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Electric Vehicle Research

Is Now the Right Time to Buy an Electric Car?

 

Is now the right time to buy an electric car was the question on my mind back in 2018. When we were looking to buy a new car back then, there were reports of Tesla running out of cash. The company’s future was in question. In 2018, Tesla qualified for the federal tax credit, plus California, and our local utility offered additional cash rebates.

On top of that, it was uncertain if electric cars were a fad or the future of automobiles. Ultimately we switched and bought an electric vehicle and added a second one months later to become 100% electric.

Since 2018 a lot has changed in the world of electric cars. Tesla’s stock as a company took off and surpassed Facebook to become the fifth most valuable company in the S&P 500. The question is, now the right time to buy an electric car? I believe now is a great time to buy an electric vehicle. I will walk you through the considerations to think about when drawing to your own conclusion.

 

Electric Cars Save Money

Electric Driver 2021 Ford Mustang March E page
Electric Driver vehicle page showing affordability of 2021 Mustang March E

When I was researching buying our first electric car, a question on my mind was how much money do electric cars save you? I came across an article by Loup, an electric vehicle mobility company at the time. The Loup article broke down the cost of owning a $38,900 Tesla Model 3 versus owning a $24,600 Camry. When factoring in fuel cost, taxes financing maintenance, and resale value, to my surprise, the Tesla was the cheaper vehicle to own. Over five years the Tesla was about $5,890 less to fuel and $2,800 less to maintain. On top of that, the Tesla had a higher value of $9,194 than the Camry.

You can read an updated version of the article here. As for our family, we ended up buying an electric car and switching from gas to electric. We went from paying $400 to $500 a month in gas to about $125 a month in electricity. We have also experienced much lower maintenance costs. On average, maintenance for an electric car is half of what it costs to maintain a gas vehicle.

Understanding how much money you can save with a specific electric car is important. Electric Driver has information around expected electricity and maintenance costs for each electric car model based on your location. An example of our cost-to-own breakdown is available for the

 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-e performance edition for your viewing. We calculate electricity costs based on your state electricity prices. We also show you how many electric car chargers are available near your home.

 

Electric Cars Save Time

The time you save owning an electric car is something you have to feel to appreciate. The average American spends around three hours a year pumping gas alone. Add the time spent getting oil changes, regular maintenance service, and lost time adds up quickly. Owning an electric car since 2018, I have regained lost time by freeing myself of trips to the gas station and dealer.

With an electric vehicle, your charging is done at home overnight. As for maintenance electric cars, have fewer components and fewer moving parts than gas-powered cars. Electric cars, therefore, require less frequent maintenance than gas cars. Another time-saving feature has been what is called over-the-air updates. If you own an iPhone or Android device, you have experienced over-the-air updates. These updates can range from the latest version of an operating system to a software fix. Electric Cars have this same ability to update themselves just like your phone. Updates can range from minor fixes to your car, software updates, and in some cases, even performance and range increases to your electric vehicle. Each electric vehicle manufacturer handles what over-the-air updates can do, but they are another valuable time saver. If you want to recapture some of your time back, an electric vehicle can help.

 

Electric Cars are Good for the Environment

Many states in America in 2020 went into Covid lockdown for parts of the year. One of the silverlings of everyone staying at home as we had some of the cleanest air in years. I live near LA, a city known for smog and traffic. The Los Angeles streets were empty, and during the lockdown, we at points had the cleanest air in the world. With America now coming out of Covid and things are slowly returning to normal. Freeways and packed with cars, and air quality and temperatures are rising. We each need to consider how we can make changes to improve the environment.

Electric cars a good for the environment and a definite improvement over gas-powered cars, but they are not perfect. 

The misnomer people have with electric cars is that they create no emissions. While the electric car itself does not create emissions, you create some emissions if you buy electricity from the utility.

Buying electricity shifts emissions from your tailpipe to your utility, but in general, electricity creates fewer emissions than burning gasoline.

