Purchasing an EV

Discussion in 'General' started by Stephanie Bina, Feb 12, 2018.

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  1. Stephanie Bina

    Stephanie Bina New Member

    I am thinking about buying a car that’s better for the environment, but I have no idea where to start. I’m fairly young and haven't purchased a car before, let alone a hybrid or electric vehicle. I was hoping to get some insight from anyone with experience in this market. Some of my main questions are:

    1. What factors should I take into consideration when shopping?

    2. Are there any big differences in maintenance (oil changes, etc)?

    3. Are you finding it easy/convenient to charge your car? If you have a charging port at your house, has it dramatically increased your electricity bill?

    4. What’s better: a hybrid, a hybrid plug-in or full electric?
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  3. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    1. How far is your daily commute? Do you have access to a second car for the times during the year that you drive longer (vacation, visiting family, etc.?) The electric car will probably become your main car, but occasionally you will run into it's biggest limitation, which is range. My wife drives 15 miles to work and back every day so an electric car is perfect for that. In our 2013 Leaf she can make the round trip twice if she wants before the battery starts to get low.

    2. Electric cars have almost zero maintenance. There is no oil, no belts, no spark plugs. The only thing we do is every year get the tires rotated and the cabin filter changed. We change the filter ourselves which costs about $30 for a new one. If you get an electric/hybrid mix then you start getting into oil changes and all the other things a gas car would have, you just won't be changing them as often.

    3. Do you have a garage? That is the easiest solution, but so long as you have a reliable place where you can park your car that has power is the most important thing. We have a 240 volt charger in our garage that charges way faster than a regular house outlet. I recommend that, especially if you go full electric and not an electric/hybrid mix.

    4. If you drive long distances then you should go with a hybrid or electric hybrid. If you stay local then an electric might work better. I still say an electric makes great sense if you have a second car. We just replaced our Prius hybrid car with the Clarity hybrid electric, but we also have an all electric Leaf. We barely use gas at all, but sometimes having gas in the Clarity comes in handy.

    So to go all-electric I would say if you have a garage and a second car then it is a safe choice, especially if you can install a fast charger at your house. If it is your only car or you don't have easy access to electricity then a hybrid might make more sense. Just know that if you do have a gas car and you get an electric car you will barely use the gas car anymore. Partly because you feel better driving an electric car but also because driving an electric car is fun. Get behind the wheel and you will know what I mean, those things have some serious pep!
    dstrauss and Kendalf like this.
  4. I'm sure the community here would love to offer some suggestions, so here's a few things we'd want to know first:
    How far do you typically drive in a day, and what is the furthest you sometimes drive?
    Do you have the ability to charge at home?
    Form factor. Do you prefer hatchbacks, sedans, crossovers or sportscars, etc?
    Approximate budget?

    Depending on your needs and which state you are in, leasing may be a good option instead of buying outright.

    Finally, I think I can answer number your number three. Charging is pretty easy after having the charging box (commonly referred to as an EVSE) installed in your garage or driveway. Usually just plug it in when you get home, unplug it when you leave. The cost of electricity should be half to one-third of your usual gas bill.
  5. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    This could be affected by where she lives and when she might be charging. For example, if she lives in a state where gas is still under $3/gal but electrical rates are determined by time of use, it could be the case that she'd be unwittingly charging during her highest rate hours. So that'd be something to be considered (which shouldn't have to be, but for new owners in particular no one tells them this - especially the PoCos). Electricity isn't always less expensive than gas.

    So yes, if Stephanie can give a little more information about her needs and her current situation, there are lots of options for someone wanting to purchase a more environmental friendly vehicle.

    Some states also have better incentives than others, so knowing where she lives will also help.
  6. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind you're buying a car to fit your needs, not just an "electric car".

    What do you plan to use the car for? Do you want a small, efficient car which is easy to fit into small spaces? Or do you need a larger car because you plan to haul lots of stuff on occasion? Will you just be driving yourself and occasionally a single friend, or will you need to have lots of room in the car for your "posse"?

    If this will be your one-and-only car, and you occasionally take long trips (like college students do, driving back home occasionally), then seriously consider a PHEV such as a (small) Volt or a (larger) Pacifica PHEV.

    If you share a household with others who own cars, and you plan to use your car just for commuting, then a BEV might work for you.

    If it's your first car, I'm guessing money is tight. You might want to look into buying a used car. A used Leaf (a BEV) is an attractive option because they're so cheap, but be warned: There's a reason they're cheap, and that reason is that they can't be expected to keep the range they had when new. If you've got more money, you might look at prices for a used Tesla Model S. There are other BEVs, but generally they're either hard to find or -- like the BMW i3 -- overpriced.

    Another consideration is your ability to charge on a daily basis... or not. Do you have a dedicated parking space for the car? And do you own the property, so that you would be able to install an EV charger where you park? Or are you renting? If you're renting, have you talked to the landlord about getting an EV charger installed where you park?

    We can give you better advice if you tell us what your specific needs/wants are in a car, and what you plan to use it for.
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  8. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    If it is your only car, an all electric is just not an option. In that case, consider a plug in hybrid (PHEV) or pure hybrid. If you are looking late model used, your choices are even narrower, with probably the Volt as the best compromise of all electric range and gas availability for longer hauls.

    If budget is constrained, consider going pure hybrid for your first green friendly car, like a Prius. I've bought three used (two Toyota certified which means 12 month bumper to bumper warranty and 7 year/100,000 on the battery pack and electric motor), and although not as "green" as all electric, it is a good compromise, especially around town where I easily hit 50 mpg on mine, and well over 40 mpg on the highway. Yes, you are still burning gas, but it is one of the most efficient gas burners so its overall environmental impact is much better than the usual used car. We also got great endurance out of ours (150,000 miles on two, 80,000 on the third).
  9. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    One main issue is if you qualify for any of the tax or sales incentives. That can change what your best cost options may be. The maximum IRS incentive in the US is $7500, but you need enough tax liability to get all of this. Some states have better options than others too, such as sales tax credits or no sales tax.
  10. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

  11. Cypress

    Cypress Active Member

    1.) budget: but don’t look at just the purchase price. Consider your total cost of ownership. And what local, state, and federal incentives your chosen car might qualify for. Is leasing an option? EVs often have good lease options.

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