The automotive industry is beginning to embrace an electric future. They’ve shifted research and development dollars by the billions to develop and market the dozens of electric vehicles (EVs) that are already on America’s roads, with even more in the pipeline.
Is 2021 the year for you to buy an electric car? let’s take a look at some of the reasons your next vehicle purchase should be electric rather than gasoline.
More Models Available Mean More Choices
Several new electric cars have debuted in the past year in virtually all vehicle classes. 2020 entries included the tiny three wheeled Electra Meccanica Solo, a redesigned Kia Soul EV, the Mercedes-Benz EQC crossover, the Mini Electric, the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Roadster, the Tesla Model Y and Volvo XC40 crossover SUV, and also from Volvo, the Polestar 2 sedan. By the end of the 2020 calendar year we also saw a new pickup truck from Tesla and both large pickups and SUVs from startup EV makers Rivian and Bollinger, and the new Volkswagen ID4 crossover.
In 2019 there was a record 17 EV’s being offered in the US, starting at $23,900 for the tiny Smart EQ ForTwo, with the majority priced at the $30,000 range which is the average cost of a new car. Other models included the Audi e-tron and Jaguar i-Pace at the higher end of the pricing market, and the more affordable Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro Electric and the longer range Nissan Leaf Plus. Tesla also finally released the $35,000 entry-level version of the popular Model 3. While availability of a few current models is still limited to California and perhaps one or more other states that share its strict vehicle emissions standards, more EVs are now being offered in all 50 states.
Modestly Priced Electric Cars Can Run For Over 200 Miles On One Charge
Running out of fuel in a conventional gasoline or diesel car can be a pain, but it is at least relatively easily solved if you can get hold of an emergency jerry can of fuel from somewhere. Even if it does mean a bit of a walk to the nearest gas station. But what about if you’re driving an electric car and the battery runs flat? while not that long ago it seemed impressive for a mainstream electric car able to run for around 100 miles on a charge, a growing number priced in the $30,000 range (the national average price among all vehicles is currently around $37,000) are able to go for more than twice that number before needing a refresh.
The recently introduced Nissan Leaf Plus boosted that model’s range from 150 miles to 226, and the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV received a jolt from an already stalwart 238 miles to 259. Meanwhile, the Kia Niro EV is at 239 miles, with the Hyundai Kona Electric at 258, the Tesla Model 3 at 240 miles in its most affordable version, with the Kia Soul EV rated at 243 miles on a charge.
Most Electric Cars Are Eligiable For A Tax Credit
With the exception of the Tesla models and the Chevrolet Bolt EV, those buying or leasing a new electric car can still take advantage of a $7,500 one-time federal tax credit. If you’re buying one, it will be deducted from your tax bill when you file your next 1040 form; if you lease, it will usually be rolled into the deal.
The tax credit is being phased out for Tesla and General Motors models, as those companies have already reached a 200,000-unit sales threshold. Tesla buyers remained eligible for a $1,850 credit through to the end of 2019. The Chevrolet Bolt EV’s credit is also at $1,850. Also, a number of states also grant new-EV buyers rebates or tax credits to their EV-buying residents.
They Are Cheaper To Run
If you charge an electric car at home, you can save a substantial amount of money by not having to visit a gas station. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will cost an average $550 a year to drive a Hyundai Kona Electric crossover SUV for 15,000 miles in combined city/highway driving. By comparison, the EPA says it will cost an average $1,550 to drive a comparably sized Hyundai Tucson the same distance.
How much you save will, of course, depend on local gas prices and electricity costs. According to an online cost calculator created by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, it would cost a Kona Electric owner living in Seattle $350 a year to run the vehicle for 11,640 miles, while someone driving it the same number of miles in Los Angeles would pay $600, based on local power rates. You may be able to pocket even more cash by charging your EV in the middle of the night if your power company charges less for electricity during off-peak hours.
You Save Money On The Maintenance
There is evidence to suggest maintaining an electric car costs about one third of what it does with a conventionally powered model. That’s because electric cars don’t require over two-dozen common automotive components that would normally require service or replacing.
What’s more, an EV owner avoids having to take the car in for periodic oil changes, cooling system flushes, and replacing the air filter, spark plugs and drive belts. Regular service visits usually just consist of a mechanical inspection, and rotating the tires, replacing the cabin air filter and wiper blades, and topping off the washer fluid.
