Drive Green

How to Choose Your First Electric Car

While electric vehicles (EVs) might seem futuristic, they are becoming more frequent on the roads each day. However, some drivers are still on the fence about making the switch because they aren’t familiar with all that is involved during the transition. When shopping for an electric vehicle, one must do their research to determine the best choice for such a large investment. Luckily, there is plenty of help available to help you find the right first electric car for your needs. Let’s discuss the variables below.

Crunch the Range Numbers

The average range of the EV you’ve set your eye on is a critical factor to your purchase. If you drive long distances across the country and stopping to charge up your car is less than ideal, then you will need to purchase an EV with the maximum driving range. The average range for EVs is expected to reach 275 miles by 2022. It is also expected to jump to as much as 400 miles on a full charge by 2028. For most people however, a much smaller range is ‘actually’ necessary. Understanding your driving lifestyle is the key to selecting your first electric car.

Check Your Local Charging Infrastructure

Most people do their day-to-day travels in one area. If this is the case for you, it’s helpful to map out the charging stations available in your area. Utilize the apps available that can help determine whether there are charging stations in your area if you think you will need to use them (very important if you can’t charge your car at home.) For most however this is largely irrelevant because if you have off street parking you are able to do the vast majority of all your charging at home.

Keep Your Budget in Mind

Although EVs are less expensive to maintain and fuel, you still have to consider what’s in your budget for your first electric car. Start by calculating what a monthly payment would look like based on your credit and available income. The wisest approach is to figure out what you can comfortably afford as a monthly payment unless you are able to afford the car outright.

Compare Makes and Models

In the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) vs. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) debate, we feel that the BEV is always your best bet if you have a stable routine and easy access to charging.

If you don’t have your own home to install a charging station, it can be difficult to take advantage of the convenience of overnight recharging. In this case, you may want to spend some time with a good advisor to see what your routine may be like.

Check the Warranty

A brand-new vehicle is only as valuable as its warranty. Ensuring that everything is covered is crucial to the life of your auto loan as it will prevent you from ruining your credit or being stuck without a car, while still paying budget-blowing payments each month. Luckily the EV is super reliable and any warranty claim is rare.

Kick the Tires

You won’t have to carry out all the typical maintenance on an all-electric vehicle. The brakes will wear slower because generators recoup much of the energy and convert it back into electricity. There are no oil changes or real maintenance beyond heavy-wear items like tires, windshield wipers, steering parts, and (to a lesser degree) suspension. However, you should ensure that the vehicle can be charged most of the time conveniently to make ownership practical.

This article on choosing your first electric car was written for the US market by one of our guest bloggers – AnnaBeth Rouse from Caliber Collision. It has been modified for the UK market by Richard Norris of Drive Green.

About the Author: Guest writer AnnaBeth Rouse is a keen technical environmental journalist, and we are very grateful for her taking the time to research and write these helpful informative pieces.

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