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Electric Car Charging Electric Vehicle Maintenance Researching Electric Cars

Electric Car Battery Lifespan: Everything You Need to Know

Electric car batteries can cost thousands of dollars… so how long will they last?

The answer may surprise you, and it could be even more important to know when shopping for used electric vehicles.

What Causes Batteries to Degrade Over Time?

Battery health and battery range are often used to measure the effectiveness of electric car batteries and how they perform. 

Battery range is generally not guaranteed by the manufacturer and can vary drastically based on battery health, environment, driving habits, etc.

On the other hand, battery health or capacity is generally how manufacturers determine if the battery is degrading. 

Charge cycles, environment, and time all contribute to battery degradation over time.

Charge Cycles

The more you charge and discharge the battery, the more it will degrade over time. 

Fast charging can cause even more stress on the battery. This is why manufacturers recommend against unnecessary rapid charging over time. 

Also, letting the battery drop to 0% (or close) and then charging all the way up to 100% will put extra strain on the battery.

Temperature and Environment

Charging at extreme cold or hot temperatures can lead to excessive degradation on electric car batteries over time, and in some cases can void your battery warranty. 

Tesla recommends avoiding temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius or below -30 degrees Celsius for more than 24 hours at a time.  It is even more important to avoid charging the battery for long durations in extremely warm temperatures, if possible.   

Batteries Degrade Over Time

Calendar aging is a common degradation process for Li-ion batteries.  While various types of batteries age over time at different rates, all batteries will degrade over time. 

Environmental conditions like humidity or temperature impact how rapidly the battery health drops over time.  Li-ion batteries generally lose most life early on, and then continue to lose capacity gradually going forward. 

How Long does an Electric Car Battery Last?

Now, knowing that all electric car batteries degrade over time, what do we know about how long EV car batteries last? The real world data we have on EVs is still relatively new, but we know they can last a very long time. 

There are many accounts of people reporting electric vehicles with over 100,000 miles with less than 10% degradation. 

The chart below shows how a Tesla Model S/X battery degrades based on distance driven.

electric_car_battery_lifespan_by_distance_driven

On average, many EVs today can go over 120,000 miles with a 10% or less reduction in battery health.  Some drivers have reported only 2% loss in battery capacity after 50,000 miles driven.

Electric Driver estimates the average person drives 13,476 miles per year.  So, the average person may drive for almost 9 years to accumulate 120,000 miles and see that 10% degradation. 

There are some reported instances of EVs with over 200,000 miles and only seeing a slight battery degradation of around 6%.

Get More Life out of Your EV Battery

Avoid charging or storing in extreme heatExtreme heat takes its toll on lithium-ion batteries and is why many electric cars are equipped with liquid-cooled battery packs. If possible, store your vehicle in a location that does not exceed 70 degrees F, especially while charging. 

Limit fast or rapid charging Excessive use of level 3 charging can cause additional degradation due to how it heats up the battery when charging. But, the impacts on the battery from fast charging is difficult to measure, and varies by the amount of charge cycles.

Avoid depleting battery completely and charging to 100% – Never allow the battery to fully discharge. Regularly depleting most of a battery’s charge will degrade the battery more over time.  Overcharging, or charging to 100% capacity consistently also leads to faster degradation.

Battery Technology is ImprovingMost EVs have some form of protection to help you maintain your battery and avoid overstressing the battery.  For example, not allowing the battery to reach 100% charge, and warnings to prevent battery from dropping to 0%.

Electric Car Battery Warranties

To provide assurance and peace of mind for buyers, the federal government mandates that manufacturers offer a minimum of an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on batteries. Tesla offers an 8 years/150,000-mile warranty on the Model S and Model X. Hyundai offers lifetime coverage.

Many of these warranties only guarantee a battery capacity retention of 70%, so will generally only apply to the rare defects or uncharacteristic degradation.

When will I have to replace the battery in my EV?

You can expect your electric car’s battery to last well over 100,000 miles, if you properly care for your battery, until range might start to become a problem for you. 

Many factors will determine how quickly the battery degrades, but many drivers have gotten several years out of their electric vehicles without paying a cent for gas. 

The odds of your battery failing are extremely rare.  Only about 1% of EV Lithium-ion batteries experience premature failures

How Much Do Electric Car Batteries Cost?

The battery in an electric car is likely the most expensive component of the vehicle.  The cost to replace an EV battery will generally range between $7,000 and $20,000 but is highly dependent on the vehicle. 

The good news is that Li-ion batteries are becoming cheaper every year.  Batteries are priced based on $/kWh, and since 2010, we’ve seen about a 90% drop in cost, and that is expected to continue with an expected cost of $70 kWh by 2050.

electric car batteries cost
Li-ion battery costs have decreased over time

The future is bright for electric car batteries.  Battery technology and protection will only continue to improve, and range and capacity continues to increase. As the affordability of li-ion batteries continues to improve, look for battery ranges to increase as well. Tesla is working on the 1-million-mile battery and  Lucid has announced their 500-mile battery.

Categories
Driving Electric Cars Electric Car Charging

EV Charging Troubles Road on a Long Road Trip

A friend of mine was kind enough to share a road trip where he ran into all kinds of adversity. I hope you find it entertaining and insightful.

the One thing that I do after buying a new car is to take it on a long road trip. So, having recently bought a new electric car (an Audi e-Tron and my first pure BEV), I looked forward to taking it on our annual trip from Southern California to Lake Tahoe, a journey of 470 miles. In preparation for this trip, I planned charging stops using the PlugShare site. To ensure that the trip would go without a hitch (as we would be traveling through sparsely populated areas), I planned for various scenarios several times and even installed the app on my phone. I especially looked forward to this trip as it would allow me to both tests the experience of using an EV for a long drive and the state of the charging infrastructure.

On a hot late-July summer evening my teenage son and I started this trip with about 70% charge. I drove the first leg and our planned first charging stop was about 70 miles away. It went almost as planned and we were able to use the Electrify America station without too much trouble (we did have to switch to a different charger after the first one didn’t work). Twenty minutes later we were on our way. Our next stop was about 2 hours away. My teenage son drove in typical impatient teenager fashion and we were making good time.

By the time we pulled into the Electrify America station, it was around 9 PM and dark already. The desolate station was on an abandoned gas station in the middle of nowhere and the dusty road was only partially paved. As we parked, the red “Charger Unavailable” text on all four chargers made my heart sink.  Using the PlugShare app, I was informed that CalTrans has installed a free charger in the adjacent rest stop (yes!). We drove a few hundred yards to use that high-speed (50 kWh) charger. As we plugged in, the charger would not start. Unplugging and retrying several times yielded the same result. At this point, my stress level was starting to rise.

“Ok, let me call the Electrify America customer service,” I thought to myself.  Luckily someone answered promptly, and a cheerful voice asked how my day was going. After initial pleasantries, I told her the problem with the Electrify America chargers not working, and she helpfully offered to reboot all the chargers. I nervously waited as the machines rebooted through the DOS-like blue screen with white text. A few breathless moments later, the familiar plug-in prompt appeared on the screens. With high hopes, I plugged in as I remained on the phone. Shortly thereafter, the dreaded error screen reappeared, and again and again as I tried all the chargers. After rebooting the machines again and retrying, the service rep told me she didn’t know what the issue was and asked me to look up the closest charger that I could get to with my PlugShare app. I told her that would be about 25 miles of backtrack.  Then she apologized that she couldn’t help me any further and offered a free charging session next time.

So we took the only option left at this point and drove 25 miles back the way we came. This charger belonged to the ChargePoint network and was located in a dimly lit gas station closed for the night, again practically in the middle of nowhere. With a deep sense of dread, I scanned my ChargePoint app, and it prompted me to plugin. Fingers crossed, I plugged in.  Nothing happened: no powering up noise, no charging in progress display. At this point, I was on the verge of panic and about to soil my pants. In one last desperate attempt to charge up, I tried the level 2 charger right next to the 50 kWh charger. After plugging in, I was ecstatic to see the charging in progress display.  That feeling soon dissipated as I realized at this rate, we would need about 8 hours to accumulate enough charge to get to the next planned Electrify America station 123 miles away. But at least we were charging, and stress turned to annoyance.

Let’s try to make the best of this time, we convinced ourselves. Since neither of us was sleepy, we decided to watch Netflix to pass the time (thankfully there was still a reasonable cell signal). After watching our favorite classic sci-fi (Terminator 2) in the arid 90-degree heat, we waxed philosophical and had discussions on different topics for hours (and cheering every time we noticed another 10 miles of range added). I grew drowsy and took a nap as my son watched another movie. Catching glimpses of the near-full moon illuminating thick clouds, I drifted in and out of consciousness as it uncharacteristically drizzled lightly in the high desert.

