11 Reasons To Buy An Electric Car Now

Since late last decade all-electric cars have been increasing in model selection and sales volume, but have you considered whether an EV would work for you?

If you’re one of the 295,000 people in the U.S. who’ve already left behind the world of gas pumps and tailpipe hydrocarbons with purchase of an EV, the answer is obviously yes, but what about those still on the sidelines?

Going EV is ultimately a very personal decision based on whether a car powered by electric motor(s), lithium-ion batteries, and attendant computer controls is right for you, but there are lots of benefits in EVs’ favor.

For starters, as we’re approaching a decade since Tesla proved its 2008 Roadster was sufficient to base its now-famous business on, and seven years since the 2011 Nissan Leaf, EVs now have a track record.

The Union of concerned Scientists says 42 percent of homes could use an EV.

So, if your risk tolerance is less than that of an early adopter, no problem, because at this stage marketers might call an EV buyer a “fast follower.” Globally hundreds of thousands have proven EVs viable and they’re becoming more so.

And beyond that remain numerous underlying reasons to electrify vehicles that have prompted legislators to give a financial leg up to both their makers and buyers.

After a halting start, EVs are catching on and due to continue eroding market share from petroleum-burning internal combustion engines.

Some manufacturers are now making forward-looking statements predicting sales of 15-25 percent plug-in cars in the next 8 years, and even higher percentages by 2030. These include plug-in hybrids which run part time like pure EVs but have gas backup.

Aside from these factors, here are more reasons why you might want to buy an EV now.

1. EVs Promise Energy Security

Your tax dollars at work. A U.S. aircraft carrier enters Straight of Hormuz.

America’s new president may be less inclined to support regulations the former president approved of to foster the EV movement’s birth, but cars that run on electricity actually have bipartisan appeal.

How so? Whether an EV is assembled in Europe, Japan, Korea, China, or the U.S., its energy is 100-percent made in the U.S. and you’ll never see a massive tanker pulling into port with a load of electricity.

Even if “energy security” has been an elusive goal, it’s still considered a worthy one closely linked to “national security.”

For vehicles, the concept is simple: The U.S. transportation sector accounts for 70 percent of petroleum usage and the the U.S. military patrols oil supply routes around the world to ensure the American way of life. This costs billions leading to trillions.

Wars have been fought for oil which means payment has been with lives and blood of Americans to preserve the monopoly fuel which could also be described as having all of one’s eggs in one basket.

Terrorism remains a threat in part due to oil-related geopolitical issues, and outcomes.

Some terrorists are funded by oil-rich foreign nations.

The “fracking revolution” promises a reprieve perhaps, but it’s not without opponents warning of potential consequences, nor is it enough to replace the need for foreign oil. What’s more, because oil is a “global fungible commodity,” its price is set by world markets and this keeps the U.S dependent on – and needing to preserve stability in – other regions, including those where terrorists and wars threaten.

Further still, say electrification advocates, squeezing the last remaining fossil fuels will eventually mean a tapped supply.

Granted EVs constitute a slim percentage of the market, so one might ask what difference would buying one make?

According to Plug In America’s Richard Kelly, this kind of “fallacy” could lend itself to apathy, or you can choose to vote toward a positive difference.

Kelly says there are other externalities to contend with, and suspects dollar figure estimates may be “way too low,” in terms of costs to the economy.

Whatever your stance, and however you think we should get there, increasing reliance on clean, renewable, and domestic energy is a general prescription for longer term societal, economic and environmental health.

2. Inexpensive To Operate

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an average all-electric car requires $3.84 worth of electricity to travel 100 miles assuming 12 cents per kWh. A comparable conventional car requires $9.65 worth of gasoline assuming $2.347 per gallon.

This means everyone stands to save money, and on average this is $5.81 per 100 miles traveled.

For someone who drives 15,000 miles per year, a conventional car driver would average $1,448 in fuel costs versus an EV driver who’d pay $576 for electricity.

