be able to narrow it down.

The best way to go is to look for something in the middle of the pack so you aren’t going with the cheapest car that may not be suitable to your needs. And you really don’t need to spend over $100,000 to get a very good electric car. Something like the Leaf which you can find at Nissan like this Waxahachie Nissan dealer is a great mid priced electric car that gets great reviews.

Tesla corners the market with the cool factor and there is an entire industry based around it but the price is around $40,000 for the Model 3.

2. Understand your mileage needs

The problem that most people seem to have trouble getting over is the range of mileage per charged battery. Many people don’t actually drive as much as they think they do so the range is almost always sufficient for an average day of driving.

Range anxiety is when people are nervous that they are going to run out of battery during their drive. Since most electric vehicles get upwards of 200 miles on a charge, the likelihood of this happening is almost totally void.

Although this range is likely sufficient for your needs, you do need to make a calculation of your driving habits to know for sure. Take into account what your daily commute is like as far as distance. Then, try to imagine the worst case scenario of driving outside of work on a day when you have a lot of driving to do.

You should even consider if you drive far distances on weekends to a second home, or to visit relatives. If your destination is over 100 miles one way then you will have to consider if there will be a way to charge when you arrive.

Keep in mind that the range is not a perfect number. There are factors that can lower your limit. For instance, the higher speed you’ll travel on the highway is going to reduce the number to something much lower than your average range. The cold will also affect your mileage. A cold battery combined with when you have the heater on then it will start to drain the battery giving you about 40% of your normal range. It dips 17% in the summer when you have the air conditioner on.

Try to factor these numbers into what you plan to drive and research the model that best suits your mileage needs.

3. How will you charge it?

As electric cars become more prevalent, there are a greater number of charging stations than ever before. In fact, odds are that your work has a few spots for people to charge their vehicle while at work.

Charging your vehicle will take a certain amount of planning. If you are planning to do a lot of driving after your commute is over then you’ll have to find the closest charging stations to where you plan to be if your work doesn’t have any. Before you buy, try to find where the charging stations are in your area so you can have a plan to charge to increase your daily range.

The charging station at home can simply be your current electrical supply with a special adaptor for your car’s plug. However, it can take up to 24 hours of charging to fill the battery. It’s best to have a 240-volt capacity charger installed so you can have a full charge in less than 8 hours.

4. There will be incentives

You can take advantage of a lot of subsidies from your local, state and federal government as they provide incentives for people to move away from using fossil fuels. You can get up to $7,500 in tax credits if you purchased an electric car in 2010 or later. It does depend on the battery size and how much you owe to the IRS, but that is a sizable chunk of money that helps go toward the purchase price.

Many states and municipalities offer their own incentives, usually in the form of a tax credit as well, so make sure that you are looking into all of your options locally as well as federally.

5. How long do they last?

The batteries are the most vital point of the car and are what will likely become what does your car in at a certain point. How long they last depends on the type of battery and the model of the car but the federal government requires battery manufacturers to provide an 8 year or 100,000 mile warranty for the life of the batteries.

Some car manufacturers do better than that like Hyundai which offers a lifetime warranty on their batteries. Others will replace the batteries if they reach 60% of their recharging capacity rather than wait for a total failure.

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