Automotive

5 Things To Consider Before Buying An Electric Car

There are 1.2 billion vehicles that exist worldwide today, and nearly all of them consume a form of gasoline or fossil fuels to power up. We are all incredibly familiar with petrol and diesel-powered cars.

They’ve been a part of nearly every person’s life in the developed world now for decades and decades, but the age of fossil fuel-powered cars is likely coming to an end a lot sooner than many of us would like to believe.

Especially, in the last few years, they have been some crucial developments regarding international cases, and right before that, the global health pandemic caused a lot of changes to the world we all used to know. One of these major changes is the big increase in fuel/gas prices that even countries with immense oil reserves suffered from this issue.

With the growing demand for electric cars, new electric models keep coming like Tesla model s, Audi e-Tron, and the Mercedes EQS.

And many of the electric vehicles you can buy right now are among the most cutting-edge passenger vehicles ever sold, capable of doing everything, and the same for gasoline vehicles. But buying a car is a major financial decision.

So, you want to be sure you make the right choice on your future next car, and switching over from something you’re used to, to something that’s all-electric can be quite intimidating. in this article, we’re going to focus on five major aspects of that buying decision:

1- Cost
2- Convenience
3- Charging
4- Driving
5- Environment ( this might get a bit controversial with electric cars)

Here’s how you should think about whether an electric vehicle or not is right for you.

Total Cost of Car Ownership

First of all, let’s talk about perhaps the biggest deciding factor in buying a new vehicle cost. It’s a complicated subject, but there’s a pretty simple summary; if you’re purchasing a new electric car, it’s going to tend to be more expensive; this is for several reasons:

– A higher initial purchase price.
– Potentially higher insurance rates.
– Potentially heavy depreciation.

So is it a massive difference? Not necessarily, we did a small experiment, and we plugged in the numbers for a Hyundai Ioniq: hybrid, plug-in, And fully electric model.

With the total amount spent on the car insurance for which we quoted for each vehicle, fuel, and electricity, we end up with the plug-in offering the best overall cost over five years.

All prices are in British Pound and Euro, and they are accurate in the United Kingdom and most European countries.

The table below shows the result of our experiment with more details:

For the fuel we assume 12,000 miles/yr, Gas 6£/gal (7.5€/Gal), E= 0.1£/kWh ( 0.25€/kWh, and 80% Charging efficiency). So The Hybrid ( Plug-in ) is £2.2k Cheaper, ignoring the taxes incentives.

/HybridPlug-inElectric
MSRP£18,066 | 21194€£20,636 | 24,211€£25,732 | 30,194€
Taxes Incentives/-£3,537 | -4,150€– £5,840 | 6,857€
Insurance Per Year£860 | 1008€£860 | 1008€£860 | 1008€
Fuel / Energy Per Year£1320 | 1548€£1081 | 1268€£796 | 933€
5 Year Total£28,206 | 33,098€£26,114 | 30,640€£29,439 | 34,542€

Also, comparing the five-year cost of ownership which includes factors like depreciation, fees, and maintenance and repairs, reveals the plug-in is the cheapest to own. However, the fully electric car is only about seven hundred pounds more over five years versus the gasoline car.

Vehicle Type5 Years Total Cost
Hybrid£31,058 | 36,440€
Electric£31,787 (+£702) | 37,291€ (+823€)
Plug-in£28,103 (-£2,982) | 32,974€ (-3,506€)

So realistically, because of the low maintenance and energy costs of running an electric car. They can be quite similar in cost to a combustion car if purchased new, but what about used cars.

Well, here’s where the advantage can often switch to electric cars, and often this is due to depreciation.

For example, let’s say you have thirteen thousand pounds (€15,000) to spend on a used car. Well, with a quick online search, we found a 2016 Volkswagen e-golf with only 20,000 miles on it. Another quick search: We find a powered 2016 golf for nearly £13,000 (€15,000) but with 40,000 miles on it.

You might be concerned that the e-golf is used. The battery might fail, and that’s a fair point and our recommendation unless you’re getting a great deal. If you’re going to buy an electric car used, it makes a lot of sense to buy one on warranty. In the case of our 2016 e-golf, the car has an eight-year or 100,000-mile battery warranty. So we know we have at least four years or 80,000 miles of battery remaining absolute worst case.