This equals $872 saved per year, and – not accounting for rising gasoline prices – it equals $4,360 saved in five years.

In many cases, after federal and/or state incentives are factored in, this savings makes EV costs less total to own over five years than an a comparable gasoline only vehicle.

For more info on this analysis, you can consult the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

3. EV Prices Have Come Down

Since the launch of EVs with 70-80 miles range in 2011 costing in the mid 30s to mid 40s before incentives, prices have been coming down, and continue to.

In January 2013 Nissan reduced the Leaf’s price by $6,000, and several EVs can be had now from as low as just under $15,000 to lower 20s, assuming a $7,500 federal tax credit.

This year also the Chevy Bolt EV is rolling out from its launch late last year on the West Coast. This EV offers 238 miles range for $37,500 before credits, and can net for below $30,000.

Also due starting this summer is the over 215-mile Tesla Model 3 from $35,000 plus delivery fee. A long line of paid reservation holders means new orders won’t be filled until next year, but other vehicles are coming as well.

Further, even for EVs with less than 120 miles range, a value proposition can be had.

Some people choose to lease a car to avoid risks associated with ownership, but others are purchasing EVs and happy with what they can do.

Range limits of 70-120 miles per charge for average EVs is otherwise a factor to consider, but average daily driving needs might be under 40 miles.

The range takes a mental adjustment, but given the potential of charging en route or at your destination point – which can increase daily range by 25-100 percent or more – it is do-able.

As an extra reason to go EV squeezed in, electric car drivers will never have to stop to fill up at a gas station. Charging can be done when they are occupied doing more meaningful things like sleeping at night, or during the day while at work, shopping, or dining.

4. Financial Incentives Available

The federal government allows up to $7,500 as a tax credit on an EV purchase. On top of that numerous states and local governments offer some form of incentive as well.

If you can take advantage of these, an EV like the Bolt, Model 3 could come down to the upper 20s – although you would have to front the money for the purchase.

Some lease deals – such as for the Leaf which is due for upgrade this year – will apply the full federal tax credit into the price. Check the fine print before assuming, and you may also still be eligible for state credits in a lease.

With a lease where they fold in the federal credit, the dealer does the paperwork, and lessees can recoup the full benefit early.

Shopping around may prove an EV hard to pass up, but this does vary by region, and your tax status may affect the quality of the bottom line as well. Traveling to get a car out of state, or shipping a car in has also been done if local deals are not so great.

If you do go to such extreme measures, you will want to be sure local service is available.

5. End of Model/Generation Close-outs


That Nissan Leaf mentioned is on its way out, but with 107 miles range, and being a proven performer, it may be marked down by dealers to prices hard to pass uop.

In fact, says New England-based plug-in car advocate, Mark Renburke, prices and options have never been better.

These include deep discounts on first generation EVs like the Leaf, and if you shop around you may find deals on other EVs, and possibly even the new Bolt.

6. Less Maintenance

As Plug In America points out, battery electric cars are relatively simple machines.

“EVs have 10-times fewer moving parts than a gasoline powered car,” says the advocacy group. “There’s no engine, transmission, spark plugs, valves, fuel tank, tailpipe, distributor, starter, clutch, muffler or catalytic converter.”

An EV is otherwise a fully equipped automobile, so it does have electrical systems, HVAC, infotainment, and what not.

Because they have regenerative brakes, this tends to save brake pads and rotors from wearing as quickly, at least this is the potential many have realized.

7. Simpler than a Hybrid

While it is true that a hybrid offers no “range anxiety” and usually better fuel mileage than conventional cars, it also is an electrified vehicle that combines two powertrains.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has disparagingly called hybrids “amphibians,” but many level-headed observers – not least of which, being Toyota – would not go so far as to say they are in a stage of evolution pending a die-off.

However, that hybrids have more complexity is absolutely true, and it’s a reality EV owners can bypass in the tradeoff.