 

Electricity from the Utilities Creates Emissions

Each state generates its electricity from different sources and has a different level of emissions. For example, if you were to buy your electricity within California, your power would mostly come from natural gas and renewables. Over a year, using an electric car, you would generate 1.2 tons of emissions. If you were buying electricity in Missouri, which gets most of its power from coal, you would generate 3.67 tons of emissions. Regardless of what state you live in, electric cars create fewer emissions than the 5 tons of emissions a gas car creates. The ideal solution is to buy solar panels and create clean electricity. Electric Driver provides emission information for specific models as well as electric utilities by state. Learn about the environmental impact an electric car can make based on your decisions. With climate change picking up momentum an owning an electric car is a way to lower your emissions.

 

Electric Vehicle Incentives

The federal government gives out an electric vehicle federal tax credit of up to $7,500. In addition, state and electric utilities may also provide additional rebates. When I bought my electric vehicle in 2018, we saw a total of $10,000 in tax credits and rebates from the federal, state, and my utility provider. Inquire to see what you are state and utility are offering in your area. Keep in mind the Federal tax credits are limited to the first 200,000 electric vehicles each car maker sells.

 

Transitioning to an Electric Vehicle Future

Momentum has been building for electric cars. California’s largest automotive market in the United States passed a bill banning the sale of gas cars by 2035. ten states are also in various stages of making a similar ban on gas cars as well. Makers of gas-powered cars are also making similar changes. General Motors has declared they will be transitioning to become an all-electric car company by 2035, and other carmakers are following General Motors’ lead.

 

Final Thoughts

We hope we address your question of if now is the right time to buy an electric car. For financial, convenience, and environmental reasons alone, we feel that electric vehicles are the way to go. To begin learning more, visit our guide on electric the right electric vehicle or go to Electric Driver if you are ready to dive in.

 

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Electric Vehicle Research

How Much Does it Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

 

How much does it costs to charge an electric car is a question many prospective car buyers have. You probably have a good idea of how much it costs to fill up your tank and how many miles you can drive on a gallon. On the other hand, when it comes to an electric car, you probably have no idea how much it costs to charge an electric car; or how many miles you can travel on a kilowatt of electricity. Understanding what it costs to charge an electric car is easy. Also, keep in mind just like each gas model has its own miles per gallon, the same applies to electric vehicles. There are a few things you need to know as well as a little bit of math. We can cover the basics of charging below.

Battery Capacity

One of the first things you need to understand is the battery capacity. Battery capacity is the electric equivalent to the size of a gas tank. The larger the battery capacity you have, the more kilowatts you can store. Larger battery capacities typically lead to more distance you can cover. Another key point is that electric car batteries are the most expensive car component. So keep in mind that range comes at a premium with electric cars.

Driving Range

The distance you can travel on a fully charged electric battery is another consideration to take. Think driving range as to how far you could drive on a single tank of gas. Like a gas car, the answer depends on how big of a gas tank you have and have fuel-efficient your vehicle is. The larger the electric battery is, the more electricity you have, but the heavy the car becomes, offsetting some of your distance gains. Also, each electric car model has a specific efficiency. For example, our 2018 Tesla Model X can drive 237 miles on a full charge of its 75-kilowatt battery. A new 2021 Audi e-Tron goes 222 miles on a 95-kilowatt battery. The point I am making is a larger battery capacity does not mean a longer distance, as we can see with the e-Tron versus Model x example.

Miles Per Kilowatt

Just like you are used to the idea of miles per gallon of gas, I thought there should be an electric car equivalent. To help, I am introducing the concept of miles per kilowatts for electric cars. The idea here your electric vehicle will travel a certain amount of miles, spending one kilowatt of electricity. Kilowatt per mile will be different for each electric car model as they will have their own efficiency based on their configuration. Take, for example, a 2021 Tesla Model S long Range with a range of 412 on a 100 Kilowatt battery. Dividing the range (412) by the battery capacity of 100 tells us the Model S can travel around four miles per kilowatt of electricity.