Slowly but gradually, the sky brightened ever so slightly. Eventually, the eastern expanse turned a drab orange shade, and we went outside to stretch and use the restroom. Two cars pulled into the parking lot, and we chatted with the families—they were on their way camping and decided to stop to let the dogs out for a walk. At a quarter to six, we left the charging station with about an estimated 110 miles of range for our next leg of the trip (I mentally added some miles to the range to compensate for the higher speed my son was driving at as I would be driving now at a slower speed).  Uneventfully we arrived at our next charging stop in exactly the time I thought we would (2 hours), with a 3% charge remaining as we pulled into the charging station.

The chargers didn’t work, but by now we were used to it: a phone call to customer service resolved the issue through a reboot, and we were compensated for our troubles with a free charging session (though the speed never reached the designed 150 kWh/hr rate but at a slower 50 kWh/hr rate).  As this was a bigger town, we went across the street to eat breakfast while the car charged. The next charging stop was also relatively uneventful, and everything just worked at the maximum rate.  Unfortunately, since this was summer fire season, a forest fire blocked our way, and we had to detour an extra 47 miles around. We finally arrived quite exhausted at our destination in the early afternoon. Over the course of our 4-day stay at the hotel, we enjoyed a great benefit of an EV—the free level 2 charging station at the hotel was able to fully replenish the battery every night, and our car was ready to go every morning for a full day of driving around the lake (saving us $120 worth of gas money).

As our vacation ended and on our way home, we did not experience the same traumatic experience with the charging stations. However, none of the charging stops was quite flawless. The first stop took a while to connect due to a volatile cell signal on my phone (which I can’t blame on the charging infrastructure and which could be overcome by using a credit card to pay instead of using the app). The second stop took two tries to find a working charger—but at least we got 150 kWh/hr (which shut off unceremoniously after two minutes, so we tried a second time without any further issues). The third stop was at the station that had given us grief the first night, but now the chargers were working, albeit only at a 30 kWh/hr rate. For the last stop, we also had to try several chargers (entailing moving and reparking the car in different stalls) before finding one that worked, though it said complimentary session (yes!) but only at a 50 kWh/hr rate.

While we were charging, a fellow EV owner came over to ask if everything was OK, and we started chatting about our ownership experience (he owned the same car and was on the first charging stop of his family vacation). He offered the very helpful tip of using the Electrify America app to check the last time someone had used a charger to quickly find a charger that was likely to be working. After that, we arrived home safe and sound.

Audi e-Tron back from long road trip

Reflecting on this experience, I am still a firm believer in EVs. I believe that my experience the first night was probably an outlier and that it was most likely caused by a transformer station somewhere being knocked out by the recent heatwave, therefore, cutting quick charging to chargers belonging to three different networks. Furthermore, we were traveling through a very rural part of the state (that there were no Tesla superchargers for hundreds of miles), and the experience would be different had we traveled through more populated urban centers.  I would still take my EV on another road trip and would not hesitate to buy another EV. The vacation saw a total of 1,600 miles driven, and we averaged 2.7 mi/kWh (or an energy equivalent of 90 mi/gal!) with a very heavy SUV (it weighs over 6,000 pounds with passengers and luggage) through hot California weather requiring the use of AC. The ride quality was exceptionally smooth (no shifting gears) and quiet (no engine noise).  More hotels are now installing free level 2 chargers for their guests, and this amenity really highlights one of EV’s greatest benefits. Ultimately, as with every new experience, driving an EV requires a bit of getting used to and some adaptability.  Additionally, this unique experience afforded me the opportunity to talk to more travelers than I usually would as I speed on my way to my destinations.  Someday far into the future, I hope that my son can look back on this unusual experience and appreciate the time that he got to spend with his dad at the dawn of the EV age and tell this story to his children and their children of how things used to be.

Categories
Electric Vehicle Maintenance

Electric Car Maintenance Saves Time

 

In my last post, I looked into how electric cars save you 13 hours a year by charging at home.  In this blog post, I will explore how electric car maintenance saves time. Speaking from personal experience, we have had no required maintenance in the three years of owning two electric cars.  Electric cars have fewer moving parts, no need for oil changes, and longer cycles between brake changes. Dealers have cited a 35% to 50% decline in service and maintenance.  

Gas-Powered Cars Require Frequent Maintenance 

When I owned my internal combustion car between oil changes,  regular maintenance, and tire care, I got my car services three times per year. Being that most of us work throughout the week, vehicle maintenance occurs during the weekend. Driving to your local service center, dropping your vehicle off, and completing paperwork typically takes about 20 minutes on average.  Services can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to complete. I will assume that for the sake of simplicity, most people will wait for about an hour for the average service. Once the service is complete, it takes you to check out and pay for your service and drive back home. On average, we will say it takes another 20 minutes. Therefore the time you spend to get your vehicle serviced takes about one hour and forty minutes.

That means the three services eat up five hours per year as well a fair amount of expense. So between maintenance and skipping the gas station saves electric car owners an average of 18 hours per year which is quite liberating.

 

Since we have owned our two electric cars for over three years, we have only had two services. Of the two services, only one was required, which was replacing a blown-out tire. In that case, Tesla came to our vehicle can change out our tires. The other service was optional. My wife had to unearth any issues we could fix while still under warranty. We had two more instances outside of maintenance when we found some fit and finish issues with our Teslas. In both cases, Tesla sent a mobile technician to our home to get the issues fixed, which took no time on our part.

 

Over the Air Updates Save Time

One of the other cool time-saving features that have applied a lot of fixes has been over-the-air updates. Just like your smartphone, most electric cars receive software updates over the air. Those software fixes can improve your vehicle range, acceleration, and a whole host of improvements that the carmaker and remotely fix through software. 

 

Beyond less frequent maintenance and charging your electric car at home, there are other ways electric cars save you time and bring convenience to your life. To learn more about what maintenance costs look like and the right electric car based on your needs, visit Electric Driver.

 

 

Categories
Electric Car Charging

How Skipping the Gas Stations Saves You Time

Our family bought a Model X and Model S Tesla in 2018. As a result, my wife and I have not been to a gas station over the past three years. Having owned an automobile that relies on gasoline, the act of driving to the gas station to pump gas became second nature. As a result, we did not need to make our weekly trips to pump gas with electric cars and instead charged our vehicles overnight while we slept. Owning an electric car feels very different because we never really stop to recharge outside of long trips of over 200 miles. That feeling of not having to take weekly trips to get gas or wake up early on the weekend to get an oil change is liberating.

Skipping the Gas Station is Liberating

While the feeling of not having to get gas is excellent, I wanted to try and figure out how much time do you save by skipping the gas station. So the first step I took was to figure out how often the average person gets gas. According to a study, I found most Americans refuel their vehicles once a week. So now I will assume that the average person spends ten minutes driving to the gas station, another five minutes to pump gas, pay, and leave the gas station. That means that the average trip to the gas station on average takes about fifteen minutes per trip. So with a weekly trip to the gas station, the average person, according to my estimate, spends thirteen hours a year driving to and from the gas station and pumping gas.

Just by skipping the gas station over the past three years, we have owned our electric cars, my wife and I each got 39 hours of our life back to use our time as we wish. In addition, charging our electric vehicles at home has been a seamless experience. At the end of the day, we park our car in the garage and plug our car into the charger. The vehicle charges at home overnight when electricity is cheapest, and in the morning, we have a fully charged car. The time it takes to plug your vehicle into a home charger takes less than a minute. And while it takes anywhere from four to nine hours to charge an electric car completely, chargings occur overnight, so you are never waiting.

Charging at Home is Seamless

Also, keep in mind the average American drives about 29 miles per day. And with the most popular electric cars able to all driver at a minimum of over 200 miles on a single charge, the reality most daily charging is topping off the battery, which does not take a lot of time. So owning an electric car is a very different experience and one where there is far less maintenance and support needed to keep your vehicle running. So in addition to skipping the gas station, we have not had to do any maintenance on our cars, which has saved us a ton of time.

To learn more about how you can save time money, read our guide or visit Electric Driver

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electric vehicle autopilot

Electric Vehicle Autopilot

 

What is electric vehicle autopilot is a question many people have. When I first heard of autopilot in electric cars, I pictured a car driving itself I thought of  Knight Rider.  However, I quickly learned that the fully autonomous car is a far way out. Actually, the society of automotive engineers has defined five levels of vehicle automation.

 Society of automotive engineers electric vehicle autopilot levels

Driving Automation Levels Explained

  • Level 0 represents a vehicle where the driver manages all aspects of driving. The driver may have some features such as emergency braking, blind-spot warning, or lane departure warning, but the driver is making all the decisions.
  • Level 1 represents a vehicle where the driver is in control but may have a limited driver assistance feature. For example, the vehicle may have either lane-centering or adaptive cruise control. 
  • Level 2 represents a vehicle with partial driving automation. For example, vehicles with lane centering and adaptive cruise control capabilities help drive vehicles in certain situations. However, he still needs to be supervising the vehicle at all times.
  • Level 3 is a vehicle that has partial automation. The vehicle would be able to drive by itself in limited circumstances but still needs human supervision.
  • Level 4 vehicles have a high level of driving automation. As a result, the vehicle should be able to handle most driving situations, but there would be instances the vehicle would need human intervention.
  • Level 5 vehicles are fully autonomous and can drive themselves in all situations.

