The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) has grown over the last few years, but so is the chattering surrounding them. Here is what you need to know before you buy an EV.
When looking to make the transition from a traditionally powered vehicle to a fully electric car or plug-in hybrid you’ll find it’s a whole new world. Driving a battery-powered vehicle has many advantages like lower operating and maintenance costs. Whether you’re looking to buy a new or a used electric car, there is a serious consideration you need to do before becoming an EV owner.
As with any type of vehicle, you will want to do some research to ensure the EV you are considering is matching your needs and lifestyle. Choose a model that fits your budget and comes with all the features you require. And always give any car you are considering a test drive to see if it drives the way you like and is comfortable. Finally, make sure there is enough cargo space for shopping, sports equipment of your favorite activities or child related gear.
Price and range
Purchasing an EV isn’t cheap. However, electricity is less expensive than gasoline and EVs are more efficient. Also, electricity prices are generally much more stable than gasoline prices. Additionally, prices of used EVs now can start from 8500€-10500€ and new from around 20000€-25000€. Best examples are the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe.
With the current generation of electric cars able to run more than 320 km on a single charge, the range also shouldn’t be a factor to hold you back from purchasing an EV. Nevertheless, you will still want to make sure a given model’s range is, at least, sufficient for your daily commute and weekend activities.
Charging the EV
Now, let’s move to the charging part. For a buyer that conceders an EV for the first time, here starts the anxiety. But no need to panic, as the number of public charging stations has grown rapidly. Besides, there is always the option to charge at home.
- Charging at home
Using a portable charging cable, you can charge on the go, at home or anywhere you can find a main socket.
The above table shows the charging time for an EV depends on the car’s battery, the charger you are using and the power provided from the household outlet*. A car with a 30kWh battery will charge in 8 hours using a 16 Ampers cable. However, for the same car, a 32A charging cable will reduce the charging time in half.
*Europe uses 220V as standard household current
Using a home charging station makes charging faster, safer and more reliable. With the home charging stations, you will have the option to choose from a wall unit or a ground unit based on the space available.
The above table shows the charging times available based on the input and output power.
Input power can be from 1-3 phases, 16-32 A and the Output power can be 3.6, 7.2, 11 or 22 kW depends on the charging station you have chosen.
- Public charging
Whether you have your own charging station at home or planning to use the public option, you need to locate all available public charging stations.
Public chargers are typically installed in public parking garages, shopping malls, and even on some urban streets. However, with the rapid growth of electric cars, you might be surprised to find charging stations near schools or at your workplace. You can easily locate them through google maps, EV charging applications or websites.
A public charging station can offer the charging options of the Table 2 as well as the following (Table 3).
It is true that insurance costs for EVs tend to be more expensive than the ones fo internal combustion engine cars. This is because servicing and parts for electric vehicles are currently more specialised.
As electric cars operate differently to, they do present some unique issues for insurers such as:
- Costs of specialised parts.
- Repairs by specialist mechanics.
- Expensive batteries.
However, is important to keep in mind that the insurance rating of a car is not only one factor taken into account. When insurance companies calculate your insurance quote, a key factor is the risk profile of the driver of the car.
What about plug-in hybrids?
Plug-in hybrids are a great solution if you are worried about the range of a fully electric car. They work in much the same way as regular hybrids, but they have larger batteries and can be plugged into the charging station. They’re a compromise between conventional hybrids and battery-only electric vehicles.
That said, no matter if you are buying a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric car, make sure you do your research and you are ready for the change. Driving on electricity is not only cleaner than driving on gasoline, it’s also a total blast. Prepare to never want to go back to gasoline-powered vehicles as you cruise on the smooth, silent power of electricity.