Price for Kilowatt of Electricity

Think of electricity prices per kilowatt similar to the price of gas per gallon. Understanding your state utility charges will help you figure out what it will cost to fill up your battery. Say, in California, the price of a kilowatt of electricity is 22 cents. Filling up a 100-kilowatt battery would cost 22 dollars. Now keep in mind, electricity pricing will vary based on what state you are in, along with what time you buy electricity. Buying electricity late at night tends to be cheaper. Also, some utility has time-of-use programs where they charger lower rates in exchange for charging at specific times.If you own solar panels, you can create your electricity which is the ideal option.

Electric Driver 2021 Ford Mustang March E page
Electric Driver vehicle page showing affordability of 2021 Mustang March E

Weather Impacts on Driving Range

The temperature can have adverse impacts on how many miles you can travel on a kilowatt of electricity. With snow and hot temperates of 95 degrees or greater, you can see a decrease in the overall distance your electric car can travel on a single charge. The decline varies based on temperate, weight, and your specific model of the electric vehicle. AAA states they have seen driving range reductions of up to 40%. However, in my experience of driving in snow and 100-degree heat, I have only seen about a 20% reduction in driving range.

Most of your Charging Happens Overnight at Home

Most of your driving will typically take place around 50 miles a day. Since most electric batteries are now edging over 200 miles and on a single charge, people charge at home overnight. Charging at home saves you money and time as all your driving is seamless, with no stops at a gas station or charging bay to refuel. However, there are some upfront costs associated with setting up a home electric car charger. First, you will need to purchase a charging station that is compatible with your car. You should get a good electric car charger for about $500 to $1,000 for the hardware. You will also need an electrician to set up the home charger for around $400 to $1,200. Check with your electric utility provider as they may offer incentives or rebates to set up an electric car charger.

Using a Commercial Electric Vehicle Charger Costs More

Most of you charging for your electric car will occur at home. However, if you are taking a long trip or forgot to charge overnight at home, a commercial charging station will be an option. Commercial charging stations will charge you more than your home rates, but the charging station could charge your electric car much faster.

 For example, Electrify America, a commercial vendor in California charges 

Electrify America DC fast charging station in Baker
An Electrify America DC Fast Charging station.

 $.43 per kilowatt-hour to charge your electric vehicle. While the commercial rates can be almost twice the cost of charging at home, electricity will be cheaper than gas.

Electric Driver Is Your Resource for Charging Costs

We hope you have a better understanding of how much does it costs to charge an electric car. You can calculate the charging costs by multiplying the driving range of an electric vehicle by the price per kilowatt. Alternatively, you can visit Electric Driver, where we have compiled all the electric charging and related information on our site based on the specific electric car model and location. Alternatively, If you are looking to learn more about selecting the right electric car, visit our guide.

 

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Electric Vehicle Research

Let’s Meet the Electric Car of Your Dreams

Let’s Meet the Electric Car of your Dreams

 

The road to finding the electric car of your dreams.“Let’s Meet the Electric Car of your Dreams” That right there is the tagline slathered across our homepage (at least at the time of this writing.) It’s beautiful and hard to miss. It’s more than just a tagline for us because we’re automotive matchmakers at heart. You may think all of this talk of hearts and dreams is a bit far-fetched, but we know buying a car is an emotional decision as much as it is a practical one. Still, most of us have to put a bit of that yearning aside to manage kids, trips to visit the family, sports, and the daily commute. So, for this article, I’m just going to talk about how to go about choosing a car based on solid, grown-up decision making, the kind of decision making that has lists, brochures, and maybe a bit of tire kicking. Let’s start searching for the vehicle that’s just right for you. 

 

Don’t Ignore your Triggers

 

The search for a new vehicle is usually due to a trigger event such as: 

  • the arrival of a new family member, an uncle, for instance. Just kidding. We’re talking about babies. When a baby shows up, you’ll likely need more room/seating
  • you have a repair/maintenance estimate that is more than your car is worth
  • you’ve decided your car is going to break down; you want something more reliable
  • you just wrecked your car. Ugh. 

