Electric vehicles sound good on paper, but are they worth buying? Hypothetically, electric vehicles are cleaner, using less energy and saving money when compared to their gas counterparts. Add in the prospect of a government rebate, and the deal looks even more attractive. But if you want to make the best decision for your needs, you’ll need to consider all the important factors.
Availability and Variety
Today, there are more types of electric vehicles than ever before. This is no longer a mere novelty, showcased as a proof of concept by a handful of major car manufacturers. Instead, this is an established type of vehicle produced by almost every vehicle manufacturer on the planet. There are compact electric vehicles, electric SUVs, electric trucks, and even electric commercial vehicles available for full fleets. Whatever type of vehicle you’re looking for, there’s probably an electric version worth considering.
Though it might be minor on your list of considerations, one of the most interesting advantages of driving an electric vehicle is its low level of noise. EVs produce very minimal sound when running, making the experience more pleasant for drivers and passengers alike. In some cases, this can be a disadvantage; if other drivers on the road can’t hear you, they may not be able to respond to you as effectively. But for the most part, this is a great added bonus.
Power and Speed
Some people are concerned that EVs simply aren’t as powerful or as fast as their gas-powered counterparts. This is a legitimate concern, as vehicles fueled by gasoline and diesel do tend to have higher top speeds. But there are many electric vehicles designed with speed in mind, and they’re capable of well-exceeding speed limits in most areas of the world. On top of that, electric engines provide ample torque, making them just as powerful as most of their traditional counterparts.
There’s no getting around the fact that electric vehicles tend to be more expensive than others. These are more complex machines that require rarer and more expensive materials, so it’s only natural that you’ll have to pay a little bit extra upfront.
Rebates and Special Programs
Governments all over the world are looking for ways to incentivize people to switch to cleaner, more sustainable choices. Accordingly, these organizations typically offer rebates and special programs to make electric vehicles either more attractive or affordable to local populations. If you look for electric vehicle rebates relevant to you, you’ll probably find some mitigating the initial purchase price.
The cost of purchasing an electric vehicle is an important consideration, but we also have to keep in mind the long-term costs of ownership. Electricity costs money, and you’ll use electricity to keep your vehicle charged, but in many cases, you’ll spend far less on electricity than you would on gasoline. Over the course of a few years and possibly even a few months, your vehicle could end up paying for itself.
Distance and Logistics
How far can you drive in an electric vehicle? Historically, EVs have struggled with driving distance. But modern iterations of these vehicles are capable of traveling hundreds of miles on a single charge, making it possible to tackle all but the longest trips without ever having to visit a charging station. In the future, when electric vehicles are even more advanced and charging stations are even more common, this will become less of a concern.
What happens if you need a charge? There are 140,000 individual charging ports distributed across 53,000 public charging stations in the U.S., with similarly dense EV charger distributions across the developed world. Historically, charging stations were sparse and hard to find, but as electric vehicles become more popular, charging stations are going to become more plentiful.
One of the most common motivations for purchasing an electric vehicle is to benefit the environment; as the story goes, electric vehicles produce fewer emissions and are, therefore, better for environmental sustainability. This equation is a complicated one, but generally, EVs are better for the environment than their gas-powered counterparts, even if the electricity that charges them is associated with some pollution.
Maintenance and Repairs
EVs generally require fewer maintenance and repairs than other vehicles. The flip side of this is that repairs tend to be more expensive when you do have to address them.
The Future of Electric Vehicles
One thing that makes electric vehicles especially compelling as a purchase is their future potential. EVs have many advantages in their current state, and those advantages are only going to grow in the future. As vehicles get cheaper, more efficient, and easier to manage, they’re going to become competitively dominant.