Should you buy an electric car? 12 factors to consider

In the last decade, electric cars have become very popular. It is now normal to see an electric car drive by or encounter electric charging stations at service stations.

But are electric cars really that great? Or does this method of transportation have disadvantages? Let’s discuss the pros and cons of EVs to better understand if they are worth buying.

The benefits of owning an electric car

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Image credit: Lotus Cars

First, let’s examine the benefits of electric vehicles to see why they can benefit drivers.

1. Zero local emissions

One of the main advantages of electric vehicles is that they do not emit harmful emissions into the environment when on the road. A typical combustion engine emits carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides through the exhaust.

But because electric cars don’t need an internal combustion engine, they can operate without emitting any emissions. This is certainly good news for our environment, which has been badly damaged by car emissions.

However, this is only the case for direct vehicle emissions. The process of manufacturing an electric vehicle creates a carbon footprint, and most of the electricity used to charge these vehicles still comes from non-renewable sources like coal, oil, and natural gas. So, indirectly, electric vehicles always have a negative impact on the environment.

2. Silence on the road

a Kia EV6 rolling down a hill by the beach with one pedal.

You may already know that some gas-powered vehicles, especially modified ones, can be very noisy. But without a traditional combustion engine, electric cars can reduce noise pollution, making them ideal for quiet driving.

Of course, electric cars are not completely silent. They still emit low noise when in use, but it is much less than the average car with an internal combustion engine.

3. Low maintenance

Traditional cars usually malfunction in many ways, resulting in heavy mechanic bills for repairs and replacements. Electric vehicles, on the other hand, generally require less maintenance. This is due to one main factor: the number of moving parts in a vehicle.

Gas-powered vehicles have more moving parts than EVs and are therefore less likely to malfunction. Electric cars may encounter their own problems, but the risk is much lower than conventional cars.

4. Reduce gas expenses

Over the years, gasoline and diesel continue to become more and more expensive. Fueling up these days can leave a big hole in your bank account, but since fuel is a necessity for most drivers, we don’t really have a choice.

The great thing about electric cars is that they can completely eliminate gas costs. Without the added weekly or monthly cost of filling up your car, you’ll save a lot of money over time.

5. Charging at home

Charging an EV

Another advantage of electric vehicles is their ability to be charged at home. Going to the gas station is a pain, especially when the weather is bad or the line is long.

But with an electric car, you have the luxury of charging it at home. Many EV owners charge their vehicles overnight, which means they’re ready to go in the morning.

6. No tax (for now)

Because electric vehicles do not emit emissions directly into the atmosphere, they are exempt from a special type of tax called Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or, more simply, road tax. Road tax varies from vehicle to vehicle but can sometimes be quite high. However, you can avoid this tax entirely if you own an electric vehicle.

But it’s important to remember that this won’t always happen. From April 2025, EV drivers will have to pay road tax like everyone else. It should also be noted that hybrid vehicles (fuel and electric) are required to pay road tax.

The disadvantages of owning an electric vehicle

tesla car charger

While electric cars are a smart purchase for many reasons, they also have many downsides. Let’s look at the disadvantages of EVs.

1. High initial cost

Because electric vehicles are relatively new, the technology used is still limited. Due to the limited availability of EV motors, batteries and other key components, demand is higher than supply. In addition, research into electric cars is expensive, and manufacturing an electric car is more expensive than a traditional car.

Therefore, electric cars can be very expensive to buy. Even the cheapest models cost between $20,000 and $25,000, which isn’t exorbitant but makes purchasing an electric vehicle difficult for low-income households.

2. Long charging time

Fueling a gas-powered vehicle can take less than a minute. But charging an electric car to full power can take much longer. Electric vehicles have different charging times, and the type of charging cable you use can also lengthen or shorten this window.

However, it sometimes takes more than a day to fully charge your EV, which can be a big hassle if you’re about to travel for a long time and you’re short on time.

To charge your EV quickly, it’s best to use a high-voltage cable or a high-voltage charging station, such as Tesla’s superchargers.

3. The risk of power outages

Even if power outages are very rare in your area, they can happen. Sometimes a power outage lasts only a few minutes, but it can last several hours or more.

So if your electric car doesn’t have power during a power outage, you could be stranded if you need to go somewhere on the road.

4. Limited charging stations

Silver EV sports car charging outdoors at night

Although electric vehicles have become more popular in recent years, they are still not as common as traditional gas-powered vehicles. That is why the number of gasoline and diesel filling stations in the world far exceeds the number of electric charging stations. That’s fine if you drive a hybrid vehicle, but not if your vehicle relies heavily on electricity to run.

Some regions, such as large cities, may have a large number of public charging stations. But if you live in a suburb or rural area, you’ll likely see fewer stations. Even though you can charge your car at home, there may be times when you need roadside assistance and there isn’t a station nearby. Keep this in mind if you’re considering buying an electric car.

5. Limited battery life

Different EV models have different ranges. For example, the 2023 Tesla Model X has a maximum range of 348 miles, while the Nissan Leaf has a maximum range of 239 miles.

So, depending on the electric vehicle model you’re interested in, you may have to deal with less range than you’re used to. It is always best to check the maximum range of the EV of your choice before purchasing it.

6. Billing costs can be high

A person holding several bills

Electricity rates vary around the world but can be very high in some countries. Therefore, if you live in a country with high electricity bills, charging your electric car can be very expensive.

For example, the kWh price in the US state of California was $0.210/kWh in November 2022. But in New York, the kWh price for the same month was $0.180 (according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Therefore, it is worth considering your electricity bills to find out how much you will spend each month to charge your EV.

EVs are a mix of high and low

As you can see from the lists above, electric cars have many advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your situation, an EV may be perfect for you or more of a curse than a blessing. So keep in mind the pros and cons listed here before buying your first EV.

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