Driving Automation Today

Most vehicles today that offer autopilot are level 2 in terms of the level of driving automation. Today, drivers who use autopilot need to be constantly alert and ready to take over as driving automation is limited. From my experience using Tesla’s autopilot features, the vehicle has integrated aspects of adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and navigation features. However, when using the feature, you have to be ready to take over at a moment’s notice as the vehicle does not know how to handle all the scenarios a driver may face.

 

If you want to learn more about what kind of autopilot features, head over to Electric Driver to learn more about autopilot for electric vehicles. Also visit our guide to learn how Electric Driver can help you find the right electric vehicle.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Environmental

How to Help Stop Climate Change.

 

The United Nations published the Sixth Assessment Report on the climate by the International Panel on Climate Change[^1] . The report described a code red for humanity and that there is no going back[^2] . Unless society can reduce its carbon emissions to zero, the extreme weather humanity has been experiencing the past few years will continue to intensify. This report serves as a call to action for each of us to take responsibility and enact changes. So the questions become what I can do to help stop climate change?

 

Use a Carbon Emissions Calculator

Just like counting calories or using a step-counter helps you make better choices, the same goes with emissions. Use a carbon emissions calculator to learn what your carbon footprint looks like and take steps to curb your emissions. According to the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, the average American household generates 48 tons of carbon emissions per year[^3] . Two good carbon footprint calculators are from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the Nature Conservatory.

 

 Eat a Plant-Based Diet

Food makes up 10 to 30 percent[^3] of the average household carbon emissions. Eating meat is one of the highest emission-creating foods at 6.61 pounds[^3] of emissions for a single serving. In comparison, eating vegetables, rice, and legumes create less the .16 pounds of carbon emissions per serving. Eating a plant-based diet can dramatically cut your carbon footprint. Even switching to one vegetarian meal per week is the equivalent of not driving 1.160 miles[^4].

Pounds of carbon emissions per serving of food
Heller, M. and G. Keoleian. (2014) Greenhouse gas emissions estimates of U.S. dietary choices and food loss. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 19 (3): 391-401.

 

Switch to Solar Power

 25% of all carbon emissions come from electricity[^5]. The average kilowatt of electricity generated in the United States of America creates .953 pounds of carbon emissions. Solar, wind, and hydropower produce no emissions and are a great way to reduce carbon emissions. Converting your home to an all-electric home using roof-mounted solar panels is a great way to cut your carbon emissions. Also, converting all your appliances and water heaters from gas to electric can make a big difference.

Till January 1, 2023, you can get a 26% Federal tax credit[^9] on the cost of a new solar system and cut your carbon emissions in the process. Sun Power or Tesla are both excellent options and provide free estimates. 

 

Switch from Gas to an Electric Car

Transportation makes up 29%[^5] of total carbon emissions, with passenger cars making up 41%[^3]. Switching from a gas to an electric vehicle is a great way to help stop climate change. Electric Driver can show you how an electric car can reduce your carbon emissions and save you time and money in the process. Beyond electric vehicles, stop flying, walk more and use a bike when possible. Each decision can help make a difference in the fight to get carbon emissions down to zero.

 

Get the Most Out of Your Things

According to the Journal of Industrial Ecology, all the stuff we own contributes 60%[^6] of all global greenhouse gases. Try to squeeze the most life out of all the things you own. When you decide to buy something, educate yourself. Try to buy things that were responsibly made. Look at how much carbon emissions were made in the production of the product. Vote with your money.

 

Invest in Sustainable Businesses

Vote with your money to bring about change. Buy from companies that make the right choices and work to cut emissions and operate in an environmentally responsible fashion. For example, most of us have our retirement tied to the stock market. So look into the businesses in your portfolio and invest in companies that bring about positive environmental change. Move your money away from companies that pollute and cause ecological harm.

 

Cut Plastics Out of Your Life

Plastics are made of oil which is a fossil fuel. Using plastics fills up our landfills and encourages oil production. According to the Center for Environmental Law, if we continue to use plastics at our current rate by 2030, plastics will generate 1.34 gigatons[^7] of emissions annually. For example, 1.34 gigatons of carbon emissions are equivalent to 295 500 megaton coal plants. Being mindful and eliminating single-use plastics can help curb carbon emissions.

 

Plant Trees

Trees can help capture carbon, and we should each take it upon ourselves to plant more trees. An international research team, led by Jean-Francois Bastin of ETH-Zurich in Switzerland, determined if we could plant another half a trillion trees, we could reduce global carbon emissions by 25%[^8].  Therefore, planting more trees at home

is another measure to help stop climate.

 

Educate Yourself

Awareness and education will go a long way in making better decisions regarding your carbon footprint. An easy way to get up to speed on climate education is to sign-up for a free course online. Ed-X has free online courses from universities around the course you can take to get up to speed. To sum up, educating yourself is a crucial step to making better choices in helping combat climate change.

 

References

[^1]: “Ar6 Climate Change 2021:the Physical Science Basis.” Sixth Assessment Report, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/.

[^2]: Irfan, Umair, and Rebecca Leber. “The Devastating New UN Report on Climate Change, Explained.” Vox, Vox, 9 Aug. 2021, www.vox.com/22613027/un-ipcc-climate-change-report-ar6-disaster.

[^3]: “Carbon Footprint Factsheet.” Carbon Footprint Factsheet | Center for Sustainable Systems, css.umich.edu/factsheets/carbon-footprint-factsheet.

[^4]: Weber , Christopher L, and Scott H. Matthews. “Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States.” ACS Publications, Environmental Science & Technology, www.pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/es702969f.

[^5]: “Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions.

[^6]: Ivanova, Diana, et al. “Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 18 Dec. 2015, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jiec.12371.

[^7]: “Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a PLASTIC PLANET.” Center for International Environmental Law, 25 Sept. 2020, www.ciel.org/project-update/plastic-climate-the-hidden-costs-of-a-plastic-planet/.

[^8]: “Examining the Viability of Planting Trees to Help Mitigate Climate Change – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” NASA, NASA, 11 Nov. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/news/2927/examining-the-viability-of-planting-trees-to-help-mitigate-climate-change/.

[^9]:  “Federal Tax Credit for Residential Solar Energy.” TurboTax Tax Tips & Videos, TurboTax, 7 Aug. 2021, turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/going-green/federal-tax-credit-for-solar-energy/L7s9ZiB4D.

Categories
Electric Car Tax Credits & Incentives Researching Electric Cars

Electric Car Federal Tax Credit Explained

 

You may be wondering what is an electric car federal tax credit. The US government provides people incentives to switch from gas to electric cars and will give you up to a $7,500 tax credit to make the change. This article will cover why there is an electric car tax credit, who qualifies for it, and how it works.

 

Why a Tax Credit for Electric Cars

With all the talk of climate change and countries needing to curb their emissions, switching from gas to an electric car can help. Transportation contributes  29% of total emissions, with cars being a leading contributor. According to the US Department of Energy, the average gas car produces 11,435 pounds of carbon emissions each year. In contrast, the average electric car produces only  3,774 pounds of emissions per year. By providing an electric car federal tax credit, the government is curbing carbon emissions, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and helping fight climate change.

 

Who Qualifies for the Tax Credit

To qualify for the electric tax credit, you need to meet the following criteria.

  • Purchased a car or truck that weighs less than 14,000 pounds and draws energy from a battery of at least four kilowatt-hours.
  • You must have purchased a new electric car on or after 2010 and be the original owner.
  • Only the first 200,000 electric vehicles sold by manufacturers will qualify for a rebate.

Electric car federal tax credits can range from $7,500 to $2,500. The closer a manufacturer gets to selling 200,000 electric cars, the smaller the tax credit becomes. You can get the latest availability on electric car federal tax credits by visiting the Department of Energy website or visiting Electric Driver. Beyond tax credits, you should also look into electric car rebates and tax credits from your state and utilities.

 

What Cars Qualify for the Tax Credit

To find what vehicles are, get an electric car federal tax credit; the Energy Department has a list of eligible vehicles. Also, keep in mind that carmakers that have sold over 200,000 electric cars do not qualify for the tax credit. For example, if you buy a Tesla, you do not get any federal tax credits. Instead, look to newer electric car makers or traditional carmakers starting to make electric cars like Ford. Electric Driver lists which vehicles are eligible for the electric car federal tax credit.

