Electric vehicles are undoubtedly increasing in popularity across the U.S. The growing trend has even caught the attention of the federal government, which offers substantial tax savings on select new EVs. That said, there are several factors to consider if you are considering buying an electric car.
First, consider how you’ll drive the car on a daily basis. Most EVs have more than 200 miles of range on a single charge. That should be plenty for most commuters, however, if you drive hundreds of miles each day, an electric car may not be a practical choice alternative, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Next, consider a budget. EVs can start around $30,000 but run well into the six-figure range. The BBB recommends figuring out how much you can afford on monthly payments and not just spending the maximum amount on any loan you qualify for.
If the price tag has you rethinking, search for incentives. Special incentives can bring the price down to a more reasonable range. All-electric and even plug-in hybrid cars purchased new may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. Some states, local governments and electric companies even offer cash incentives not to mention local incentives like free parking, access to carpool lanes and free charging stations.
Perhaps most importantly, have a plan for charging. Some buyers may have the ability to charge at home or at work, via specialty 240-volt (level 2) charging cables which add roughly 25 miles of range per hour. The BBB says standard 110-volt wall outlets can do Level 1 charging, but they only add four miles of range per hour on average.
Keep in mind not all public charging stations are free. If you plan to use public charging stations at the office, investigate the cost ahead of time.
If you’re still on the fence about buying an EV, consider leasing options. The BBB says your monthly payments will be lower and you can find out if you like the quirks and features about daily driving an EV enough to buy one. If full-electric cars don’t interest you, plug-in hybrids may be another option for you.
Buying a used EV may be another method to get in at a lower price. However, the BBB says to mid the rapidly evolving technology. EVs can become outdated in just a few years. Some EV batteries may even lose their ability to charge. New buyers are encouraged to do thorough research before you closing the deal.