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Three Things To Know When Buying An EV

The world of electric vehicles (EVs) is becoming increasingly diverse. With many of the world’s major automakers releasing their first EVs and many more on the way, they’re garnering significant interest from car owners.

A Consumer Reports survey showed that two-thirds of Americans would be open to buying an EV.

We have a few tips that can make purchasing an EV easier.

1. Price

The average price for an electric vehicle is $56,437, putting it on the cusp of the luxury category. However, state and federal governments provide fairly significant tax breaks for EV buyers. The IRS currently offers a $7,500 non-refundable tax credit for the first 200,000 EVs an automaker sells in the US. The offer is available for every major manufacturer barring Tesla and General Motors. However, an updated list of which cars and brands qualify can be found on the Department of Energy’s website. In addition, many state governments have tax credit programs to assist and reward consumers who purchase an EV. Naturally, it varies from state to state, but a full list of states and the programs can be found on the Plug-In America website.

GM Ultium Battery // Photo Courtesy General Motors

2. Batteries

An EV battery should last between eight and ten years or about 100,000 miles as a general rule. However, EV batteries don’t just die suddenly, and they tend to lose efficiency after a few years of driving. One study from AAA said that batteries would lose between 5%-10% of their range over five years. Thankfully, many car companies have warranties and battery replacement programs for owners who need protection against battery failure. Some companies will only replace the battery if it completely fails, although companies like BMW, VW, Chevy, and Nissan will replace it when the capacity has decreased to a certain level; usually, around 60%-70%, provided it’s under warranty.

In addition, batteries are sensitive to temperature, and both high heat and below-freezing temperatures are known to put undue stress on the battery. The same AAA study suggested that EVs can lose around 40% of their range when the temperature drops from 75 degrees to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, making a car with a reported 250 miles range only operable for 150 miles. When choosing an EV, make sure that its range level is adequate for the wear and tear from harsh hot and cold weather conditions.

3. Charging

Charging and battery range have essentially gone hand in hand since the dawn of “range anxiety,” yet it’s important to note that range anxiety only exists when there is a lack of charging stations. When there are no charging stations, it’s essential to understand how the car’s real-world range changes based on the car’s age and the weather conditions it’s being exposed to.

However, thanks to initiatives from the Departments of Energy and Transportation, public charging stations are becoming more and more common every day. Public charging stations are generally one of two types of chargers. A Level 2 (240v) station, the most common type, can charge a car in 5-6 hours, and a Level 3 or Direct Current charger can fully charge a vehicle in under 40 minutes. The tricky part is that not all charging stations work for each vehicle, and four different plug types vary based on the type. While that may sound very complicated, most car manufacturers provide apps or integrated map settings that show which stations are within range.

Photo Courtesy dcbel


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