 

How Do I Claim My Tax Credit

To claim your electric car federal tax credit, you will need to fill out IRS form 8936 when you file your taxes. Typically you would file for the electric car tax credit when the same year you bought your electric car. However, in some cases, you may be able to amend your tax return and file it later. You have up to three years to file for the electric car federal tax credit. You can learn more about the electric car federal tax credit eligibility on the IRS website. 

 

Other Electric Car Incentives 

Beyond federal tax credits, there are other incentives available for electric vehicles. For example, back in 2018, when I bought my electric car, my local electric utility provided electric car incentives. Specifically, the electric utility provider at the time offered a $500 electric car credit and another $500 rebate for buying an electric car charger. Keep in mind that offers change, so you need to research what rebates and incentives are available in your area. You can learn more about state and local rebates by visiting the Department of Energy website and your local electricity provider.

Electric vehicles can also save you time, money and reduce harmful carbon emissions. To learn more about how you can benefit from owning an electric car, visit Electric Driver or read our guide.

 

Categories
Electric Vehicle Maintenance Electric Vehicle Selection Researching Electric Cars

Using Needs-Based Search to Find the Right Electric Car

Over 61% of car shoppers do not have a specific car in mind when buying a new vehicle. Instead, shoppers are looking to find a vehicle that will best meet their needs within their price range. Car sites provide search methods that cater to the shopper that knows what vehicle they want. Electric Driver created a needs-based search to help shoppers find the right electric car for shoppers that do not have a specific vehicle in mind.

 

What is Needs-Based-Search

Whenever you buy a product or service, you are looking to address a need. For example, when my wife and I had our son, we outgrew our Camry; we needed a safer vehicle with decent mileage that could seat seven people. We ended up buying a new 2011 Highlander, which we kept till we bought our electric car. Whenever you shop for an electric vehicle, you probably have s set of needs you are looking to address. Needs-based search is designed to help you find electric cars that most closely meet your needs within your price range. We have defined needs into the following:

  • Price Range:  Your price range will help Electric Driver filter out vehicles to only show you vehicles that meet all your criteria. If Electric Driver cannot address all your criteria, we will show electric cars that most closely meet your needs.
  • Seating: The following criteria: Electric Driver will ask you how many people you need to seat at the minimum.
  • Battery Range: The minimum distance you will want to travel on a single charge is another crucial factor. Typically you should think of many miles you need to cover your daily driving. Also, if you live in an extremely hot or code environment, I recommend you factor in an extra 20% range. 
  • Location: Electric Driver will ask for your location to show you how many electric car chargers are available near where you live. It would be best to be confident you have a charger where you travel if you need to charge.
  • What Matters Most to You: What is important to you is what you will you to evaluate each electric car you see. We have nine criteria you can use to find vehicles best meet your needs. Some of the criteria we came up with to define needs-based search are listed below.

 

Electric Driver needs-based search matches you with the top three vehicles that fit your needs.

 

Needs-Based Search Criteria

    • Safety: If you are looking for a safe vehicle, selecting safety will help identify secure options. Electric Driver will show you the safest cars that meet your criteria. What Electric Driver uses to filter out the safest vehicles is how well each car fared in crash tests and safety features that help reduce the severity of an accident.
    • Performance: If you are looking for a fast electric car, you will select performance. The performance we filter vehicles based on their top speed, acceleration, horsepower, and the drive type (Think two-wheel or all-wheel drive).
    • Cost to Drive: For those of you who want a vehicle with a low operating cost, you would select cost to drive: What cost to drive will show you cars that will have lower electricity bills, maintenance, and insurance costs. The idea is to lower your monthly cost of owning an electric vehicle.
    • Autopilot capable: Choosing autopilot will show you cars that have the self-driving option. Electric Driver will show you how the autopilot systems will differ and how much the autopilot systems will cost.
    • Infotainment: For those interested in navigation, streaming capabilities, and entertainment within your vehicle, infotainment capture these needs.
    • Cargo Capacity: Selecting cargo capacity will show you the cars with the largest storage space within your budget and other criteria.
    • Reliability:  Selecting reliability, Electric Driver will show you electric cars with the best warranty and the least reported issues.Complaints and recall information to help you form your opinion on the most reliable electric car.
    • Charging Time: If you want to spend the least amount of time waiting while charging, Electric Driver can show you electric cars that quickly recharge based on your budget and criteria.

 

Ranking Your Needs 

Speaking of what matters to you, not all needs are equal. Electric Driver allows you to choose what need is most important to least order. All you need do is decide what is most important to you first, the next most important need, and so on. Once you are ready to proceed, Electric Driver does the heavy lifting. Electric Driver searches through all available vehicles models to show you what electric cars best fit your needs. Visit Electric Driver to find the right electric car using a needs-based search or check out our guide.

 

 

Categories
Environmental Researching Electric Cars

Electric Car Emissions Versus Gas Vehicles

I have owned an electric car since 2018 and believe they produce fewer emissions than gas cars. What I wanted to know was much less emissions do electric cars create versus gas vehicles. Before I go any further, I want to point out where electric car emissions occur. The electricity used to fuel electric cars makes a certain amount of emissions. 

Where your electricity comes from determines how much emissions are created. So I set out to answer how much fewer emissions an electric car makes versus a gas vehicle. 

Gas Car Average Emissions

First, I tackled the question of how much emissions does a typical gasoline vehicle produces. The Environmental Protection Agency has a nifty tool they made which gives you the emissions of a gas car. If a person travels around 13,500 miles using a gasoline car, you create about 5 tons of carbon emissions per year. The more complicated part of the answer is to calculate how much emissions does an electric vehicle create.

 

Where Does Your Electricity ComeFrom?

A vast majority of people get their electricity from their local utility. Since most people’s electricity comes from their utility, we need to understand where your electricity comes from. Depending on which state you live in you your power will come from one or more of the following sources:

  • Coal
  • Petroleum
  • Hyrdo
  • natural gas
  • nuclear
  • renewables

Your electricity will come from a combination of the power sources to create your electricity. For example, If you live in Missouri, coal is a primary source of electricity. However, California’s electricity primarily is generated s from natural gas and renewables. As a result, you will see a higher level of emissions per kilowatt in Missouri versus California. 

 

Electric Car Emissions

Once you know where your state’s electricity comes from you, need to consider the efficiency of an electric car. Assuming you travel 13,500 miles per year, each electric vehicle will have so many miles per kilowatt. The question is, how many kilowatts does it take for a specific electric car model to travel 13,500? Finding and calculating the emissions data is quite a chore. Initially, I spent about a week building a model in an excel spreadsheet to figure out the emissions by electric car by state.

 

Electric Car VS. Gas Emission Feature

After figuring out the electric car emissions versus gas vehicle answer, I believed showing based on their location and the electric car they drive, how much carbon emission they take out of the air is powerful.

Electric Driver based on your state shows you how much of your electricity comes from hydro, renewables, nuclear, coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Electric cars, regardless of what state you live in, create fewer emissions than using gas. 

If you want to learn about Electric cars, please visit our website, Electric Driver. Electric Driver is designed from the ground up to help you demystify, find and buy the electric vehicle for you. You can learn more about how we have aligned our experience to meet your needs better here, or visit our website and see for yourself. Also, if we do not have a feature or answer a specific question, please drop us a note. We love feedback and working towards creating a better electric car research experience.

 

Categories
Researching Electric Cars

A Better Way to Research the Right Electric Car

 

What electric car best fits our family’s needs was the question my wife and I faced back in 2018. Our aging Toyota Highlander needed several thousand dollars in repairs. Instead of sinking more money into an old vehicle, we decided to buy a new car. Owning an electric car appealed to both my wife and we knew very little about them. So I began to do my homework on electric vehicles and see if they made any sense.

Researching electric cars ended up taking more work than I expected. My search took me to numerous car websites, message boards, and discussions with electric car owners. The big, well-established car sites provided cursory information while enthusiast electric car editorial sites spoke to the converted. Getting information a first-time electric car buyer would find useful was difficult to find. In the end, we bought an electric car and have been very happy with our purchase. But, looking back, I thought to myself there had to be a better way to research the right electric vehicle.

 

Research Starts with your needs.

When you look to buy a product or service, you search for a solution to your problem. In our case, when we wanted to buy an electric car, we needed a vehicle that could seat seven, travel at least 200 miles on a charge,  be safe, reliable, and we wanted to cut our monthly gas bill. Our list of needs served as a checklist to evaluate which electric cars were contenders. Whenever you shop for a high-priced item like a car that will stay with you for years, spend the time determining what is important to you. Your needs are what will guide you to a better purchase decision. 

Electric Driver's survey feedback of biggest concerns car shoppers have when buying an electric car.
Electric Driver compiled the top concerns car shoppers have when considering a vehicle.

