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Driving Electric Cars Electric Car Charging

How to Own an Electric Car and Live in an Apartment

Considering buying an electric car, but Not Sure how to charge an electric car at an apartment?

Living in an apartment certainly presents more challenges with charging an electric vehicle, but don’t be discouraged.  There are many solutions to charge an electric car at an apartment with no charging stations.

It is estimated that nearly 39 million people in the United States call apartments home, and demand for apartments continues to rise across the globe.  But, many apartment complexes still do not offer charging stations for electric vehicles as demand grows and commitment from governments and auto manufacturers to produce more electric vehicles increases.

Now, if you’re really serious about buying an electric vehicle, it’s time to get creative to make your dreams come true.

Charge at Work

If you still work at a physical office and commute to an office, this is the easiest (and one of the cheapest) solutions. More and more companies are providing EV charging for their employees, so if your company provides chargers, you can charge up all day and leave work on a full charge.

If you commute to work, but your office does not provide EV charging, there is still hope. Many companies receive incentives for providing EV charging to their employees.  Why not ask and see if they are open to it? It’s likely you won’t be the first one, so the more interest they have, the more likely they would consider providing this perk to their employees.

Find Public EV Chargers Nearby

Find public charging stations near your home or office or any other place you visit frequently like a mall, restaurant, or gym.  There are many apps like Chargemap, Chargepoint, and Plugshare that show EV charging stations nearby, with photos, reviews, and real-time availability.  Even Google Maps lets you search for “EV charging stations“.

Plug Into a Wall Outlet

With a heavy duty extension cord, it is possible to charge your vehicle by running it from an outlet in your apartment to your vehicle.  This would be considered Level 1 charging where you are plugging the vehicle into a standard 120-volt outlet. If this is an option for you based on your parking, you will generally get a few miles of charge per hour or about 20-50 miles of charge over 10 hours.  If you commute less than 50 miles per day, you could plug your EV in every night and have close to a full charge the next morning.

Ask Your Landlord or Property Manager to Install an EV Charging Station

If you haven’t struck up a conversation yet with your property manager about EV charging stations, now may be a better time than ever.  As more and more people start to consider electric vehicles, apartment complexes will eventually have no choice but to install charging stations.  It is possible that your landlord has been considering this, but is waiting for more tenants to request EV charging.

Installing EV charging for tenants benefits both the tenant and property.  It would allow the apartment to advertise EV charging as an amenity and potentially charge higher rents.  Much of this would depend on the parking situation and the type of complex you live in.  It could be in the best interest of the property to consider this sooner rather than later.

Companies like Chargepoint and EverCharge work with your property to install EV charging stations on site.  ChargePoint even offers a template letter you can send to your landlord.  The apartment may pay for installation, but ask tenants to pay a small monthly maintenance fee.  This is in addition to all usage costs from charging your vehicle.  So, this may not be your best choice.

Look for Apartments Nearby with EV Charging Stations

If all else fails, it might be time to search for apartments in your area with EV charging stations.  If your lease is expiring soon and you were already considering moving, this could be your opportunity.  Find a place that offers EV charging, so that you can finally purchase that electric vehicle you’ve been eying.

Owning an Electric Vehicle while Living in an Apartment

Consider purchasing an electric vehicle with a longer-range battery, even if you don’t plan on taking long road trips.  The extra cost upfront could make up for the time spent charging.

All electric vehicles have different battery ranges, but most use the same charging methods.

Charging Types

  • Level 1 charging uses a standard 120V outlet, the same you’d plug your toaster into.  This gives about 3.5 to 6.5 miles of range per hour or up to 60 miles in 10 hours.
  • Level 2 charging uses a 240-volt outlet, the same you plug your oven or clothes dryer into. This gives about 12 to 35 miles of range per hour or up to 350 miles in 10 hours. Likely a full charge.
  • Level 3 charging, or superchargers (DC fast charging), gives about 90 miles in 30 minutes. These are typically only found in public charging stations.

Understanding the  different types of EV charging may also be helpful so that you can make an informed decision on how best to charge.

Charging electric vehicle

Owning an electric vehicle, even if you live in an apartment with no chargers, doesn’t have to stop you from purchasing your first electric car.  You may need to get creative and use multiple methods of charging listed here, but if you are really set on buying an electric car, you can make it work!

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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.