The Batteries Last Longer Than You Think
EVs don’t use a single battery like a phone, they use instead a pack which is comprised of thousands of individual Li-ion cells working together. When the car’s charging up, electricity is used to make chemical changes inside its batteries. When it’s on the road, these changes are reversed to produce electricity. Next to range anxiety, one of the biggest concerns consumers have regarding electric cars regards battery life. While it’s true that an EV’s battery pack will lose some of its ability to hold a charge over time, the effect is gradual.
For example, according to testing conducted by the organization Plug In America, the battery in a Tesla Model S can be expected to lose only around five percent of its original capacity over the first 50,000 miles driven, with the rate of depletion actually slowing down from there. The batteries in all electric cars sold in the U.S. are covered under warranty for at least 8 years or 100,000 miles. Kia covers the battery packs in its electric cars for 10 years/100,000 miles, while Hyundai offers lifetime coverage.
Used Eelectric Vehicle’s Are Cheap
Though resale values are on the rise for some of the latest longer range models, used versions of many EVs remain bargain priced. A quick search of the Cars for Sale section of MYEV.com produced no fewer than 65 listings going for $10,000 or less. A 2011 Nissan Leaf with 57,670 miles on the odometer and a 73-mile range for just $5,500, while a 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV with 42,186 miles on the clock and a 62-mile range was listed at $5,900. While those distances on a charge have since been far eclipsed, at those prices a used EV would make a great second or third car in a family’s fleet for emissions- and gasoline-free around town use or for teen drivers (an instance in which a limited range can keep them close to home).
An older EV could provide an affordable way to get to and from a commuter rail station for those living in the distant suburbs and working in the city.
You Can Go Solar And Generate Your Own Power
Arguably the greenest way to go when it comes to keeping an EV charged is to generate the electricity at home via solar panels mounted on the garage roof. Unfortunately this can cost upwards of $7,000 per installation. And that doesn’t include having a storage battery installed to capture power during daylight hours for overnight charging, which could double the cost. It’s more cost-effective if you take the financial plunge and convert both your house and garage to solar power.
While this could set you back $20,000 or more, a federal tax credit would cover 30% of the cost, and some states offer additional incentives to go solar. Unfortunately, the federal credit dropped to 26 percent in 2020, 22 percent in 2021, and will be discontinued altogether in 2022.
They Create Zero Tailpipe Emissions
Unlike an internal combustion engine, an electric motor avoids spewing smog-forming pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, as critics are quick to point out, an EV’s overall effect on the environment depends on the local source of electricity. Their net effect tends to be lowest in California, New York, and the Pacific Northwest, where renewable energy resources are prevalent, and less so in central U.S. states like Colorado, Kansas and Missouri where fossil-fueled electric plants are most common.
Still, a recent study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that EVs are generally responsible for less pollution than conventional vehicles in all 50 states. In the worst case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in China and driven in Poland still emits 22% less CO2 than diesel and 28% less than gasoline. And in the best case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in Sweden and driven in Sweden can emit 80% less CO2 than diesel and 81% less than gasoline.
Public Charging Networks Are Growing
No matter how long a given electric car is able to run before having to be plugged in, there may be times when an owner will need to use a public charging station. Charging networks are working furiously to install new stations, especially those that enable Level 3 DC Fast Charging that can bring a given EV up to a 75-80 percent state of charge in around a half hour. (Most in use remain Level 2 chargers, however, that can take several hours to accomplish this task.)
As an example, this year Electrify America completed installation of more than 120 fast-charging stations in Walmart parking lots in 34 states, most of which are off major highways to help facilitate interstate EV travel. Tesla owns and operates its own expansive network of what it calls Superchargers exclusively for its vehicles, with more than14,000 units globally, in public spaces and at Tesla dealerships. To make public charging easier, three of the most prominent networks – ChargePoint, EVgo and Electrify America – have forged alliances to allow access to either company’s chargers without having to establish multiple accounts.
Sources; myev.com & cars.usnews.com
Sales of electric cars have rocketed from 3.3 percent of the market in the first half of 2018 to 5.6 percent so far in 2019.
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