When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, many people think switching to an electric vehicle is the answer. They realize they’re quiet, quick, clean, safe, and easy to maintain. You may even get a tax incentive. However, consider these factors before you rush out to buy the latest Tesla.
Can You Charge at Home & Work?
When you own your home, you can install a Level 1 EVSE charger, but it needs a dedicated circuit. Units cost around $395. However, those who live in a condo or apartment may find charging challenging.
Some apartment and condo complexes don’t allow electric vehicle charging, because they’re not willing to assume the additional risk of power cables and high-capacity batteries and they do not want to assume the electrical expenditures.
The same scenario can occur at your workplace. Perhaps you’re lucky and your company embraces green technology. Nonetheless, how many charging stations do they have? You could arrive and discover every charger occupied. If an employee plugs in and heads in to work, chances are they aren’t going to return to their vehicle until hours later or at the end of the day.
Where’s The Nearest Charging Station?
So, you’re out driving and you realize you need to recharge. Your vehicle’s navigation system points you to the nearest location. You arrive to discover the station’s occupied. You decide you can’t wait, and head off to next one. Your vehicle’s warning you that you must recharge soon.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an unusual scenario. The current charging infrastructure needs improvement. A report from the University of Michigan based on data from the Department of Energy states 16,000 public electric vehicle charging stations with 43,000 connectors exist in the US. That’s an average of 860 connectors per state.
Yes, more are on their way, but a December 2017 EV Charging Infrastructure report by IHS anticipates that most chargers will be privately owned or outside of major centers, not within them.
Are You Willing to Wait?
Charging an electric vehicle isn’t like filling your car with gas. It takes time. Most EV chargers add between 20 and 25 miles in an hour on a 240 volt charger in a public charging station. Some charging stations now offer quick chargers, which add 50 miles in about 25 minutes, but they’re rare.
However, most electric vehicle owners tend to rely on 120-volt home chargers, and Level 1 chargers are slow. You’ll only add between 2 and 5 miles per hour.
How Far Do You Drive?
People who commute short distances may not need to concern themselves with the range of their vehicle. However, those who put on more miles should consider most affordable electric cars only have an 80 to 100 mile range, at most.
Yes, the latest vehicles can go further, but you’ll also pay top dollar. Consequently, “range anxiety” remains a common concern among drivers. Long trips usually require planning, and 100 miles on a charge may not meet your needs.
Are You Willing to Pay More Initially?
Electric vehicles use cutting-edge technology and they often cost more when compared to traditional gas powered vehicles. Currently, you’re looking at between $30k and $40k for a mid-sized vehicle. They are often cheaper to operate, easier to maintain, and government subsidies and tax breaks may lighten the load a bit, though. All purchases in the U.S. qualify for an IRS tax credit of between $2,500 and $7,500.
Are You Happy with What’s on the Market?
While the electric vehicle market is expanding, it is still a sliver of the vehicle market. Fleetcarma.com states that electric vehicle sales have about a 1% market share, with about 200,000 sales annually. These figures include hybrids.
The luxury Tesla Model S tops sales, but it has a starting price of $87,500. However, it boasts a 250+ mile range and it’s totally electric. In 2017, only 13 fully electric cars were on the market.
The lack of charging stations and the lower price of hybrids make them an attractive option today. The Chevrolet Volt ranked second in sales, with a reasonable list price of $34,095. The Toyota Prius Prime also starts on the lower end, at $27,995.
Do I Need More Insurance?
When buying a new vehicle, it is always advisable to talk to your insurance agent first. In Rhode Island, auto insurance rates vary between battery-only and hybrid vehicles and some policies address risks specific to electric vehicles, such as increased liability due to charging, cables, and batteries, and loaners if you’re unable to charge. They may also offer electric vehicle insurance discounts.
Your agent can also update your homeowner’s insurance, condo insurance, or renter’s insurance policies to extend coverage to charging equipment. If you’re considering an upgrade to an electric vehicle, give us a call and let us help you protect your investment.