By: Jane Marsh
If you’re thinking about making the switch to an electric vehicle, you might be wondering how an EV is different from a petrol-powered car. Will you be able to take long road trips? How much do electric cars cost? Here are the top 10 considerations when purchasing an EV.
Many electric cars accelerate faster than similarly priced internal-combustion engine (ICE) cars, as the motors tend to have more torque. This means you can power the car instantly. And, despite generally being more powerful than a petrol-based car, EVs offer a smoother, quieter ride overall.
Will you be driving more in the city or the countryside? Electric motors react faster than conventional engines and they don’t waste energy by idling. In stop-and-go traffic, an EV outperforms a petrol car.
On long-distance drives, you might need to do a bit more planning than you would with a traditional car. You’ll need to determine where electric charging stations are located before you head off on your journey.
How much do color and overall shape matter to you? Appearance may not factor much into your considerations when purchasing an EV – or it could make or break your decision to buy the vehicle. Decide on your preferences and how much you’d be willing to compromise if you found a car that didn’t quite look the way you wanted, but still performed well.
When looking for a new car, it’s wise to opt for a company with a solid safety track record. A lot of electric vehicle companies are new startups and don’t have a safety record yet. Some companies that have made EVs for years include Tesla, Nissan, Ford, and Chevrolet.
Electric cars are generally heavier than petrol-powered cars, so they might handle differently from how you’d expect. The car may take longer to stop and may not handle corners as well. The tyres might wear out faster as well, due to the vehicle’s extra weight.
One great feature of electric vehicles is the regenerative braking function, also known simply as regen. As soon as you take your foot off the throttle, the brakes kick in and they send stored power from the wheels back into the battery.
6. Charging Speed and Availability
Some cars charge faster than others because they have a smaller battery, meaning you can’t drive as far. Think in terms of how many kilometres you’ll want to drive per charge.
Is there a charging station near you? You can recharge your car at home with just a 120-volt outlet, the same kind you’d use to plug in your phone. However, it can take a whole day to fully power the battery with a 120-volt outlet.
If you own your own home, you should consider installing a 240-volt charger to more rapidly charge your vehicle. The government will pay up to 75% of the cost. It may be worth it if you drive long distances on a regular basis.
7. Environmental Friendliness
A big benefit of electric vehicles is that they produce no particulate matter or tailpipe emissions, which contribute to air pollution and asthma. This makes them an environmentally friendly choice compared to ICE vehicles.
ICE vehicles tend to have a longer range than electric vehicles. However, warm weather can extend an EV’s battery operating time, and so can reducing the amount of weight in your car.
Most new electric vehicles have enough range that you can go days without fully recharging them. In 2020, the median range was just over 400 kilometres per charge.
The upfront cost of an electric vehicle is more expensive than a traditional car, although the price gap is closing as batteries become cheaper. Additionally, EVs are usually more expensive to insure. Because they cost more to buy and repair, insurance companies charge more to cover them.
However, they might help you save money in the long run. The cost of running an electric vehicle varies by make and model, but – in general – the ongoing costs will be lower than they would be with petrol or diesel. Plus, electric cars require much less maintenance than a car with an internal-combustion engine. Say goodbye to oil changes!
Electric vehicles tend to have less cargo capacity than traditional cars because the batteries are large and expensive, and manufacturers lower the costs of EVs by making them slightly smaller than petrol-powered vehicles. Still, with electric SUVs and pickups on the market, you should be able to find what you’re looking for in terms of space.
Weighing Your Options
There are many things to consider when purchasing an EV, such as price, charging speed, and appearance. One thing’s for certain: Electric vehicles are here to stay. Weigh the pros and cons of conventional and electric cars before purchasing a new vehicle.
Jane Marsh is Editor-in-Chief at Environment.co