 

Whatever the trigger happens to be, it can tell you a lot about where you should focus your energy in your search for a new car. Think about why you’re shopping for a car right now and make a note of it; that’s your trigger. Triggers are often related to common vehicle-shopping criteria. Real-world trigger events drive shoppers’ desire for better safety, reliability, more seating, enhanced performance, and fuel efficiency. Please don’t ignore your triggers; they’re the root of your car-buying needs.

 

Now that you’ve identified your triggers, here’s how to use them to find the right car for you

  1. find a great place to research cars (Done! You’re here already, good job!)
  2. Make a list of all of your requirements for your new car, starting with the needs based on your triggers. Don’t forget to include less critical items in your lists like sound system or cargo space at the top of the list, prioritize the triggers that have driven you to search for a new car if you can imagine buying a car without one of the top three items on your list, move that item lower on the list. Your top three should be absolute requirements you can’t live without
  3. search for three vehicles that score the highest on those top three items and use objective information to evaluate those vehicles against your entire list of needs and wants. 

 

A Rant about Magazine & Website Editorializing vs. Objective Data

 

We recommend looking at objective data and drawing your own conclusions rather than trusting the subjective opinion of folks like magazine editors or blue-checks on Twitter. Editorial articles and peanut-gallery discussions both fall short because they’re not personalized to your specific needs. Editorial content is likely often filled with subjective information because it’s good for selling magazines. Folks making commentary don’t necessarily share your needs or perspectives. It’s fine to read this stuff, but take it with a grain of salt. Empowering yourself, using facts to evaluate your needs, and drawing your own conclusions based on your research will lead to better results. 

 

Are These the Vehicles we Need or the Vehicles we Deserve?

 

Once you have a few vehicles to compare, try to use as much objective information as possible. No single vehicle is perfect, so you’ll have to make trade-off decisions. For example, a particular vehicle might be the safest option but has lower scores in reliability and cost-to-drive. You’ll have to decide if you can accept those trade-offs if safety is your primary concern. 

 

When doing your research, search for facts and numbers, not opinions. For example, if you are researching vehicle safety, look for crash test ratings to help identify safe vehicles rather than trusting an article about vehicle safety. You should evaluate each vehicle against the items on your list of needs and wants to find a vehicle with the right balance. 

 

Weigh the trade-offs of each vehicle against your criteria. You may find that some of your candidates don’t measure up at all. Dump them, fast. You may find that you have some gut reaction against a vehicle. I say trust that gut feeling. Dump it if it doesn’t feel right. I know, I know, that’s the opposite of objective reasoning, but like I said, emotions play into this too, you shouldn’t completely ignore them. As you remove a vehicle, try to find another vehicle to take its place. Keep your group of cars down to three or so. 

 

Data: Crunched. Criteria: Weighed. Decision: Imminent

 

So, you’ve done the data crunching, weighing, balancing, comparing and contrasting, 

You’ve put in all of this work, but here’s the ultimate irony: it’s time to make a decision based on your feelings. That’s right; it’s ok to make your final choice based on feelings, not numbers. By this point, you’ve likely got three decent candidates that are all pretty close to what you’re looking for. If you really feel like the numbers matter, then trust them and take the top scorer. On the other hand, if you really want car number two because it’s the only one that’s Misty Midnight Charcoal Blue and that’s your favorite color, then choose it. I bet you wouldn’t complain about driving any one of the final three away from the rental company at the airport, so there’s no bad decision at this point. 

 

Enjoy this part of the process. No regrets. Never look back. It’s a big decision, be happy with it. 

 

Obviously… 

 

This is a car search site. You’re probably here because you want a new car. So let’s get to it already! Electric Driver is geared to help you find a car using the research method I just outlined. We’ve made it easy to search and compare vehicles based on your needs. Any time is a good time to get started, so let’s being your research today.  Let’ meet the electric car of your dreams.