by Amy Lillard
(3/25/2013) Electric cars may be the future of the automotive industry. Cars like those manufactured by Tesla represent an exciting new advancement for consumers and the environment. But what do you need to know when considering an electric car? In this series, we examine key information to help you step into the future.
Before buying a car, consumers need to think critically about what they need. Whether it’s a car with good gas mileage, tons of hauling space, or the best deal within a budget, knowing what’s right for you before stepping on a lot is a key way to a successful purchase.
When considering an electric car, the question is even more important.
How do you know if an electric car is right for you?
Short-range driver. If your car trips are typically less than 40 miles per day, which is fairly average among U.S. drivers, electric vehicles may be a good choice. Currently most electric vehicles have a range of up to 100 miles before they need recharging. If you do need to occasionally make longer journeys and have access to another vehicle, this is still a good option.
Charge station availability. With each electric vehicle comes a standard charging mechanism for your home, and at least one option for faster home charging. But what about other charge stations? Do you have a place available at your workplace? This becomes more important if you’re likely to forget to recharge overnight at home.
Time for charging. Currently charging can be a major time commitment. With standard-issue charging plugs providing by the manufacturer, fully charging your vehicle could take around 20 hours, depending on the car. If you opt for the faster charging station (called “Level 2” chargers) for an additional price, charging time is cut in half. But you’ll still need a regular system for remembering to charge overnight, or find another means of setting aside enough time to recharge.
Environmental focus and/or sick of gas. If you’re passionate about sustainability and reducing your environmental footprint, the electric car is a terrific advancement and option for you. Generally, using electricity is a cleaner choice than burning gasoline. Statistics suggest that if 14 million electric vehicles are on the roads of America in 2020 (which is the current projection from studies), this could lead to a reduction of 65 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Alternatively, if you’re simply sick of gas prices skyrocketing, going electric could help you skip the whole ordeal.
Financially fluid. Electric cars require more cost upfront than regular, gas-powered cars. But numerous calculations and studies have shown that the reduced costs on the back end, through less gas and maintenance, brings the total cost of ownership close to equal. If you’re able to justify the higher initial expense, electric cars may be a good option.
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