The Pros And Cons Of Electric Vehicle Ownership

Every year new electric and hybrid cars hit the market. From budget-friendly U.S. manufacturers to luxury German brands, there’s an electric car at every price point and for every kind of driver these days.

But are they really better than traditional, gas-powered vehicles? Do the pros of driving an electric car outweigh the cons based on the latest technology, happenings and advancements?

The Pluses Of Electric Car Ownership

Electricity Costs Less Than Gas. Even with the recent drop in gas prices, you should still spend less on electricity for your electric vehicle (EV). This is especially true if you are able to plug in at public stations. You can use a resource like Alberta Energy Providers or Green Mountain Power to compare electricity rates in your area to make sure you’re getting the lowest rate for your home and car.

Tax Incentives. People who buy new electric and hybrid cars can recoup a large portion of the cost thanks to state and federal tax incentives. The federal tax credit for electric cars and plug-in hybrid cars is up to $7,500. There are also state tax credits that can help you get even more money back.

Reduced Emissions. In states like California where emissions are closely monitored, knowing that your vehicle will pass inspections is a good feeling.

Helping the Planet. Many people want to do their part to protect the environment. But that doesn’t mean they’re willing to forgo personal car ownership. Hybrid and electric vehicles are a great step in the right direction. In addition to reduced emissions, they dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels, which is helping drive down overall demand. If your electricity is generated using renewable resources it reduces the impact of your driving even more.

Lower Maintenance Costs. A vehicle requires maintenance to keep running smoothly. However an EV needs much less of it compared to gas-powered cars. For starters, there’s no need for oil. This eliminates the cost of the oil itself and paying a mechanic to change it. The brakes of EVs also tend to last longer so you don’t have to pay for new brake pads and replacement as often.

Designed for Performance. The design of electric vehicles isn’t hindered by having to work around a bulky engine. Engineers are developing new body styles with weight distribution focused on improving performance and handling.

The Minuses Of Electric Car Ownership

Limited Range. Range has always been the Achilles heel for electric vehicles. Americans like having the freedom to hit the open road and just go. To be fair, the range of all-electric and hybrid vehicles is getting better. Case in point, Ford’s newest C-Max Energi model can go up to 500 miles in hybrid mode. All-electric vehicles with bigger batteries are now capable of going over 100 miles. Chevy is also promising that the 2017 Bolt will be able to go up to 200 miles on a single charge.

Lack of Public Power Stations. Gas stations are everywhere. Plug-in stations are certainly harder to find, and near impossible to locate in many rural areas around the country. If you miscalculate your range you could find yourself stuck. Companies like Tesla and BMW are working on building out a connected infrastructure, but major changes are still years away. Tesla drivers are the only people that can drive across country in an all-electric car, however, you’d have to stick to specific routes. Where this becomes the biggest problem is for apartment dwellers. Few established apartment complexes have charging stations. When they do, the number of spaces is very limited.

The Cost of a Charging Station. When you go all-electric ou’ve got to figure out a way to charge your vehicle at home. Oftentimes that means investing in a charging station. Typically they cost around $1,000 installed.

The Cost of Replacement Batteries. The batteries in today’s EVs are expected to last 10 years before needing to be swapped. You’ll have quite a while to kick the can down the road if you buy new, but buying used can mean you’ll be faced with a major expense in a few years. The price of a new battery varies based on the car model and desired range, but they are well into the thousands.

Forgetting to Plug in Can Cause Problems. On those rare mornings when you get in the EV to head to work only to find you forgot to plug it in the night before, you’ll be wishing you had a gas engine. Luckily there are apps that can help you remember, but it’s always a possibility.

Ashley Andrews is a San Diego-based freelance writer who blogs on a wide range of green living, business, health and technology topics.

See also:
EarthTalk: What’s The Best Bang For My Buck On The New Plug-in Cars?
Why Aren’t Auto Manufacturers Producing Electric Cars?