 

When We Shop We Compare 

when considering a purchase, you make decisions, evaluate between multiple imperfect options, and find the solution that best meets your needs. Whether it’s deciding which college to attend, what movie to watch, or what car to buy, our nature is to compare and evaluate trade-offs between available options. In our example, our search at the time had us selecting between two choices, a Tesla Model X or Tesla Model Y. When using our list of needs to evaluate each vehicle, the seating was the tiebreaker for us. The Tesla Model X won out in the end because the seven-seat option was roomier and had more interior space.

You need to know what is important to you going into the shopping process in order to make better decisions.  Make sure you do your homework and leave no stone unturned when looking for suitable options to evaluate. The worst feeling is purchasing a high-priced vehicle only to find out your search overlooked a better option. 

 

Car Search is Broken

Now that we have covered the importance of needs and suitable vehicle options, we need to discuss the car sites you look to aid you in this effort. Unfortunately, the big-name car sites many of us turn to have several shortcomings that end up doing a poor job of meeting our needs as consumers. The first shortcoming begins with how these car sites help you search. Like we discussed, whenever you turn to buy a product, you are looking to fulfill a need. In my case, our family needed a safe, reliable, seven-seat electric car with a 200-mile range.

 Today, Car sites prompt you to search for a car by body site or vehicle model. You are forced to look through pages of content searching for electric cars that best fit your needs.  The search by body style or model works well if you know what car you are looking for but is of little help if you have not settled on a specific vehicle.

 If you have not settled on a vehicle, searching through countless pages of information is time-consuming, and unless you look at every vehicle, you may miss out on a vehicle candidate that meets your needs.

Electric Driver collected feedback validating 61% of people considering a car are looking at more than one option.
Electric Driver validated that most shoppers do not know what specific electric car to buy.

 

Display Ads lead to Poor Experiences.

Part of the reason car sites make you look through countless pages is financial. Most publishers make money by displaying advertisements on their websites. Therefore, the More pages car sites show you, the more money they make. As a result, they have an incentive to show you as many pages as possible when you visit their website.  Any feature that will reduce the number of pages you will consume makes these car websites less money. Therefore many of these car websites place a gauntlet of pages in front of their visitors. 

The last but vital reason car sites do a poor job of covering electric cars again is financial. Gas-powered cars make up 98% of the automotive market. As a result, car sites focus most of their resources and mindshare to make money off the gas-powered auto market. As a result, electric cars are not a major priority for most car websites at this time.

 

A Better Way to Research Electric Cars

Having experienced difficulties researching, finding the right electric car, we decided there had to be a better way. Electric Driver is my opportunity to create a better way to research and find the right electric car for you. We believe electric cars are the present and the future. Therefore Electric Driver’s only focus is electric cars. Focusing exclusively on electric cars allows us to create an experience completely dedicated to addressing the unique needs and questions that arise from electric car shopping.

Helping Shoppers Transition to EV owners

Electric cars can save you time, money and reduce your emissions, leading to a healthier environment. Our goal is to help show you the benefits of owning an electric car. We feel once you experience these benefits electric cars provide, you will have a hard time going back to a gas-powered car. Before we go on, I won’t ask for your help. When visiting Electric Driver, if you do not see an answer to an important question you have, please let us know. We want to create a better experience and need your help creating this better way to research electric cars.

 

Start With Needs-Based Search

As we mentioned earlier, any shopping journey begins with knowing what needs are important to you. For example, when my family was shopping for an electric car, we needed a safe, reliable seven-seater that could go 200 miles on a single charge. So when you turn to Electric Driver, our job should be to find out what is important to you and only show you electric cars that most closely meet your needs. Our solution is what we call a needs-based search. We ask you to tell us how many people you need to transport, how far you need to drive on a single charge, and what criteria are important.

Electric Driver then goes to work matches you with the vehicles the most closely match your needs. The specific needs we use on Electric Driver result from countless interviews and feedback from people like you. 

Electric Driver's needs-based-search matches you with top three vehicles that closely meet your needs.
Electric Driver needs-based search matches you with the top three vehicles that fit your needs.

 

Helping You Compare and Evaluate

Once you enter your information into Electric Driver’s needs-based search, we go to work. First, our website goes through all available electric cars to find which ones best meet your needs. Then Electric Driver presents you with the top three electric cars that most closely meet your needs within your budget. Next, based on your needs Electric Driver shows you evaluate all three vehicles and shows you the trade-offs between all three options. Furthermore Electric Driver also identifies which vehicle is the closest match. If for some reason, you do not like a specific vehicle, you can replace it with another electric car of your choosing. Once you have identified a potential candidate, you are ready to learn more about that specific vehicle.

Electric Driver's comparison page
Electric Driver’s comparison page helps you evaluate between vehicles to determine which one best fits your needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Overview plus the Pros and Cons

Once you have identified a vehicle you want to learn more about, we have more detailed information. Our approach is to help give you a picture of what it would be like to switch from your gas-powered car to an electric vehicle. For example, a question many people have is how much money I would save if I drove an electric car. Electric Driver can estimate how much you could save by switching to an electric car. In the background, we use gas and electricity prices in your state to give you a local estimate.

The image below is the overview section for a 2021 Tesla Model 3 to illustrate what you can expect. We also share with you some benefits and drawbacks of owning an electric car.

Electric Driver 2021 Tesla Model 3 Overview
Electric Driver’s overview shows you how much you can expect to save in electricity costs versus gas plus other essential information.

 

Estimated Cost To Own an Electric Car

Another question you may have is how much does it cost to own an electric car. Specifically, how much can I expect to pay for maintenance, electricity, and insurance? Electric Driver provides estimated costs for maintenance, insurance, and electricity based on each specific electric car. In addition, electric Drive estimates cost based on what state you live in and what electric car you are considering. We also provide an estimate of what a gas vehicle would cost to own to help you visualize what you can expect to save by switching to an electric car.

Electric Driver Cost to Driver displaying insurance, electricity and maintenance estimates
Electric Driver Cost to Drive provides you with electricity, insurance, and maintenance cost estimates based on your location.

 

Electric Car Environmental Impact

Understanding what kind of environmental impact switching from a gas to an electric car is not clearly understood by many people. You know electric cars are better for the environment but probably don’t have a deeper understanding. Electric Driver set out to find out more about the environmental impact. Electric Driver developed a feature to give you insights into the environmental benefits of owning an electric car. We created an electric car model-specific feature that shows how much carbon emissions you will save.

Electric cars are a good choice for the environment, but they do not eliminate emissions. Specifically, when you buy electricity from your electric utility, you may be creating some emissions in the process. Each state has various means they generate electricity including, coal plants, petroleum, hydroelectric, nuclear, or renewables. For example, electricity from coal creates more emissions than electricity from renewable resources. Electric Driver gives you insight into where your electricity is coming from and how much emissions you create.

Rest assured, the emissions from electricity is in most cases, will be much less than what a gas-powered car creates. Ideally, the better option is to buy your own solar panels and further reduce your environmental emissions. Below is a rendering of our environmental impact feature, which should be available in August 2021.

 

Electric Driver provides environmental impact by model
The image shown is a rendering of our environmental feature that should be released in August 2021. The feature will show you how much emissions are saved and where your electricity comes from within your state.

Understanding your Electric Car

Once you have a leading contender, the next step is to learn more about the specific electric car. Specifically, you want to see how the electric vehicle could fit into your life.  Now looking beyond you core needs is acceptable because you are trying to figure out how this vehicle can fit into your life. Understanding the warranty, reliability, and other features will help you visualize what owning this electic vehicle would look like.

 

Electric Driver vehicle specs of a Tesla Model 3
Displayed are safety, reliability, warranty, and charging information for a Tesla Model 3.

 

EV Charging In Your Area 

An Important yet overlooked question people may not consider is an electric vehicle charging in their area. Your electric vehicle will do most of its charging at home overnight, but there may be times you need to charge away from home. Therefore, you will need to have electric vehicle charging infrastructure in your area.

Electric car charging for Tesla Model 3 in Orange, CA shown.
Electric Driver also shows you a map of available chargers in your area.

 

No Display Ads on Electric Driver

We want to create a better way to research the right electric car, and display ads will get in the way. By skipping display advertisements, Electric Driver can remove unwanted distractions. By having Electric Drive be display advertisment free you are free of influence  allowing you to be clear-headed when selecting the electric car that is right for you. 

 

An Electric Car Centric Experience

Electric Driver wants to make finding the right electric car easy for you. So Electric Driver created a unique electric car research experience designed to help you identify and select the right electric car with ease and no distractions. If you encounter a question on your electric vehicle journey that we don’t answer yet, let us know. We aim to get more people to save time, money and reduce their emissions by owning an electric car. 

