What You Need to Know Before Buying an Electric Car

What to know before buying an electric car

More people than ever are considering purchasing their first fully electric vehicle (EV) as their next car. You may even be considering one. With nearly 20 available models to choose from today, EVs are becoming a larger part of the car market every year. The selection of EVs is only increasing, and at a quicker rate than most consumers realize. Automotive manufacturers are investing billions in EV and battery production plants to meet growing demand and comply with federal regulations. If you’re considering an electric car there are a few things you should know before buying.

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You Will Do the Majority of Your Charging at Home

When thinking of purchasing an EV your first worry is likely range. Will an EV really cover your commuting? Will you be left stranded? While battery range is getting better every year, the likelihood of running out of charge on your commute is remote. The majority of your charging will occur each night where you live.

When considering an EV you will want to explore the option of installing a Level 2 charger at your home. Or see if they are available through your building. For a crash course in EV chargers see the table below. 

Charger TypeElectric InfrastructureSpeed
Level 1Any ordinary outlet in your house2 to 5 miles of range per hour
Level 2240 V outlet (outlet needed to power your dryer)10 to 20 miles of range per hour
Level 3 (DC Fast Charging)208/480 V (typically commercial applications)60 to 80 miles of range per hour

A Level 1 charger adapter will be included with your vehicle and will immediately allow you to charge your car at home using any outlet. But consider getting a Level 2 charger, as this will allow you to add 80-160 miles of range overnight. Assuming you drive less than 80 miles a day, every morning you would wake up with a full charge and not have to stop at a gas station. Think of the time and money you’ll save! If you’re worried about installation of a Level 2 charger at your home just call your local electrician. Since the Level 2 charger requires a dryer outlet equivalent your trusted electrician should be able to assist with the installation. 

There are Plenty of Incentives

In the early days of EVs it seemed like they were only available to the rich as a second car or for those who only needed a micro car. Neither of those are true today and EVs will only become more affordable in the years ahead. Everyone from Volkswagen to Chevy now offer affordable EV options. In addition to the starting prices being similar to their gas powered counterparts, EVs are eligible for many incentives at the federal, state and local levels. Check out the U.S Department of Energy or Plug in America for resources to help you find what is available for the EV you’re considering and the area you live. 

In addition to financial incentives on the purchase of your EV, you may also be eligible for incentives to support installing a home EV charger. With some quick research you may be able to find several incentives to help make buying and owning your first EV even more affordable than you expected. 

Your EV Can Handle a Road Trip

If you don’t already own an EV, chances are you aren’t on the lookout for EV charging stations, and you may have concerns about taking longer trips. If you are worried about those drives to see family or go on vacation, rest assured. As of 2021 there are over 100,000 public EV charging stations in the US! Your next thought might be the majority of these must be in California. While California does still have the highest concentration of EVs and EV public chargers, there are public fast charging stations across America’s major interstate routes. For example, within 15 miles of Downtown Frederick there are over 36 public EV chargers and over 150 Level 3 fast chargers to choose from on your drive from Frederick to Boston. The key is to download a route planner app to help you find available public charging for longer trips in your EV. 

Remember when considering your first EV purchase this is an established market with not only the support of the Automotive Industry but also the Federal Government. Do some research on available financial incentives to get the best price, invest in a Level 2 home charger and don’t be afraid to take the trip! 

Amanda Pemberton
Amanda Pemberton

Amanda is an automotive enthusiast, racer and industry expert working for a global automotive manufacturer. In addition to her day job she enjoys empowering women with knowledge to maintain their cars with confidence through her new business Empowered Automotive. Outside of cars Amanda enjoys exploring small businesses in Frederick and hiking with her dog Zeke.

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