There is no shortage of electric car options. Almost 100 electric vehicles are now on the market, which include hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV) and battery-electric vehicles (BEV). This is not surprising as more people are now considering shifting to electric, not only for the environment but also for the ways that an electric car can save you money.
Electric cars offer plenty of benefits, but there are two main ones. One, they significantly reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (and other pollutants) which is good for the environment and for your health. Two, they are cheaper to run. This article focuses on how owning and driving an electric car can save you money.
How do electric cars save you money?
Aside from reducing your carbon footprint, an electric car can save you thousands of dollars each year. Based on DOE calculators the average cost of electricity for a Chevy Bolt is around $430 annually, given typical driving. Whereas, the average cost to operate a gas-powered vehicle is $1,500. You can save a thousand dollars operating an electric car.
Keep in mind though that fuel costs differ significantly by car type, ranging from 3.68 cents for an EV to 13.88 cents per mile for a pickup. On average, new car owners will spend a bit more than 10 cents per mile which is around $1,500 per year to fuel their cars.
Another thing to take note is that electric costs also differ significantly per state. Certain states such as Alaska and Hawaii have a high energy cost which could increase your electric bill. Still, the cost of electricity to run a car is lower than the cost an average driver spends on gas.
EV buyers can also enjoy a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 with the purchase of a plug-in car or an all-electric car. The amount of the tax credit will depend on the size of the car. Certain states also have their own tax credits for electric vehicles.
However, there is a limitation. The tax credit is only available for each manufacturer until 200,000 cars have been sold.
You can also save a lot of money because electric cars are cheaper to maintain. The price of an electric vehicle may be similar to most comparable fuel-powered cars, but the cost of running one is significantly cheaper particularly over the full lifetime of the car.
Other than tax incentives and special government grants, and the lower cost of electricity mentioned previously, you’ll also save money thanks to hybrids’ enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance requirements.
Fully electric vehicles are designed to be as efficient as possible. They consist of 3 main parts powering the car–the inverter, motor and the on-board charger. Because of this setup, there is far less wear and tear on the vehicle and little stress on the motor, with less moving parts prone to damage. Hence, it’s rare for you to require servicing on your EV and the running and repair expenses are minimal.
Is an electric car worth the money?
Yes, it is worth it. Fuel prices cost twice more than what they did 20 years ago. One of the most expensive parts of owning a vehicle is fuel. There are many ways to reduce car costs, but some people are turning to electric vehicles to get from point A to B. Almost 900,000 EVs were on the road in 2018, sales boosted 40 percent last year.
For you to find out if an electric car is worth the money, it’s best to know more about what an electric car is. First, as the name implies, an electric car is any type of vehicle that can be powered by electricity. They come in 2 types: all-electric cars and hybrids. Purely electric vehicles run completely from a battery or fuel cell. To recharge an electric car battery, you can plug them into an external power source. On the other hand, hybrids derive energy from both gas and electricity, and are not required to be plugged in for recharging the battery.
Tesla is one of the more popular electric car brands. Most of its models are expensive but need less maintenance than other luxury cars. But overall, getting an electric car has more advantages than disadvantages. Knowing if an electric car is ideal for you also depends on how often you will drive the vehicle.
For many electric cars, its main use is for commuting. Some also use their electric vehicles for road trips. Elaine Borseth, a President at Electric Vehicle Association of San Diego who owns a Tesla Model S and has used her electric car on numerous cross-country road trips. She also stated that EVs can support any type of lifestyle, and added you can save money because there is virtually no maintenance to them.
What are the disadvantages of electric cars?
Of course, owning an electric car is not all good. It also comes with a few disadvantages and ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if the benefits of owning an electric car outweigh its disadvantages.
- Electric vehicles have a shorter range than conventional fuel-powered vehicles. Car manufacturers are looking for more ways to make EVs go farther, but they still have shorter range than conventional cars. Typically, an electric car can go between 60 and 100 miles when they are fully charged. Depending on the fuel economy of a car and the size of its fuel tank, traditional cars can make it up to 400 miles.
- Recharging the battery of an electric car takes time. It will only take you up to 3 minutes at the gas station to fill up your tank, but recharging the battery will take a lot longer than that. The charging time will depend on the model. Some EVs can take up to 20 hours to fully charge, but newer and more expensive models can charge in as quickly as 4 hours. You can also opt for a hybrid so you won’t need to plug it in to charge its battery.
- EVs are usually more expensive than conventional cars. Electric cars are usually more expensive upfront and require additional infrastructure such as a charger which can cost you a few more hundred dollars. But in the long run, the additional costs can be offset by electric cars’ cheaper operation and maintenance costs.
