What electric car best fits our family’s needs was the question my wife and I faced back in 2018. Our aging Toyota Highlander needed several thousand dollars in repairs. Instead of sinking more money into an old vehicle, we decided to buy a new car. Owning an electric car appealed to both my wife and we knew very little about them. So I began to do my homework on electric vehicles and see if they made any sense.
Researching electric cars ended up taking more work than I expected. My search took me to numerous car websites, message boards, and discussions with electric car owners. The big, well-established car sites provided cursory information while enthusiast electric car editorial sites spoke to the converted. Getting information a first-time electric car buyer would find useful was difficult to find. In the end, we bought an electric car and have been very happy with our purchase. But, looking back, I thought to myself there had to be a better way to research the right electric vehicle.
Research Starts with your needs.
When you look to buy a product or service, you search for a solution to your problem. In our case, when we wanted to buy an electric car, we needed a vehicle that could seat seven, travel at least 200 miles on a charge, be safe, reliable, and we wanted to cut our monthly gas bill. Our list of needs served as a checklist to evaluate which electric cars were contenders. Whenever you shop for a high-priced item like a car that will stay with you for years, spend the time determining what is important to you. Your needs are what will guide you to a better purchase decision.
When We Shop We Compare
when considering a purchase, you make decisions, evaluate between multiple imperfect options, and find the solution that best meets your needs. Whether it’s deciding which college to attend, what movie to watch, or what car to buy, our nature is to compare and evaluate trade-offs between available options. In our example, our search at the time had us selecting between two choices, a Tesla Model X or Tesla Model Y. When using our list of needs to evaluate each vehicle, the seating was the tiebreaker for us. The Tesla Model X won out in the end because the seven-seat option was roomier and had more interior space.
You need to know what is important to you going into the shopping process in order to make better decisions. Make sure you do your homework and leave no stone unturned when looking for suitable options to evaluate. The worst feeling is purchasing a high-priced vehicle only to find out your search overlooked a better option.
Car Search is Broken
Now that we have covered the importance of needs and suitable vehicle options, we need to discuss the car sites you look to aid you in this effort. Unfortunately, the big-name car sites many of us turn to have several shortcomings that end up doing a poor job of meeting our needs as consumers. The first shortcoming begins with how these car sites help you search. Like we discussed, whenever you turn to buy a product, you are looking to fulfill a need. In my case, our family needed a safe, reliable, seven-seat electric car with a 200-mile range.
Today, Car sites prompt you to search for a car by body site or vehicle model. You are forced to look through pages of content searching for electric cars that best fit your needs. The search by body style or model works well if you know what car you are looking for but is of little help if you have not settled on a specific vehicle.
If you have not settled on a vehicle, searching through countless pages of information is time-consuming, and unless you look at every vehicle, you may miss out on a vehicle candidate that meets your needs.
Display Ads lead to Poor Experiences.
Part of the reason car sites make you look through countless pages is financial. Most publishers make money by displaying advertisements on their websites. Therefore, the More pages car sites show you, the more money they make. As a result, they have an incentive to show you as many pages as possible when you visit their website. Any feature that will reduce the number of pages you will consume makes these car websites less money. Therefore many of these car websites place a gauntlet of pages in front of their visitors.
The last but vital reason car sites do a poor job of covering electric cars again is financial. Gas-powered cars make up 98% of the automotive market. As a result, car sites focus most of their resources and mindshare to make money off the gas-powered auto market. As a result, electric cars are not a major priority for most car websites at this time.
A Better Way to Research Electric Cars
Having experienced difficulties researching, finding the right electric car, we decided there had to be a better way. Electric Driver is my opportunity to create a better way to research and find the right electric car for you. We believe electric cars are the present and the future. Therefore Electric Driver’s only focus is electric cars. Focusing exclusively on electric cars allows us to create an experience completely dedicated to addressing the unique needs and questions that arise from electric car shopping.
Helping Shoppers Transition to EV owners
Electric cars can save you time, money and reduce your emissions, leading to a healthier environment. Our goal is to help show you the benefits of owning an electric car. We feel once you experience these benefits electric cars provide, you will have a hard time going back to a gas-powered car. Before we go on, I won’t ask for your help. When visiting Electric Driver, if you do not see an answer to an important question you have, please let us know. We want to create a better experience and need your help creating this better way to research electric cars.