On the other hand, engines can fail, and gasoline-powered golf only has one year or 20,000 miles of warranty remaining.

But let’s assume both cars are trouble-free for four years. Well over four years, the e-golf will save about eighteen hundred pounds which is significant.

A few factors can change this number significantly the more miles you put on your car. If you’re driving well over 12,000 miles a year in your car, you’re gonna see more savings going electric. If you don’t put many miles on your car, it may end up being cheaper remaining with gas.

But if fuel costs are low, our golf scenario is a wash if gas is at two pounds a gallon; if your current vehicle has terrible gas mileage, switching over to electric can have huge benefits.

So ultimately, which option will be cheaper depends on many factors. You’ll have to look at your situation to know what’s best given all of the parameters that may affect your total cost of ownership.

Should You Buy An Electric Car Based On Cost?

Yes
+ Buying Used
+ Maintenance
+ Energy Costs
+ Local Tax Incentives

No
– High MSRP ( New)
– Lox Mileage Driving
– If Energy Costs- > Fuel Costs
– Higher Insurance Costs
– Higher Registration Fees

Convenience and Reliability

If you are a smart person, you already know that cost is not everything in purchasing a vehicle. If cost was the only thing people looked at when buying a new car, no luxury brands would exist.

Someone who has experience with cars will believe that if you’re going to spend more money on a vehicle, it should be more convenient, you should never spend more for something less convenient and often this is used as an argument against electric cars because if charging an electric car is super-inconvenient, than why would you want to spend more for something that’s less convenient?

But in reality, the argument is exactly the opposite: electric cars can be significantly more convenient given the right circumstances.

Here are the two most critical things to think about:

1. Do you or your family live in a household with more than one car?
2. Do you have a place to charge a car?

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, you’ll often find having an electric car more convenient. If you don’t have a place to charge a car at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t own an electric car, but it’s typically more of a hassle than a gasoline vehicle.

Anything for around-town driving easily up to 200 miles a day is no problem for many electric cars out there, but what about road trips? Well, here’s the thing if you want to drive from one point in the United States to another point, it’s no problem. We drove a tesla model 3 dual motor on a 2,000-mile road trip and didn’t have any issues going point to point.

You’ll spend more time at chargers than you would be pumping gas, but if it’s a rare trip, it’s not a massive sacrifice, and it’s not just Tesla that can do this now the Electrify America Network is allowing a wide range of other electrics out there do the same thing.

Has An Electric Car Charging Point Been Installed At Home?

Having a charger at home, though, you’ll be surprised how quickly you enjoy the switch because every time you leave your home now, you have a full charge. You never have to worry about range anxiety if you’re driving around town from your home, it’s always full every single time you get in your car, and that’s something you don’t realize until you owned it.

What’s annoying is when you get in your gas car and see the fuel is low, you have to add another stop to what you were about to do because you have to fill up the car.

With an electric car, if you have the right charging setup, you never have to worry about the range at all. You’re always full every time you leave your house.

Should You Buy An Electric Car Based On Convenience?

Yes
+ Own multiple cars
+ Can charge at home

No
– Single car family ( Consider Plug-in)
– No Home Charging

Electricity Costs for Charging

Let’s dive a little deeper into charging, as this is often one of the biggest concerns with electric cars. If you have a place to charge at home, a standard outlet can charge at a rate of about four miles per hour.

Four miles of range each hour, and if you come home, you plug in the vehicle. If it sits on the charger for 10 hours overnight, you’ve added 40 miles of range.

That’s not a lot, but it’s enough in many scenarios, and you may find that you often have more than 10 hours a day to let it sit, depending on how you use it.

You can also install a level 2 vehicle charging point which is good for about 30 miles of charging each hour at this rate. No matter how much you drain the battery down during the day, it’s always going to be full the next morning.

The cost of installing an electric vehicle charging point depends on how far away your electrical box is from where you want the outlet to be, and you can expect to pay about $400 if it’s right beside the box, to upward of $1500 if it’s a fairly lengthy complicated install.

The challenge is when your trip is no longer point to point, so you can do it with no problem if you want to get from one spot to another. Still, if you’re driving across the country and you want to hit all the little stops along the way and take back roads and take little side trips and explore along that road trip well, that’s when it starts to take a lot more time investment planning the trip so you can get to chargers where you need to and that’s where it goes back to that convenience factor of not having to worry about it using a gasoline car. It is a much less stressful thing overall.