All the maintenance concerns about internal combustion-powered cars apply to hybrids, and then you have the battery, controller, motor, other components as part of the gas-electric powertrain.

The maintenance and resale record for hybrids has been good, and we are not meaning to say they are too risky, but EVs are simpler machines.

8. Infrastructure In Place Now


EVs run on electricity and America is fully wired to handle them. Utility companies do monitor grid demands, and in some neighborhoods where several EVs have added more draw than they’re set up for, utilities have increased equipment, but the country is otherwise EV-compatible.

As for public charging infrastructure, at this stage, there is need for more, and this is in progress.

One big boon is actually coming from a silver lining to the diesel-dark cloud of the VW emissions cheating scandal.

The automaker is on the hook for billions in infrastructure to make amends for its misdeeds.

Tesla also is building out its Supercharger network for its cars, and infrastructure otherwise is coming.

Presently some public chargers require you to pay for their use, but others may provide electricity at no cost – such as at some workplaces, campuses, retail areas, etc.

That is another potential benefit squeezed in here: free juice. It’s like getting free gas, and some report they take advantage of it.

An EV driver’s primary charge point is of course at home, and this assumes one has a place – like a garage, carport, or other private parking – that lets one charge at home.

Lack of suitable home charging has been known to be a deal breaker, although some do find ways to work around it.

The UCS survey showing 25 percent of households as EV compatible did account for available home charging.

9. EVs Mean Cleaner Air

This is not to be confused with the “environmental” concerns that affect our climate, but this is about public health issues and associated costs which affect us all.

Economists call smog, haze, and health problems resulting from emissions “externalities,” a neutral and sterile-sounding word for a nasty reality – people today suffer as a consequence of others’ actions, including releasing toxins into the air.

This is part of why policymakers are pushing to clean up the air and an underlying driver to the whole market.

The same concern over cleanliness of power plant emissions exists as above, but the grid is getting cleaner year by year and several watchdog and advocacy groups say EVs are definitely “part of the solution” rather than “part of the problem.”

Quantifying the “problem” in actual dollars has been elusive, but it could be more than anyone really wants to pay.

Because of too many ramifications to count afflicting society, it as been very difficult to specify an actual dollar cost for America’s “addiction to oil.”

One investigation a few years ago attempted to pin the price of gas at $15 per gallon in terms of its costs to health and the environment.

In contrast, electric motors are clean and more efficient. If many more people adopted them, how would that stand to help the world not just now, but for today’s children and future generations?

10. EVs Leverage Solar Panels

Photovoltaic power generated at your residence amplifies the reason for an electric car, as it’s like getting free fuel when you charge at home.

The environmental benefits here are also off the charts.

Solar systems are not cheap, but may be eligible for tax breaks or subsidies, and costs have come down.

A back-handed way to help justify going solar is to consider an electric car along with it, if you don’t have one already. It’s like buying or leasing a car and running it for free most of the time.

11. EVs Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

EVs have no tailpipe emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide, (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), particulate matter (PM), formaldehyde (HCHO), non-methane organic gases (NMOG), or non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC).

True also, the electricity has to come from somewhere and critics have often cited coal-fired plants as dirty and problematic. Yes they are less desirable, but even if juice is derived from coal, analyses have proven it’s still usually cleaner to run an electric car or plug-in hybrid, but there are exceptions.

“PHEVs and EVs typically have a well-to-wheel emissions advantage over similar conventional vehicles running on gasoline or diesel,” says the U.S. Department of Energy. “In regions that depend heavily on conventional fossil fuels for electricity generation, PEVs may not demonstrate a well-to-wheel emissions benefit.”

On average, CO2 output for an EV per 100 miles is 41 pounds, and for an average 26 mpg conventional car, it’s 95 pounds.

Powering from more renewable resources and cleaner power plant supplied grids of course stands to reduce the CO2 from powering an EV.