Start With Needs-Based Search
As we mentioned earlier, any shopping journey begins with knowing what needs are important to you. For example, when my family was shopping for an electric car, we needed a safe, reliable seven-seater that could go 200 miles on a single charge. So when you turn to Electric Driver, our job should be to find out what is important to you and only show you electric cars that most closely meet your needs. Our solution is what we call a needs-based search. We ask you to tell us how many people you need to transport, how far you need to drive on a single charge, and what criteria are important.
Electric Driver then goes to work matches you with the vehicles the most closely match your needs. The specific needs we use on Electric Driver result from countless interviews and feedback from people like you.
Helping You Compare and Evaluate
Once you enter your information into Electric Driver’s needs-based search, we go to work. First, our website goes through all available electric cars to find which ones best meet your needs. Then Electric Driver presents you with the top three electric cars that most closely meet your needs within your budget. Next, based on your needs Electric Driver shows you evaluate all three vehicles and shows you the trade-offs between all three options. Furthermore Electric Driver also identifies which vehicle is the closest match. If for some reason, you do not like a specific vehicle, you can replace it with another electric car of your choosing. Once you have identified a potential candidate, you are ready to learn more about that specific vehicle.
Basic Overview plus the Pros and Cons
Once you have identified a vehicle you want to learn more about, we have more detailed information. Our approach is to help give you a picture of what it would be like to switch from your gas-powered car to an electric vehicle. For example, a question many people have is how much money I would save if I drove an electric car. Electric Driver can estimate how much you could save by switching to an electric car. In the background, we use gas and electricity prices in your state to give you a local estimate.
The image below is the overview section for a 2021 Tesla Model 3 to illustrate what you can expect. We also share with you some benefits and drawbacks of owning an electric car.
Estimated Cost To Own an Electric Car
Another question you may have is how much does it cost to own an electric car. Specifically, how much can I expect to pay for maintenance, electricity, and insurance? Electric Driver provides estimated costs for maintenance, insurance, and electricity based on each specific electric car. In addition, electric Drive estimates cost based on what state you live in and what electric car you are considering. We also provide an estimate of what a gas vehicle would cost to own to help you visualize what you can expect to save by switching to an electric car.
Electric Car Environmental Impact
Understanding what kind of environmental impact switching from a gas to an electric car is not clearly understood by many people. You know electric cars are better for the environment but probably don’t have a deeper understanding. Electric Driver set out to find out more about the environmental impact. Electric Driver developed a feature to give you insights into the environmental benefits of owning an electric car. We created an electric car model-specific feature that shows how much carbon emissions you will save.
Electric cars are a good choice for the environment, but they do not eliminate emissions. Specifically, when you buy electricity from your electric utility, you may be creating some emissions in the process. Each state has various means they generate electricity including, coal plants, petroleum, hydroelectric, nuclear, or renewables. For example, electricity from coal creates more emissions than electricity from renewable resources. Electric Driver gives you insight into where your electricity is coming from and how much emissions you create.
Rest assured, the emissions from electricity is in most cases, will be much less than what a gas-powered car creates. Ideally, the better option is to buy your own solar panels and further reduce your environmental emissions. Below is a rendering of our environmental impact feature, which should be available in August 2021.
Understanding your Electric Car
Once you have a leading contender, the next step is to learn more about the specific electric car. Specifically, you want to see how the electric vehicle could fit into your life. Now looking beyond you core needs is acceptable because you are trying to figure out how this vehicle can fit into your life. Understanding the warranty, reliability, and other features will help you visualize what owning this electic vehicle would look like.
EV Charging In Your Area
An Important yet overlooked question people may not consider is an electric vehicle charging in their area. Your electric vehicle will do most of its charging at home overnight, but there may be times you need to charge away from home. Therefore, you will need to have electric vehicle charging infrastructure in your area.
No Display Ads on Electric Driver
We want to create a better way to research the right electric car, and display ads will get in the way. By skipping display advertisements, Electric Driver can remove unwanted distractions. By having Electric Drive be display advertisment free you are free of influence allowing you to be clear-headed when selecting the electric car that is right for you.
An Electric Car Centric Experience
Electric Driver wants to make finding the right electric car easy for you. So Electric Driver created a unique electric car research experience designed to help you identify and select the right electric car with ease and no distractions. If you encounter a question on your electric vehicle journey that we don’t answer yet, let us know. We aim to get more people to save time, money and reduce their emissions by owning an electric car.