- It can sometimes be hard to find a charging station. For longer trips, you are likely to have to find a place to charge your EV. You cannot always rely on a listed place online for charging is actually working when you need it. Newer electric cars can go 200 miles without the need of charging, but it’s important to think about where you can plug your car in, when you can charge it and what kind of charger is needed.
- Depreciate more than traditional cars. According to AAA, EVs lost $5,704 off their original value, which is higher than most gas-powered cars.
What is the best electric car on the market?
Carmakers are making more electric cars. There are plenty of options to choose from, but we narrow down the list to help you decide on the best electric car for your needs:
The best electric car you can buy this 2020 is the Nissan Leaf. The 2018-2019 model delivers an EPA-estimated 150-mile range on a full charge. It is powered by a 110-kW electric motor with a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery. If you want more miles before charging, you have the option to go with a 2019 Leaf Plus model with an EPA-estimated range of 226 miles on full charge. It also leaves plenty room for cargo. The 2027-2019 Leaf comes standard with cloth upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, rearview monitor, 16-inch steel wheels and six-way manually adjustable driver seat.
Here are the runner-ups in no particular order:
Chevy Bolt EV
The 2017-2019 models come with advanced tech, ample space and impressive power. These models produce 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft torque thanks to its high capacity electric motor. It can reach speeds of 60 mph from 0 in only 6.5 seconds. You can go the distance with its 238 miles estimated EPA driving range on a full charge. You won’t have a problem loading groceries and school bags with its 16.9 cu-ft cargo space. The 2017-2019 Chevy Bolt base trims are loaded with advanced tech features including rear-vision camera, teen driver system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, LED headlamps and taillamps and Onstar functionality.
Ford Focus Electric
The hatchback 2017-2018 Focus Electric offers lots of practicality and driveability. It offers a comfortable ride over bumps and is sporty around turns. Its estimated EPA range is 115 miles on a full charge so you can go the distance before you’ll need to charge your battery. Its design is also very useful, providing 14.2 cu-ft of cargo space for luggage or groceries.
This EV comes standard with an 8-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen, voice-activated navigation system, dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and reverse sensing system.
Mercedes Benz B250e
This EV takes comfort and performance to a whole new level. 2016-2017 Mercedes Benz B250e models are equipped with a 177-hp 132-kilowatt electric motor and 28-kWh lithium-ion battery. They can go 87 miles on a full charge. It also comes with the regenerative braking system which you can control manually using steering wheel paddle shifter. This way you can set the amount of regeneration based on your driving conditions.
It has generous head- and legroom for both front and back passengers. The B250e also has spacious cargo space. It comes standard with front-collision mitigation system, 7-inch display screen with COMMAND interface, LED daytime running lights, driver seat memory setting and MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery.
Chevrolet Spark EV
This Chevy EV is ideal for those looking for a small electric car that can move fast. Spark EV is equipped with a 105-kW electric motor and ana 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery. The 2016 model has a 0-to-60 mph time of only 7.2 seconds. It’s also well-balanced around turns. It has an EPA-estimated range of 82 miles on a full charge. The 2016 Chevy Spark EV comes in 2 trims.
The entry-level trim comes standard with a regenerative braking system, 6-speaker audio system, 7-inch touchscreen display, 120V onboard charger, and equipped with Onstar functionality.
The 2017-2019 models are fun to drive and have ample space for 4 passengers. The cargo space is also generous with 15.1 cu-ft of volume that can fit golf clubs and luggage. Its base single electric motor and single-speed transmission produces 170-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. However, if you want high range figures, go with the 2019 model, having an EPA-estimated range of 153 miles on full charge. This year model also offers a gasoline generator range extender to boost the range to 200 miles with a full charge and full tank of gas.
All 2017-2019 i3 base trims have these standard features: automatic climate control, rain-sensing automatic headlights, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirror, center armrest and dynamic cruise control.
Regardless of what model you choose, an electric vehicle is a smart way for daily commute and a great way to reduce car emissions.
Find out which electric cars have the longest range, click here.
Electric cars may usually cost more upfront, but there are many ways that an electric car can save you money. The cost of running them is a lot cheaper particularly over the full lifetime of your car. This is more than enough to offset the more expensive cost of buying one. It is also a lot cheaper to maintain electric cars since they have fewer moving parts that are likely to get damaged.
The average cost of running an electric car per year is also significantly lower than what the average driver spends on gas yearly. Buying an electric car also makes you eligible for tax credits. Aside from saving money, shifting to electric cars will also help you combat pollution. You are saving money while doing a favor to the environment and to the future generation.