Electric Car

Buying an Electric Car? You Need to Know These 4 Secrets First

  • Electric cars are all the rage. The world is enticed by these electric vehicles that don't require gasoline, can go 300 miles on a charge and often handle very well. Tesla is helping push electric cars into the spotlight, with vehicles that go faster for longer, too.

    But buying a car is difficult enough when it's gasoline.

    When it comes to electric vehicles, a lot of small details are missed by first-time homebuyers. The way these vehicles operate is different, so there is a small adjustment period, too.

    1. There's a Major Difference Between EV, PEV and FCEV Models

    A lot of the electric vehicles that are coming out will fall into one of three different categories:

    1. EV
    2. PEV
    3. FCEV

    You'll also see some people calling these NEV or BEV models. EV and PEV are simply pure electric vehicles, while FCEV are fuel cell electric vehicles.

    What's the difference?

    EV and PEV models have ranges of up to 200 miles, with some manufacturers pushing these limits higher. In terms of eco-friendliness, the EV and PEV are the cleanest vehicles on the road. Instant-on torque makes riding an EV feel nice and provides quick power.

    FCEVs are hydrogen fuel cells, and whole these models are great, they're simply not widely available. These models refuel quickly, only emit water and use electricity differently than the EV and PEV models.

    So, what's the deal with FCEVs? The infrastructure needed to charge them is not widely available, so you'll only find these models sold in larger cities, such as Los Angeles.

    2. Charging Networks are Expanding

    I've started to see EV charging stations around town, and the infrastructure is expanding greatly. You'll find that there are EV charging networks in the United States, Canada and Europe, among other countries.

    Apps are available to help you plan out your vehicle's charging if you're going on a long trip.

    You'll find that there are still a disproportionate number of gas stations compared to charging stations, but a lot of companies are looking to change this trend. Plugshare is another great resource that allows you to find charging stations along your trip.

    It's all about keeping your vehicle charged, and charging network expansion means it's easier to fill up and get back on the road.

    You can also charge at your home, but you'll need a 120V outlet or a 240V upgraded outlet. The 240V option provides about 10 – 25 miles in range for every hour charged.

    3. You Can Apply for an Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

    The government wants you to do the right thing and become eco-friendly. And as a means of enticing you to purchase an electric vehicle, a tax credit is offered by the federal government and a number of states.

    The tax incentive can be as much as $2,500 - $7,500 from the federal government.

    The tax credit applies to your current tax year, lowering your tax burden and allowing you to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle faster. Make sure that you look for state incentives for buying an EV, too.

    4. Your Utility Company Wants to Know About Your EV

    Electric vehicles will consume more energy, and utility companies are here to help. You'll want to contact your utility to see what, if any, promotional plans are available. Oftentimes, the utility company will work out a plan to help you save money.

    "Time-of-use" rates are a very popular choice.

    What these rates offer is a lower price during off-peak hours. For example, in the middle of the night, the power grid isn't stressed and can handle more usage. Electric companies will offer a lower overall rate when charging at these times than in the middle of a summer's day when everyone is using their air conditioner or other heavy utility.

    Your utility company may also be providing incentives for you going electric.

    This means the potential to offer rebates on voltage upgrades in the home or other rebates to help you save money.

    Buying an electric vehicle is getting ahead of a trend that makes sense for the environment. And when you know what to expect – from buying your vehicle to charging it – the process is much easier. The tips above can help you decide if an EV is a good choice for you.