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.
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.
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.
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 emissionsper 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 websiteor 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 Driverlists 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 onthe 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 websiteand 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.
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:
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.
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 carlooks like let me provide some detail. First, your electric vehicle will provide you with directions to a 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Americaand Tesla’s private Superchargerare all DC fast charging providers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 creditstarts 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 costsare 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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if we have not addressed your questions. Our goal is to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the benefits of electric car ownership.
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 offand 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
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
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 creditof 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.
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 vehicleor go to Electric Driverif you are ready to dive in.
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.
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.
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.
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.
$.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.
“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.
find a great place to research cars (Done! You’re here already, good job!)
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
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.
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.
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.