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Is an Electric Car Right for You?

Is an Electric Car Right for You?

Electric vehicles are increasing in popularity lately. Have you considered getting one? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of electric cars, so you can decide if owning one is right for you.

Great for the planet

There’s no doubt — electric vehicles are better for the environment. They don’t exhaust emissions into the atmosphere, and, as a bonus, you won’t need a smog check. They also don’t rely on fossil fuels, which are harmful to the planet to procure and burn and are non-renewable.

Electricity is considered a renewable resource, making electric vehicles more eco-friendly. Even when an electric car is charged using electricity from coal-fired power plants, it still causes a lot less emissions than an equivalent car that burns gasoline. Some parts of the US are legislating a change over to electric vehicles for the future. You can get ahead of the curve by owning one now.

Less expensive to operate

Electric vehicles are considerably less expensive to own over time than their gas-burning counterparts. There are no gasoline expenses and no oil changes. You can charge your electric vehicle at home with a home charging station, and most can simply be plugged into any standard 120-volt outlet for power.

Maintenance is generally less costly, especially when it comes to brakes, since many electric cars use the motors to slow the car down, a process which actually puts energy back into the car's battery. You may also qualify for tax breaks when you purchase an electric car.

Quieter

If you’ve ever had an electric vehicle sneak up on you, you know how quiet they are. If you would rather hear the sounds of nature or your car stereo without the growl of an engine interfering, an electric car may be just perfect for you. Overall, greater use of electric vehicles would reduce urban noise pollution, too.

More convenient

Electric vehicles are considered more convenient by people who own them. Many municipalities have dedicated lanes just for preferred electric cars and high-occupancy vehicles. And if waiting in line for gas is eating up your time – save time by charging at home while you sleep. This means that if you plug in every night, you'll be able to leave the house every morning with a “full tank.”

There are a few cons to owning an electric vehicle, but their fans typically find these are outweighed by their advantages.

May cost more to buy

In most cases, electric vehicles are more expensive than equivalent models that run on gas. You will likely save this price difference over time with ownership (by not having to buy gas or spend money on maintenance), but you will need the cash or financing up front. Expect the expense of electric cars to drop, however, as the technology improves and they become more part of the mainstream.

Fewer options

You won’t find as many options with electric vehicles as you will with other cars and trucks. Options are growing, but these vehicles still have some catching up to do.

Electric charging limitations

The biggest disadvantage to electric vehicles is the flip side of their advantage: limitations imposed by electric charging. It can be tough to find charging stations in some places, especially in rural areas, although that is certain to change over time.

You’ll want to be sure there are stations along the way or at work, for instance, if you plan to take a long trip or have a sizable commute. Most electric vehicles can’t travel as far on a single charge as a gas-powered vehicle can on one tank, though some can.

Refilling at the gas station can be a hassle, but once at the pump, it only takes a few minutes. However, electric vehicles typically need more time to charge. Depending on the model you select, how depleted the battery is, and how much range you want to add, it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. You need to plan that into your schedule, including any potential need for short-notice vehicle use.

A Final Consideration When Making the Switch

There is one last thing to think about when swapping your gas vehicle for an electric one: your auto insurance. Be sure to check with your insurance agent about what the cost of a new policy will be. As electric vehicles become more widespread, insurance is moving more on par with other cars. And owners say the advantages and overall cost savings by far make up for any increases to their premiums.