Categories
Driving Electric Cars Electric Car Charging

Electric Car Range in Extreme Heat

 

How far electric cars can travel in extreme heat is a question many people ask. To answer this question, you have to consider several factors. I will go through what factors can impact the distance you can travel on a single charge. I recently took a 495 mile trip from the Grand Canyon in Arizona to Orange, California, in our 2018 Tesla Model X in one of the hottest days on record

 

Electric Car Models Impact Range

Your electric car will determine how far you can travel. The model you choose will also determine how many miles per kilowatt you will be able to travel. To get good mileage, you want to select a light vehicle with the biggest battery possible. For example, we were driving an older, heavy Tesla Model X with a 75-kilowatt battery and a 237-mile range on our road trip. Assuming we had normal driving conditions and were not driving fast, our Tesla Model X would be able to travel 3.1 miles per kilowatt of electricity.

 

Extreme Heat Reduce Range

Electric Car range is reduced by extreme heat. Extreme cold or hot temperatures put additional demands on your electric battery resulting in reduced range. For example, the road trip I recently took had us traveling through the Movaje desert in heat over 120 degrees. Due to the extreme heat, we had to blast our air conditioning, resulting in consuming electricity faster than average. According to AAA, extreme temperatures can reduce battery range up to 41%, but this depends on your driving conditions and which electric car you own.

 

Speeds and Driving Uphill Reduce Range

With a gas-powered car, how fast you drive affects how many miles you get per gallon. Electric cars are no different and burn through their electricity faster with high speeds. Since electric vehicles run on electricity, the miles per gallon equivalent is how miles per kilowatt.

With our 2018 Tesla Model X under normal driving conditions, we would get 3.1 miles per kilowatt. Our road trip conditions were far from typical, however. We had our air conditioning blasting to keep the 120-degree heat at bay. My wife was driving 70 to 85 miles per hour, and we had hilly roads. Consequently, due to the driving conditions and heat, the Kingman to Baker portion of my road trip, which was 143 miles ate up 207 miles of my battery. The extreme conditions resulted in an extra 64 miles of electricity to be expended to travel 143 miles. One last point before I move on. My example was not representative of a typical range loss but rather how driving conditions can reduce range.

 

Braking and Downhill Driving Increase Range

At one point in our Kingman to Baker leg of our road trip, the estimated we would arrive at our destination with nine miles to spare. Range anxiety crept in as we did not want to get caught in the Mojave desert with spotty cell phone coverage and 120-degree heat. As a result, we reduced our sped the rest of the way to around 55 miles, and lucky for us, we ran into a few downhill stretches of road.

The result of driving downhill is it allows electric cars the opportunity to create electricity. We ended up benefiting from the downhill driving and got to Baker with 34 miles of charge left in the battery. The lesson here is unlike gas cars which see worse fuel economy with frequent braking, and electric cars’ fuel efficiency improves with braking. Regenerative braking is a technology that takes the friction from braking and converts a portion of that energy into electricity. The result is braking allows you to create some electricity while driving, slightly increasing your range.

 

Getting Home and Road Trip Lessons

Our 495-mile trip took us 10 hours and four stops to charge our batteries along the way. Our electric vehicle handled the heat like a champ. Several cars were on the side of the road overheating, but our electric vehicle had no issues outside of increased electricity use. In case you are wondering, charging an electric car looks like let me provide some detail. First, your electric vehicle will provide you with directions to a charging station.

Our Tesla trip planner charging a course through the Mojave desert in extreme heat.
Here is a picture of our trip planner guiding us to the next charging station.

These charging stations tend to be near the freeway offramps and next to food, restrooms, and shopping. Depending on how many miles you need to replenish, charging can take 20 to 60 minutes. In our case, each stop at the charging station took about 30 to 45 minutes per stop. However, we did not feel the wait because, during each stop, we either had a meal to eat, picked up some snacks, or took a restroom break.

In case you were wondering what it cost to charge our car, we paid nothing. We pay nothing for charging because back in 2018, Tesla offered free lifetime charging. Unfortunately, Tesla phased out lifetime charging in 2020, and it is no longer available. So now you can expect to pay $.40 per kilowatt of electricity when charging away from home.

 We reduced our emissions on our trip, which feels good, saved money, and had a pleasant, trouble-free road trip.

I hope to have shed some light on how extreme heat reduces electric car range. If you are interested in learning more about electric car ranges and how much it costs to drive, visit Electric Driver or visit our guide on selecting the right electric car for you.

Categories
Driving Electric Cars Electric Car Charging Electric Vehicle Charging

How to Take a Road Trip With an Electric Car

 

How to take a road trip with an electric car is something many owners of gas-powered cars ask me. Road trips with an electric car require some planning but, once mastered, can be quite rewarding.

Planning For a Road Trip

Whenever you take a road trip with your electric car, planning needs to occur. I will use our recent trip from Orange, California, to the Grand Canyon in Arizona as an example. My wife promised our son that we would take him to the Grand Canyon. Along the way, we wanted to visit one of our family friends in Mesa, Arizona. While at Mesa, we needed to stay overnight and also charge our electric car. A wise option is to find a hotel that has a destination charger. A destination charger replenishes your battery at a rate of 16 to 40 miles per hour. Most electric cars can replenish their battery overnight, allowing you to resume your trip in the morning. We found a Hampton Inn in Gilbert, Arizona, with three Tesla chargers and two standard chargers.

Use Your Electric Car’s Trip Planner

Once we found our hotel with a destination charger, we needed to figure out how to get to Mesa, Arizona. Our 2018 Tesla Model X gets 237 miles on s single charge, and from Orang to Mesa is 375 miles. So we needed to find what route to  Mesa would allow us to recharge our battery along the way.

We used our Tesla’s Trip planner, which is built into the car’s navigation software, to figure out our route. The trip planner will route a course calculating which charging stations it will need to stop and for how long along the way. In our case, the trip planner told us we would have to stop at Cabazon, Ehrenberg, and Buckeye to charge our electric car. Furthermore, the trip planner estimated we would have to charge for 30 minutes in Cabazon, 50 minutes in Ehrenberg, and 25 minutes in Buckeye to reach Mesa.

Road trips with an electric car starts with using your trip planner
We used our trip planner to figure out what route to take from Orange, California, to Mesa, Arizona. The planner figured out what charging stations to stop and for how long to get us to Mesa.

Fully Charge your Electric Car Battery

You want to start your trip right, so having a fully charged battery is essential. A quick distinction to make on charging your battery is to set it to 100%. For daily driving, electric car owners put their battery to charge at 80% to prolong the life of the car’s battery. However, with a long trip, you want to fully charge your battery so you can get every mile possible.

 

Watch your Driving Speed

Watching your driving speed and use of the air conditioning will affect how much electricity you use. Think about your miles per gallon efficiency while driving your car. If you are driving fast and blasting your air conditioning, you will go through your fuel much quicker than driving closer to the speed limit. The same principles apply to an electric car. Managing your speeds and making sure you don’t overuse your air conditioning can help you get the most miles out of your battery.

In our case, we drove at a quick pace traveling at speeds of 70 to 85 miles per hour. The result of the high speeds was burning through our electricity faster than average. 

Charging on the Road

On extended trips where you will be traveling beyond the range of your electric vehicle, you will need to recharge on the road. For example, on our recent road trip, we left the city of orange around 9 am and, an hour into the trip, stopped at Cabazon to recharge. The Cabazon chargers are next to a series of outlet stores, so we did some window shopping while recharging our batteries. Our battery was down to 40%, and using Tesla’s network of superchargers, within 30 minutes, we recharged our battery back to 80% and were back on the road. If you are curious as to how much it costs to charge an electric car on the road it typically costs twice as much as charging at home but it is still cheaper than gas.

Recharging our Tesla Model X at Buckhead, Arizona
At Buckhead, we recharged our electric car using a Tesla SuperCharger. Having food and restrooms nearby helped make the best use of our pitstop.

Extreme Temperatures Reduce Range

When we left Cabazon, the temperate was about 100 degrees and climbing. About an hour and a half later, we had to stop again to recharge in Ehrenberg, Arizona. Of the eight available Tesla Superchargers, we were the only car there. There was a gas station and a Wendy’s next to us, so we took the opportunity to take a bio break and get some lunch. By the time we got our food and used the restrooms, we were back in the car. We at our lunch and were back on the road with very little time to wait.

 

 

 

 

The temperature at Ehrenberg was 115 degrees and rising. The reason the temperature is of significance is that extreme temperatures will reduce your vehicle’s range. We had to blast the air conditioning to keep the heat at bay. Within 40 minutes, we had recharged and again on the road. For the rest of the trip to Mesa, we had to run our AC to keep cool. Due to the heavy AC use, we had used up 10-20% of our range to stay comfortable, but it was worth it. We also want to point out that driving in the snow also has similar range reductions as the heat.

Arriving at Mesa, Arizona

After one more stop to charge at Buckhead, we were back on the road and headed to our friend’s house in Mesa. Temperates now had reached 120 degrees. Along the way, some cars overheated along the road, but our electric car handled the heat like a champ. We arrived a little later than expected in Mesa due to traffic. 

