Driving an electric car can be fun, but for everyday use, could you really live with a battery-powered vehicle. With a little research, we have compiled the benefits and disadvantages of owning an electric car.
Undoubtedly, the biggest benefit of an electric car is obvious: You no longer need gas. That can add up to a big deal, since the average American spends between $2,000 and $4,000 on gas every year. With fully electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, that cost is eliminated. While a plug-in hybrid eliminates a major portion of your gas bill, as well, it still uses a gasoline engine as a range extender.
Another cost-saving measure that comes along with electric cars is maintenance. Electric cars make oil changes a thing of the past since they don’t use oil to lubricate the engine. The same rings true with additional expensive engine work that could come along with owning a traditional gas-powered car. Brakes won’t wear as quickly, either, so you won’t need to replace pads as often as you do on a normal car.
Electric vehicles aren’t just less costly to own; they’re often inexpensive to buy, too. Savings don’t stop there though. You could receive up to a $7,500 federal income tax credit for your eco-friendly purchase!
Many states offer tax credits, as well. In fact, the state of California has its own cash rebate program for its residents who purchase electric vehicles. They call this the Clean Vehicle Rebate and residents can claim up to $2,500 cash back from it. The rebate can be claimed after the electric vehicle is successfully purchased or leased.
Of course, there’s another major benefit to owning an electric car. For many drivers, just knowing that they’re doing their part to save the planet will be reason enough to take the leap and purchase an electric car.
The main disadvantage of owning an electric car stems from sheer anxiety. The fear you’ll run out of juice when you’re nowhere near a charging station is a scary reality for some. Both the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf offer a range of approximately 75 miles. That’s quite enough for some folks to get around, but you may need a second car for longer distances and to alleviate your concerns.
Another big disadvantage is installation of a charging station at home. While it is not necessary, most shoppers will want a charging station at home, cutting into the cost savings from owning an electric car in the first place.
While oil changes and brakes may spare you on maintenance expenses, there are added costs as well when it comes to the battery of your vehicle. Overall battery life is expected to be around a decade; however, keep in mind, replacement battery packs can be costly. Most estimates put them well into the thousands of dollars.
While it can be difficult to decide between electric vehicles and gas-powered models, we hope our explanation of the benefits and disadvantages can make the choice a little easier.
If you are still on the fence, be sure to attend the Electric Cars 101 workshop at the Ocean View Branch Library in San Francisco.
This workshop, presented by the SF Department of the Environment and 350 SF, offers all the information you need to know to shop for, purchase/lease, and own an electric car – including how to charge it. Discussions will cover how to determine which car works best for you; which local, state, and federal financial incentives are available; and how much you can save by powering your car with electricity rather than gasoline. Also, hear about the SunShares program, which offers special discounts on electric cars and rooftop solar. Get more information about the workshop.
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