Around the world, there’s one trend that’s steadily growing in the auto industry. It seems like every auto manufacturer is investing in the development of electric vehicles. Many drivers don’t realise some of the first cars operated on electric power. General Motors (GM) created a modern version called the EV-1, which it leased out in 1997. The controversial decision to take the EV-1 off the road was even made into the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car.
A vehicle that was once thought to be impossible is now quickly becoming the norm is some parts of the world. If you’re considering making the switch to an electric vehicle (EV) here are pros and cons that should be weighed before you go down to the dealership.
Cons of Owning an Electric Vehicle
There are a lot of upsides to owning an electric vehicle, but no vehicle is perfect. Automakers are significantly improving the technology year after year, but there are still a few downsides to EV ownership.
Increased Electricity Costs
The efficiency of EVs is measured by the number of kilowatt-hours needed to go 100 miles. While it is cheaper than a gallon of gas, charging an electric vehicle will increase your energy bills. An electricity comparison company like Alberta Energy can help you reduce your overall electric costs by providing rate comparisons for deregulated energy areas. The money you save with a lower cost per kilowatt-hour could negate the cost of charging up an electric vehicle.
Upfront Investment for At-Home Charging Equipment
Do you need a full-on charging station to power up your electric vehicle at home? No – but you do need to invest in some essential equipment. As noted by the Department of Energy, an AC Level 1 EVSE and nearby power outlet is all you need to charge up. If you want to charge an EV or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) even faster you’ll have to upgrade to an AC Level 2 charger. No matter what type of charging equipment is installed it must meet federal, state and local regulations.
We’re reaching the point where the first electric vehicles need their batteries replaced. It’s one thing that’s held drivers back from buying electric vehicles. Even though engineers have improved battery life and reduced replacement costs, a new battery will still cost thousands of dollars. Fortunately, Business Insider recently reported that manufacturers are on the cusp of creating much cheaper batteries, which will likely move this factor out of the con category. For example, GM batteries used to cost $400-500 per kilowatt-hour. Today the company’s lithium-ion battery is just $145 per kilowatt-hour.
Finding Power Stations Isn’t Always Easy
Some cities like Austin, TX are heavily investing in public EV charging stations. However, Austin is the exception, not the rule right now. Many local municipalities and states have plans to increase the number of EV charging options, but that is still years away.
More Difficult to Plan Long-Distance Trips
Because of the limited charging stations, taking a seaside excursion or even a car ride to the next major city requires a lot more planning. You’ll need to power up before you leave and find a route with at least a few charging options along the way. If you own a Tesla you’re in luck. The company has strategically positioned its own charging stations so that their drivers are able to take a cross-country trip without gasoline.
Short Driving Range
Another thing that can make long-distance trips difficult is the short driving range of EVs. Most can only go up to 80 miles before they need to be recharged. Here again engineers are making huge improvements. The latest lineup of EVs can go up to 200 miles on a single charge. That’s exceptional right now, but soon it should become the norm.
Pros of Owning an Electric Vehicle
Now that you know the downsides, it’s time to consider the benefits of owning an electric vehicle.
You may spend a little more on electricity, but you’ll spend virtually nothing on gas. With prices hovering around $2.25+ a gallon you should see savings right from the start.
Electric vehicles don’t need oil to run smoothly, and there’s typically less wear and tear on the engine in general.
Better for the Environment
Early EV adopters were concerned more about their eco footprint than saving money on fuel. One undeniable benefit of electric vehicles is they are much cleaner than gas-guzzlers. If your electricity is produced by renewable resources, then your EV is even more eco-friendly.
Incentives and Rebates
When you go electric with your vehicle you can offset some of the cost with incentives and rebates. They vary depending on where you live, but all drivers can take advantage of federal tax breaks for electric vehicles. Depending on the model you buy you can get a tax credit of up to $7,500.