Reconnecting with Friends

 We got to connect with our friends which we had not seen since COVID. Our kids swam, played, and we had a nice dinner watching the sunset over the city of Phoenix. Since the temperatures were around 120 degrees when we parked our car, we used a feature in our Tesla called the cabin to overheat protection. Since electric cars are essentially computers on wheels, we had to make sure the heat would not damage the electric components in the car. The overheat protection feature kept the car’s cabin cool enough to ensure no component damage due to heat.

Charging Overnight Using the Destination Charger

At the end of the evening, we bid our friends goodbye and drove to our hotel. We had about 30 miles of electricity left in our battery, and the hotel was a 10-minute drive from our friend’s house. So we drove to the Hampstead Inn in Gilbert and plugged into a destination charger where we could recharge overnight.

Destination Charger in a Hampton Inn Hotel in Gilbert Arizona.
While staying at a hotel overnight, we used the hotel’s destination charger to recharge our electric car.

Parting Words for Taking a Road Trip with an Electric Car

While I shared the example of our Mesa trip using our Tesla, the steps I took to apply to any electric car. Planning is vital as the availability of electric charging stations is not as prevalent as gas stations. Watching your speed, completely charging your battery, and using your trip planner are vital in getting to your destination. Taking a road trip with an electric car requires some planning, but in the end, it will save you money and reduce your emissions. Road trips in an electric vehicle can be an environmentally responsible and affordable way to see the country. To learn more about electric cars, visit Electric Driver or visit our EV selection guide.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Electric Car Charging Researching Electric Cars

Understanding Electric Car Charging

 

 

 

 

Understanding electric car charging is an important step in evaluating how electric vehicles can fit into your lifestyle. For example, gas cars require frequent trips to the gas station while electric vehicles are different. Electric cars do most of their charging overnight at home. Outside of long trips, or if you forgot to charge overnight, most electric car owners have no downtime waiting to recharge. Let us start by explaining the basics of electric car charging. After that, we will cover the basics of charging at home and on the road.

Electric Car External Chargers Explained

The first step is understanding what electric car charging is. An electric car charger can mean two different things, one being called an onboard charger and the other an external charger. For this article, we will focus on the external charger. An external charger can also be called electric vehicle supply equipment. The external charger takes AC electricity and converts it to DC power, stored in your car battery. Each external electric car charger can provide so many kilowatts per hour of electricity her hour. 

 

Level 1 Electric Car Charging

 The least-costly method to charge your electric car utilizing a standard electrical outlet, otherwise known as level 1 charging. The onboard electric charger built into your vehicle is used to plug into an electric socket. However, while level 1 charging is readily available, it charges at a rate of about 2 miles an hour of electricity. Therefore, if you have an electric car battery with a 200-mile range, it could take 100 hours to charge your car. Because of the long recharging time, level 1 charging is not recommended and used as a last resort, assuming no better options are available.

Level 2 Electric Car Charging

The most common external charger is a level 2. Level 2 chargers can be found throughout the country at hotels, malls, and even used in the home. Furthermore, level 2 chargers are a big step up from level 1 charging in that they can charge up to ten times faster. For example, a level 1 wall socket charges at a rate of 2 miles per hour. Meanwhile, a level two charger can charge around 25 to 35 miles per hour. If you plan to add a level 2 external charger to your home, you will need a dedicated 240v line. 

Destination Charger in a Hampton Inn Hotel in Gilbert Arizona.
While staying at a hotel overnight, we used the hotel’s destination charger to recharge our electric car.

 

 

DC Fast Chargers Explained

DC fast charging, otherwise known as direct current fast charging, is the quickest way to charge your electric car. These external chargers run between 400v to 1000v of electricity. Subsequently, these chargers can charge most electric cars to 80% battery capacity in about 20-40 minutes. DC chargers are commercially available all across the country but are too expensive for home use with a price tag of around $50,000. Many companies provide their DC fast-charging network for public use for a fee. On average, expect to pay about twice what you pay at home for a kilowatt of power. Companies like Electrify America and Tesla’s private Supercharger are all DC fast charging providers.

Electricity America electric vehicle charging station
A DC Fast charging station with a Volkswagen ID.4 charging.

 

DC Fast Charging On the Road

While on the road, using DC fast chargers when on the road is a positive experience. Think of DC fast-charging stations like a gas station for electric cars.  Most DC fast-charge stations are strategically placed within shopping malls or next to restaurants. So while you recharge your electric car, you can grab a bite to eat, take a bathroom break, or do some shopping. I recently took a road trip through the Mojave desert and Mesa where I stopped at DC fast charge stations,

Home Electric Car Charging Basics

The average driver commutes around 29 miles per day. Most EV batteries have a driving range of over 200 miles, which means they can handle their daily commute without charging. Therefore, electric vehicles do most of their charging home overnight. Convenient home charging requires a level 2 external charger, which can recharge the typical electric vehicle in around 8 hours. 

How Much Will it Cost to Setup a Home Charger

Level 2 external chargers can range from $250 to $2,500. You can purchase a good EV charger for around $600. As for installation, you will need to hire an electrician. According to HomeAdvisor, the national installation cost for installing your EV charging station is about  $456 to $1,080. 

How Do I know where and when to Charge

Trip planning is relatively easy with electric cars. Within your vehicle’s infotainment system is trip planning software. For example, if you wanted to take a trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, your electric car would plan your route with stops at EV charging stations along the way. With most vehicles able to go 200 plus miles on a single full battery, when you stop to charge, it lines up pretty well with when you have to stop for food or a bio break. 

Plug Type Determines What DC Fast Chargers You Can Use

One thing to keep in mind is not all chargers will work with every EV. Each car manufacturer supports a specific method for EV charging. For example, Tesla has its proprietary plug, while the rest of the car manufacturers either subscribe to the CCS standard or the CHadeMO. As a result, Tesla’s plug can only work with Tesla’s DC fast chargers. However, with a cable attachment, Teslas can work ChadeMo charging stations as well. 

The good news is your electric vehicle can guide you to any supported charger through the navigation and trip planning software within your infotainment system.

Parting Words

I hope you have a better understanding of electric car charging after reading this article. Researching your electric vehicle can be a daunting task, but help is available. Electric Driver is built to help demystify and guide you to the right electric vehicle. Visit Electric Driver or our guide to learn more on how to select the right EV.

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Researching Electric Cars

Selecting the Right Electric Car

Start with Needs

Selecting the right electric car can be a daunting task. The trick is to find the right car that most closely meets your needs. In this article, we will cover what to look for and show you how to find the right electric car.

When our Toyota Highlander incurred several thousand dollars in repairs, our family considered buying a new car instead of sinking more money into the aging SUV. Owning a Highlander for several years, we understood what we would want in our next car. Our list of needs would serve as the means to evaluate and select our next car. 

 

Our List of Electric Car Needs

  • Safety: We wanted a safe car that could protect our son in the event of an accident. Safety was a must for us.
  • Low Cost to Drive: We spent $400 to $500 per month on gasoline (We live in California). We had a long commute and were looking to bring our monthly driving costs down.
  • Reliability: Between picking up our son from school, shuttling him to his activities, and driving to and from work, our family needed a car that would be worry-free.
  • Environment: Driving a car that emitted reduced carbon emissions was something we wanted to achieve.
  • Seating: We needed a car that could seat seven people. In addition to our nuclear family, we were often driving with members of our extended family and needed extra seating.
  • Range: We needed at least 200 miles on a single charge. Using 200 miles would support our daily driving needs and allow us to take a few longer road trips as well.
  • Money: Using how much we could afford provided a filter that allowed us to focus on a smaller car set.

 

Build Your List of Electric Car Needs

Like us, whenever you consider buying a new car, you have to figure out what is important to you. Your list of needs will be the lens that helps you decide which car best meets your needs. When we went through this process, it was difficult. We had to go to countless car websites to compare and contrast our wants with what was available in every car we looked at. 

Going through the process of selecting the right electric car for our family made me think there has to be an easier way to do this. While the trick is to start and figure out which automobiles meet your needs, the described method above is inefficient. It took us researching several models before we ended up selecting the right electric car that met our family’s needs. The good news is there is a better way to find the right electric car that meets your needs, called Electric Driver. 

The difficulties I experienced buying an electric car inspired me to create Electric Driver to provide an easier way to find the right electric car.

 

When is the Right Time to Buy an Electric Car?

 When to buy an electric carwas something my wife and I debated at the time. Back in 2018, the tax rebates (Tesla no longer qualifies for a tax rebate) along with our need for a family car are what drove us to make our purchase. Today there are new dynamics that make buying an electric car an easy decision. First is that in Europe and the United States, there is a movement to ban the sale of gas-powered cars eventually.

California is the largest electric car market in the United States. California has declared it will ban the sale of gas-powered cars starting 2035. At the time of writing this article, Washington, New York, and nine other states have urged the federal government to pass legislation to ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035.

