With prices seemingly changing almost every day, the cost of gasoline is one of the most volatile expenses in family budgets. Luckily, there are increasingly popular alternatives to driving gas-powered cars, and electric cars (EVs) are a notable one.
Unlike conventional cars, EVs are powered strictly by electricity sourced from a large pack of batteries and do not burn petroleum as a result. Moreover, the price of electricity is relatively cheap and doesn’t fluctuate as much as that of gasoline.
But as compelling as EVs are as a mode of transportation, they are not right for everyone, and there are many factors to consider before getting one for yourself. Here they are, courtesy of the guys at Metro Kia Atlanta.
1. Initial Cost: Arguably the biggest factor people take into consideration when shopping for a new car is the upfront cost, which is generally higher for EV than their gas-powered counterparts. A relatively high price, unfortunately, makes electric cars unattainable for many households.
2. Tax Incentives: Environmental concerns has impelled many first-world governments to accelerate the adoption of electric cars and other alternative-powered vehicles, and one way they are doing so is to provide financial incentives that help offset their relatively hefty costs. In the U.S., in particular, buyers of EVs are eligible for $7,500 in federal tax credits and possibly thousands more in state-level credits. These incentives can mean the difference in whether buying an EV makes financial sense or not.
3. Range: The biggest downside of owning an electric car is the dreaded range-anxiety. Most can only travel 50 miles (80 km) to 150 miles (256 km) on a fully-charged battery pack, making long road trips a near impossibility considering the very limited number of charging stations that exist. While this makes electric cars an inconvenience for many people, they can still be great for city living.
4. Efficiency: What electric cars lack in driving range, they make up in efficiency, especially with regards to saving money. In fact, the U.S.’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had to create a new measure for EVs to quantify their fuel efficiency — miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe), a figure that represents the number of miles a vehicle can travel using a quantity of “fuel” with the same energy content as one gallon of gasoline. Most electric cars get over 100MPGe, so that makes them very efficient and cheap to operate.
5. Cost Over Time: Thanks to the high efficiency, cheap cost of electricity and all the money will save from not having to pay for gasoline, breaking even with a mainstream, reasonably-priced electric car isn’t a hassle and can be achieved in a few years. Keep the car long enough and you will actually save money. Shocking, I know…
6. Environmental Factors: Electric cars are very environmentally-friendly. Whereas the EPA estimates that gasoline emits almost 10,000 grams of CO2 per gallon, EVs have close to zero emissions. Regardless of what you think about global warming, the fact remains that electric cars pollute the air much less than gas-powered vehicles.
So there you have it — the various factors that you should consider before choosing an electric vehicle over a gas-powered one. Although electric cars that don’t benefit from government incentives are more expensive upfront, owning one for many years could actually end up being less costly than owning a gas-powered car over the same period of time. Additionally, as car companies continue to produce more electric cars to meet the steadily growing demand for them, you can bet they will become much more affordable in the coming years and decades.