3d rendering of a Electric car concept

The allure of Electric Vehicles (EVs) has never been stronger in the US. Surveys show that at least two-thirds of American drivers are open to buying an EV.

While many people still have concerns about cost, choice and charging, those barriers are fading fast and President Biden hopes to speed things along with tens of billions of dollars in incentives.

It can feel overwhelming and exciting to shop for an EV. The following tips will help you decide which one is right for you.

What’s your charging plan?

The nation’s charging infrastructure may be growing fast, but anyone looking to make the switch to electric vehicles should have a charging plan. The first step is to determine where you will typically charge the vehicle. Most people do it at home, which is easiest. But with new electric cars and trucks able to drive 200 miles or more on a full charge, some drivers choose to refuel as needed at work or public charging stations.

If you plan to charge a new electric car or truck at home, there are pitfalls. While electric vehicles can be powered with typical household outlets, the process can take up to 24 hours to reach a full charge. Many owners opt to have an electrician install a faster 220- to 240-volt outlet, like those used by clothes dryers.

Anyone without an easy way to charge should pay extra attention to the real-world range of the vehicle and how it might change in different conditions. Cold weather, for example, can cut a vehicle’s range substantially.

But don’t stress too much. While the fear of running out of juice – often referred to as range anxiety – is real, it’s often overstated, according to experts. Consumer Reports has heard from many EV owners who don’t charge their cars daily because they don’t need to, said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing for the group.

Should I buy a Tesla?

Tesla sits atop the EV market in the US, and for good reason: Though they aren’t without their problems, their cars are generally beloved. Its cars and technology have also been in use longer than EVs from other automakers, and the company even has its own easy-to-use charging network.

The landscape is changing fast, however, according to media outlet, Edmunds. Several new EVs hit the roads in early 2021, including Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen’s ID.4 and Volvo’s XC40 Recharge. Many more are on the way, like the Audi Q4 e-tron SUV, BMW’s i4 sedan, Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 SUV and Nissan’s Ariya SUV. Several start-ups are expected to start selling cars, too, including the Lucid Air sedan and Rivian’s R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV.

What can you afford? (Tax credits could help.)

Yes, EVs cost more than similar gasoline-powered vehicles, but there are federal and state tax breaks, utility grants and other savings that can help to offset the cost. The federal government’s $7,500 tax credit for EVs has run out for Teslas and GM cars, but it’s still available for many other EVs – like the Nissan Leaf. A new basic model Leaf costs nearly $32,000, but after the federal tax credit, the price drops to less than $25,000. States, cities and even utility companies offer incentives for buying EVs or installing chargers at home.

EVs are also cheaper to own. A recent Consumer Reports study found that the average EV driver will spend 60% less to power their car, truck or SUV, and half as much on repairs and maintenance (no oil changes) when compared with the average owner of a gas-powered vehicle.

Buying used could also help reduce costs, but evaluate the car you are buying carefully, particularly the quality of the battery, because it will degrade over time.

Consider the alternatives.

As exciting as it may be to own an EV, it may not be for everyone. Many families and individuals can’t afford an EV that meets their needs – and few have three rows and ample room for gear and luggage. It might be worth considering a plug-in hybrid, if you’re interested but not really sure you want to commit to an EV.

For many people, a plug-in like a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan or the RAV4 Prime SUV essentially serves as an EV. Toyota says the RAV4 Prime can run for 42 miles before switching to gasoline, while Chrysler says the Pacifica has 32 miles on a full charge. If used mostly for short commutes to work and trips around town, the cars would rarely use gas. Plug-in hybrids often also qualify for federal tax credits.

Source: New York Times