Manufacturers of gas-powered cars have also begun to make electric cars. General Motors was the first such carmaker to declare it will become an all-electric carmaker by 2035. Cleaner air is another reason to consider making the switch now to electric cars.

 

Develop Your Initial List of Car Candidates

Once you have your list of needs along with your three to four cars, you will need to see how these cars do against your list of needs. The best way to begin your validation is to research online and see which cars meet your needs; Electric Driver does this for you. Otherwise,

you will need to create a starting list of car candidates. Typically people make their initial list of three to four cars candidates based on past experiences (Say riding in a co-worker’s car), advertisements, or past conversations from friends. While the trick here is to create a starting point for yourself to validate if these candidate cars are suitable for your needs, there is a better approach.

Electric Driver needs-based search page
Using a needs-based search is the first step on the path to selecting the right electric vehicle.

 

Researching the Right Electric Car

Now that you have your list of needs and starting set of car contenders in hand, the next step is to begin researching. Searching online is the way to go, and for automobiles in general, there are many resources from car review sites, YouTube, to social media. However, when it comes to electric cars, information is harder to come by.

 

Car Sites Business Model Works against Shoppers Needs

Car websites, in general, make their money by displaying advertisements. As of 2021, electric cars only make up around two percent of automotive sales. Therefore, car websites do not dedicate the mindshare needed to cover electric cars adequately since most of the money is in gas-powered cars.

 

Another problem is automotive websites online get paid to show you as many display ads as possible and therefore have an incentive to show you as many pages as possible.

Electric Driver is different in that we do not display and get paid to sell ad impressions. Our model is one where we do not make any money until you decide to buy from our partners. Our goal is the make researching and selecting the right electric car easy and as transparent as possible.

 

Car Sites Search Does a Poor Job of Helping You Find the Right Electric Car

Another disconnect is around automotive search. Your goal as a shopper is to find cars that best match your needs. Like, show me the safest, most reliable six-seaters that go 200 miles for under $60,000. Currently, car websites use two search methods. Search by car body style (Sedan, Truck) or search by specific car model (Tesla. Model 3). The problem with search by body style or model is they force you to spend more sifting through numerous pages of information looking to find which cars match your needs. Furthermore, unless you look at every car and take copious notes, you could have a blind spot and miss out on selecting the right electric car that meets your needs.

 

Selecting the Right Electric Car

Selecting the right electric car starts with the proper method of search. Electric Driver has developed a new way to search for electric cars based on your list of needs. First, you tell Electric Driver what needs are important to you like I need a safe, dependable electric car with some zip that seats six for under $60,000. Electric Driver then searches all available electric cars against your needs and shows you the cars that best meet your needs.

 

We Think in Terms of Comparisons and Trade-Offs

Whenever we make decisions, we think in terms of comparisons and trade-offs. For example, if you are going to buy a house, you have your list of what is important to you, and you are evaluating a few homes against your list. One home may have a great location but not be in the best condition. The other house is move-in ready, but the neighborhood is not as good. As consumers, we look at trade-offs between our options and determine what decision best meets our unique needs. 

Car sites today don’t subscribe to how consumers think. Instead, they send consumers down individual car pages and force them to figure out what electric cars are suitable candidates and identify and weigh trade-offs on their own.

 

Electric Driver Compares and Evaluates

We at Electric Driver wanted to change things up and created a new way to research that aligns with how you as a shopper think. First, you provide your list of needs. Electric Driver searches all available electric cars that meet your needs and show you the top three cars that best meet your needs. Electric Driver also helps you compare each car against your needs helping you understand trade-offs so you can make more informed decisions. Also, if you want to swap out an electric car with another candidate, you can easily do so. Our comparison and trade-off tools help you minimize blind spots, objectively show you your options, and saves you time. We feel needs-based search and matching helps shoppers in selecting the right electric car.

Electric Driver comparison page helps you evaluate trade-offs and find the right car
Comparison page using needs-based matching shows you electric cars that meet your needs.

 

New Versus Used Electric Cars

Another factor to consider is if you should buy a new or used electric car. With a new electric car, you get peace of mind with a warranty and the latest technology, but you pay a premium. If you are willing to consider a used electric car that is either still under full warranty or still has a valid battery warranty, you could score some real value. An example is we bought a new base model Tesla Model X in 2018 for around $90,000. In 2020 we had two friends buy a top-of-the-line 2016Tesla Model X performance edition for about $55,000. Used car pricing is variable, but it can be a great deal. My advice is if you consider a used electric car, look for one that still has a battery warranty. The electric car battery is the most expensive item to replace. A used electric car with a battery warranty provides peace of mind.

 

Geography Matters for Electric Cars

Geography matters in several ways. First of all, if you live in a part of the country with extreme temperatures, say snow or heat upwards of 95 degrees, you could see a  reduction in driving range. Also, if you live in a rural area, you could have little to no charging infrastructure outside your home. 

 

Electric Car Rebates and Tax Credits

Another factor when it comes to selecting the right electric car is rebates and tax breaks. The federal government has tax breaks for manufacturers for the first 200,000 electric cars they sell. The federal electric car tax credit starts at $7500 and decreases the closer a car maker gets to sell 200,000 electric cars. In addition, some states and electric utilities provide electric car rebates. Check with your state or electric utility to see if they provide incentives or rebates.

 

Learning More About Your Prospective Electric Car

Once you have identified your leading candidate, the next step is how this car fits your lifestyle. If this is your first electric car, conducting the appropriate research becomes more challenging. Most first-time buyers don’t know what questions to ask. However, we have you covered here as we have compiled a list of questions to help you make a more informed decision.

 

Can I Afford to Own an Electric Car?

To figure out if you can afford an electric car, you need to determine what costs you will incur once you own it. Electric vehicles may not be as expensive as you think. For example, prior to buying our Tesla Model X, we paid $1,000 a month in car payments plus $400 to $500 per month in gas. Doing the math showed us we could afford the Model X, even though it was $50,000 more than our Highlander. Our car payments came out to about $1,200 a month, with an additional $125 a month in electricity. Buying a $90,000 Tesla was possible due to the savings in buying electricity and a longer-term loan.We went from spending $1,400 to $1,500 a month to $1,325 a month.

Common questions first-time electric car shoppers have is what it will cost to charge and maintain my new electric car? Electricity costs are around one-third less than gas, depending on your state and electric car model. Maintenance costs are, on average, half of what it costs to maintain a gas-powered car. Visit Electric Driver to learn more about the estimated costs of owning an electric car.

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

 

Electric Car Specifications

Once you find an electric car, you can afford it and meets your needs. The next step is to do a deeper dive. Understanding some of the details will help you visualize how this electric car can fit into your life. Electric Driver provides crash test ratings and recall and complaint issues from the National Highway Traffic Safety. Administration to give you an unbiased view of the car you are considering.

 

Electric Car Home Charging

Electric cars skip the gas station and do most of their charging at home overnight. This saves you time and money. You also no longer have to do oil changers every six months. If you would like to charge at home, you will need to purchase a home charging station. Home charging stations and installation can cost you anywhere from $560 to $2,800 for hardware and installation. Check with your electric utility as they may provide rebates or incentives for installing an electric car home charger. Electric Driver provides suitable home charging options as well as installation estimates.

 

Electric Car Charging Availability

Most daily commutes take place within 50 miles of your home. Therefore, if you did not charge your car overnight, you would need to charge away from home. Electric Driver shows you compatible charging locations

within 50 miles away from home so you can determine if you live in an electric car-friendly area.

 

Electric Cars and the Environment

Driving an electric car reduces emissions. Reducing emissions, however, depends on what state you live in and whether your electricity comes from the utility or solar. For example, electricity generated from Missouri comes from coal. California creates a majority of its electricity from natural gas and renewables and produces fewer emissions. Electric Driver shows where your electricity comes from and the environmental impacts of switching to an electric car. 

 

Infotainment and Driver Assisted Technologies

Advanced driver-assistance systems, also known as autopilot, is a feature that helps drivers with the functions of driving a car. Some autopilots can read traffic signs, and some can help you change lanes. Not all autopilot systems do the same things, however.

Infotainment systems are the information and entertainment hub of your vehicle. Some infotainment systems can stream movies. Others infotainment systems provide over-the-air updates (think of your mobile phone receiving software updates). Electric Driver includes information to help you understand some of these capabilities and the benefits they provide.

 

Parting Words

For us buying an electric car was not only cost-effective, but it also lowered our emissions and saved us time. Once you experience owning an electric car, it is hard to go back to a gas-powered car.

Hopefully, this article provided some direction on selecting the right electric car. Visit Electric Driver to learn more about electric cars and get personalized information tailored to your needs. Please use our feedback form on the site or email info@electricdriver.co if we have not addressed your questions. Our goal is to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the benefits of electric car ownership.

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Researching Electric Cars

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 Car Charging Researching Electric Cars

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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Researching Electric Cars

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.