Today’s world is looking more and more like the futuristic metropolis shown in old television shows and movies. While we haven’t made it to flying cars yet, electric cars offer a modern technology that didn’t seem possible only a few years ago — and they’re gaining in popularity. In 2020, there were 1.8 million electric vehicles on the road in the United States and The International Energy Agency predicts that 145 million electric vehicles could be on the road worldwide over the next decade compared to 10 million today. So, what is all the hype about and is an electric vehicle a good fit for you? Read on for some of the pros and cons of electric vehicles.
What Are the Basic Differences Between Plug-In Hybrid vs. Electric vs. Gas Cars?
- Electric vehicles (EVs) don’t use any gasoline and are powered by a high-voltage battery pack that feeds an electric motor and is charged by plugging into charging stations.
- Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) have an electric motor and a gas-powered engine. The electric engine is charged through regenerative energy from the car’s brakes, so you don’t have to plug it in to charge.
- Plug-in hybrid-electric plug-in (PHEVs) have an electric motor and a gas-powered engine, but the difference is that these cars are charged by plugging them into a charging station.
- Standard gas vehicles are the cars generally seen on the road. These cars typically use a spark-ignited internal combustion engine and require gasoline.
What Are the Pros of Electric and Hybrid-Electric Cars?
Both EVs and hybrid cars produce fewer harmful emissions than gas vehicles, providing a benefit of improved air quality for you, your family and your community. These cars are a great option for the environmentally conscious consumer and for anyone who lives in a state with controlled emissions standards. To date, 13 states have adopted California’s low-emission vehicle (LEV) and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standards requiring manufacturers to sell a certain number of ZEVs per year.
Because EVs have no engine, one of the main advantages of electric cars is that they don’t need to be serviced or have oil changes. That keeps more cash in your pocket. However, electric cars aren’t without maintenance entirely, as the batteries inside electric cars have a finite amount of life in them before needing to be replaced. Replacing the battery can be an expensive endeavor, so you’ll want to make sure you keep up on routine maintenance checks.
Only 15% of the energy in a gasoline-powered vehicle’s battery is transferred directly to powering the vehicle, whereas in an electric vehicle’s battery, 80% of the energy is sent directly to powering the automobile. This allows for extremely fast acceleration — there are plug-in EVs currently on the market that can go from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in under two seconds.
While the upfront cost of an electric car may be higher than a gas-fueled car, research from The Wall Street Journal found that over time, the average EV owner saves money because of lower fuel and maintenance costs. This can vary based on the price of electricity and gas where you live, but in general, paying to charge your car is usually cheaper than paying to fill your gas tank.
What Are the Cons of Electric and Hybrid-Electric Cars?
Limited Driving Range
According to Energy.gov, EVs can only drive 100 to 300 miles on a single charge, depending on the type. This means more frequent stops to charge your car compared to how often you may stop at a gas station.
Higher Purchase Price
EV’s can cost up to 40% more than a gas-fueled vehicle. However, there are federal tax credits for some makes and models. These credits can be around $7,500 and it’s worth inquiring about as you price shop for an EV.
Because EVs are still new and emerging, finding a charging station can be a challenge. According to WhiteHouse.gov, the U.S. is working towards a goal of 500,000 public charging stations and had more than 100,000 stations available as of March 2021. Some areas have more chargers than others, and the number of chargers in your area is something you’ll want to research and be aware of before purchasing an EV. Installing a charger in your home is also an option for more convenience. However, there is a cost for the home installation.
Should You Buy an Electric Car?
Do you think an all-electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid is a good fit for you and your lifestyle? Take our quiz to find which option meets your needs. No matter which car you choose, your local Farm Bureau agent is here to assist you with any auto insurance needs.