Understanding the Pros and Cons of Owning an Electric Vehicle
Deciding whether or not to purchase an electric vehicle can be a confusing and indecisive experience. While the technology is just beginning to emerge, electric vehicles can offer freedom from constant trips to the gas station, have a generally more efficient running engine and have the advantage of being more environmentally friendly.
But it’s important to consider a number of points relevant to your personal situation before deciding to take the plunge and join the increasing number of people who own an electric vehicle. In this article, we’ve assembled a list of the pros and cons of electric vehicle ownership to ensure you are making an informed decision.
Pros of Electric Vehicle Ownership:
No More Trips to the Gas Station
This is one of the first things people think about when they consider purchasing an electric vehicle. The idea that you can simply pull into your garage and plug your car in to charge overnight is an appealing one. While electricity isn’t free, it’s a great deal cheaper than buying gas for a year.
It’s estimated that the average American spends around $2000 to $4,000 on gas each year. Electricity would cost only a fraction of that. If you add a solar panel system to your home, it can help to further absorb the costs associated with charging your car.
Reduced Maintenance Costs
Owning a car can be very expensive. Regular maintenance through oil changes and brake replacement can become quite costly over time. While owning an electric vehicle doesn’t free you from all maintenance obligations, the costs can be significantly reduced.
EVs don’t need oil to lubricate the engine, making oil changes a thing of the past. The improved efficiency of the engine also helps reduce the wear on the brakes and extend the amount of time before they need to be replaced.
Since electric vehicles have no need of oil or gas, the need to extract the dwindling fossil fuel resources from the earth is reduced. The use of electricity also removes the need for a tailpipe to exhaust the emissions in an electric vehicle, resulting in less pollution being released into the atmosphere and improving the quality of the air in our communities.
A Quiet and Efficient Ride
The fact that electric vehicles run on an electric battery rather than an internal combustion engine makes for much quieter operation. This helps to reduce the noise pollution in our communities and makes for a more pleasant ride for the occupants of the vehicle.
The improved efficiency of an electric engine delivers a high amount of torque to the axle at a higher speed than traditional engines. This creates better acceleration and makes for a more satisfying driving experience through areas such as cities, which require frequent stopping and acceleration.
Engine vibration is also reduced, resulting in a smoother ride and quieter cabin. Although sometimes having a quiet-running engine can become a disadvantage. People used to being able to hear the approach of vehicles may not realize when an electric vehicle is approaching, creating the potential for accidents.
Cons of Owning an Electric Vehicle:
The biggest concern for people considering the purchase of an electric vehicle is its reliability on long trips. Electric vehicles are infamous for only being able to drive a short distance before requiring a lengthy recharge time. Adding to this problem is the fact that electric vehicle recharge stations are much more difficult to find than gas stations.
The less expensive EV models, such as the Nissan Leaf, can drive about 80 to 100 miles before requiring a re-charge. If you opt for one of the more expensive EVs, such as the Tesla Model S, you can double this distance.
Some range is also lost when driving in weather conditions which require the use of the heater or if your car has heated seats. Extended driving at night with the headlights on can also decrease the potential driving distance before recharge is necessary.
One way to offset the range limitations of an electric vehicle is to opt for a hybrid vehicle, which combines electric power with a reduced need for traditional fuel.
Long Recharge Time
The advantage of being able to charge your vehicle at home comes with a cost. While a trip to the gas station may take a few minutes, charging an electric vehicle to full takes about four to six hours or more. If possible, it’s advised to charge the car overnight so that you can wake up with a full battery in the morning.
If absolutely necessary, the car can be charged in shorter intervals, with every hour of charge time adding about 20 to 30 miles of driving distance.
The Expenses Involved in Buying and Owning an Electric Vehicle
The up-front cost of purchasing an electric vehicle is often more expensive than a gas-powered vehicle. Some of the cheapest models, such as the Fiat 500e or the Ford Focus Electric, run no less than about $30,000. Some of the high-end electric vehicles produced by Tesla and Mercedes-Benz can run anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 or more.
The initial cost of purchasing an EV is eventually offset by the savings in maintenance and fuel costs. The purchase price can even be reduced through tax incentives.
Advantages vs. Disadvantages of Owning an Electric Vehicle
Owning an electric vehicle comes with a number of benefits which include removing the need to fill up at the gas station, driving a more environmentally friendly vehicle, reduction of regular maintenance costs and having a quiet running and smooth ride.
But the disadvantages involved are also worth considering. Electric vehicles often take a long time to charge, it can be difficult to find charging stations when on the road and the initial cost of purchasing an EV is more than when buying a traditional vehicle. Also, the short-range that electric vehicles can drive before recharging makes them most efficient when driving around the town you live in, rather than for long-distance driving.
Whether to buy an electric or a traditional vehicle will depend on the type of driving you do regularly, your budget and your ability to charge the car regularly in a convenient manner. Once you’ve considered your personal needs, you’ll be able to make the right choice and enjoy your vehicle purchase for many years to come.