Electric Cars

5 Tips for Buying an Electric Car

April 1, 2021

5 Tips for Buying an Electric Car

It is very likely that there is an electric car in your future. By the year 2030, electric vehicle sales are forecasted to eclipse the sales of gasoline-powered vehicles. That’s a good thing for all of us as EVs are better for the environment, more economical overall, and they’re a lot of fun to drive. For those of you who are interested in buying an electric car, here are five tips you should keep in mind that will help you go green.

Before Buying an Electric Car:

Get Familiar with Electric Car Incentives

The U.S. federal government still offers buyers of new electric cars a $7,500 tax credit. Plug-in hybrid vehicles are also eligible for the credit though many such as the Toyota Prius Prime and Kia Niro are only eligible for a $4,500 credit today. The incentive phases out in increments after an automaker sells 200,000 electric vehicles. For example, Tesla and GM electric cars are no longer eligible for the tax credit as they have sold more than 200,000 of their EVs.

Before you buy an electric car, talk to your tax preparer to make sure you get the tax credit. You can’t get the credit if you lease an electric car, but your dealer can apply it to your lease discounts. You can also get credits and incentives from your state and city. It’s worth doing a little homework to see what local discounts are available to you including financial assistance with your home charging system.

Find out which incentives, rebates, tax credits and other EV benefits you qualify for using our Personalized EV Incentive Calculator.

Double-Check the Range

Most electric cars offer a range of over 200 miles on a charge. Think about how many miles you put on your car in a single day. How many miles is it to your work and back? Include trips to the grocery store or local shops. Most people won’t experience range anxiety during their daily commute and you can charge up your car every night at home and have a full charge for the next day. Which EV has the most range on a charge? Today, that would be the Tesla Model S that has an EPA-rated 402 miles per charge.

Many factors will affect your electric car’s range. Your range will diminish if you use the climate control, for instance. Your driving habits and how hard you drive has an impact as well. Obviously, the faster you drive, the more power you’ll use and the quicker you’ll need to recharge. Before you buy, make sure the electric car you are choosing has enough range for your needs. With a range of 200 miles, most drivers have plenty of range for their daily driving.

Compare the newest electric cars on range, price, cost of ownership and more using our New Vehicle Catalog.

Find the Right Home Charger

Most electric car owners primarily charge at home. At the end of the day, you simply plug your car in and every morning it is charged up and ready to go. You can charge your EV using a standard 110-volt wall outlet, known as Level 1 charging. Level 1 charging adds about 4 miles of range per hour.

Many electric car owners hire an electrician to install a 240-volt outlet in their garage. This allows Level 2 charging, which can add 25 miles of range per hour of charging. Make sure to find out how much it will cost to add 240-volt service at your home.

The price of electricity varies depending on where you live. The average price of electricity in the U.S. is 13.28 cents per kilowatt-hour. No matter where you live, electricity to power your EV is much less expensive than paying for gasoline.

Find the best home charger for your new car based on price, type and compatibility using our Home Charger Shopping Tool.

Locate Charging Networks Near You

Many public charging stations are free to use at government buildings, libraries, and public parking lots. Other stations require a fee to charge your car and prices can vary based on the time of day. It’s usually much less expensive to charge overnight or on the weekend than it is to charge at peak times, such as weekday afternoons and evenings.

Some public charging stations are Level 2, but many offer Level 3 DC fast charging, which allows you to charge your car rapidly. Most electric cars can be charged to 80% in less than 30 minutes at a fast-charging station. Make sure the electric car you are thinking of buying is capable of fast-charging. Also, research where local charging stations are near you. Check your typical routes and find out about charging networks in your town. If you’re taking an electric car on any kind of road trip, it’s important to plan your route according to where charging stations are located.

Locate charging stations anywhere in the U.S. using the GreenCars Charging Station Map to find places to charge where you drive most.

Understand EV Warranty and Maintenance

One of the great things about buying a new electric car is that it comes with a full warranty, exceptional range and the latest tech and safety features. Federal regulations require that automakers cover electric cars for eight years or 100,000 miles. That’s pretty impressive. Plus, electric cars require less maintenance than gas-powered cars. The friction brakes in EVs last longer and EV batteries and motors are built to outlast the life of the car. There are fewer components to repair in electric cars and chances are that you’ll trade in your EV before your warranty is up.

For more information, read our guide on electric car warranties and exclusions found in our GreenCars Learning Center.

A little homework on electric car incentives, warranties, maintenance, range, and charging will go a long way in making sure you have many happy EV miles ahead of you.