Can it be done with an electric car? Sure sometimes it can, but it will be significantly less stressful, especially when you start getting out of nowhere.

Should You Buy An Electric Car Based On Charging?

Charging at home is great if you need to move across the country. It’s easy; however, if you’re looking for a road trip vehicle, gasoline cars are still more convenient

Yes
+ Local Driving
+ Average < 200 Miles/Day
+ Moving Across The Country

No
– Road Trips
– “Our There” Exploration

Driving Experience

What about driving an electric car versus driving a gas car? Well, there’s a good number of advantages. Electric cars tend to have a lot of torque, and they tend to have low centers of gravity, meaning most of the weight is down low, so driving an electric car is generally actually quite fun. They’re smooth as many of them don’t have transmissions that shift gears. They’re quiet as there’s no engine noise coming into the cabin.

Enthusiasts may not like this, but your average driver will probably enjoy from a luxury standpoint how quiet the ride is; the rides are often outstanding electric cars tend to be heavier, which isn’t great from a handling perspective, but larger, heavier cars can offer advantages in terms of ride quality.

Another huge advantage to electric cars is being smart; for example, preheat or pre-cool your car right from your phone before entering it. Most plug-in hybrids and electrics will have this feature. Some combustion cars can do it but obviously, only if they’re outside. You wouldn’t want to start one up inside your garage to heat it.

Additionally, you’ll get heat instantly in electric cars that use resistive heat rather than waiting for your engine to warm up and then provide cabin heat like you have to do with gasoline cars.

On the flip side, cold weather climates can also cause electric cars because your heat comes from the battery. Electric cores tend to have significantly less range in cold weather than in warmer areas. Depending on conditions, you could see as much as a 40% drop in range; this also ultimately means your battery won’t last as long if it’s charging and recharging more often due to reduced range from cold weather.

Should You Buy An Electric Car Based On Driving?

So from a driving perspective, you get quick, quiet cars with a solid ride and instant heat. On the flip side, a gas car gives you better range in cold climates, and if you’re into the sound of engines or shifting gears yourself well, those are subjectively fun elements that gasoline cars offer.

Yes
+ Quick
+ Quiet
+ Pre-Heat/Cool

No
– Gas Cars Weigh Less
– Enjoy Engine Noise
– No Manua

Impact On The Environment 

Finally, let’s touch on the environment. Too many folks out there, this isn’t a factor used in their car buying decision. If it’s not a factor that you use, no worries that there’s a lot of misinformation out there.

Often it seems to be used to justify not making the switch over to electric. You’ll hear things like electric cars only run on coal, which is far from the truth if you look at Europe’s energy mix.

Sure, in countries in Eastern Europe, unlike most European countries, most of the electricity comes from coal and oil over 90%. Yet still in Poland, on an annual basis, gasoline power cars emit about 25% more emissions per year versus all-electric cars.

If you look at the total life cycle emissions of a vehicle, including production of the car and battery in exactly zero countries, is a pure combustion engine the option with the least emissions?

Data from 2019 shows a mix of electric plug-ins and gasoline hybrids being the cleanest option depending on the country like Netherlands and United Kingdom, in the other hand, electric cars have the lowest annual emissions by far in most countries while hybrids are only the best in a few regions.

And if power were to come from solar or other cleaner sources, studies show this map would go completely electric, so as the grid improves in emissions, so do electric cars.

In reality, the challenge with emissions with electric cars isn’t the energy source that will continue to improve but rather the size of the battery. The larger the battery, the more material and emissions are associated with creating it. For Example, if you can get a plug-in with 50 miles of range and primarily use the electric portion or get a small battery EV with hundred miles of range long term, it’s more emissions friendly than large battery alternatives; either way, electric wins.

Should You Buy An Electric Car Based On On Emissions?

Yes
+ Better Than Gas
+ Best Option In Many States
+ Improve With Time

No
– Hybrids Best In Some States

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has been helpful to anyone out there potentially looking to make the jump from a combustion car to an electric car. I have driven and had some form of an electric car in my garage for about the past two years, and I quite enjoy them.

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