What to Know When You're Buying an Electric Vehicle
Electric vehicles (EVs) have gained tremendous popularity in recent years. They offer eco-friendly transportation solutions and are becoming more affordable.
Once you do your research, you should be able to find an EV for your lifestyle and budget.
Here’s what you need to know when you’re buying an electric vehicle (EV):
Assess your needs and budget
The first step in shopping for an electric vehicle is to assess your needs and determine your budget. Consider the following factors:
1. Daily commute
How far do you typically drive each day? Understanding your daily mileage will help you determine the range you need in an EV. It will also help determine your vehicle insurance for your EV.
Western Financial Group has a partnership with Rivian, a maker of electric trucks and electric sport utility vehicles (SUV). Rivian and Western have come together to offer a streamlined insurance process for your Rivian vehicle's registration, insurance, and delivery.
Do you have access to home charging or public charging stations? Knowing your charging options is crucial for EV ownership.
Are you an urban dweller or someone who enjoys long road trips? Your lifestyle will impact your choice of electric vehicle.
Determine how much you're willing to spend on an electric vehicle, including any potential incentives or rebates available in your area.
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Here are some popular electric car models to consider:
Tesla Model 3
Known for its impressive range, sleek design, and cutting-edge technology, the Tesla Model 3 is a top choice among EV enthusiasts.
The Nissan Leaf is one of the most affordable electric cars on the market, making it a great option for budget-conscious shoppers.
Chevrolet Bolt EV
With a spacious interior and long-range capabilities, the Chevrolet Bolt EV offers a practical choice for daily commuting.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Combining the iconic Mustang styling with electric power, the Ford Mustang Mach-E delivers both performance and style.
Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona Electric offers a compelling mix of range, affordability, and features, making it a well-rounded choice.
Kia Niro EV
The Kia Niro EV is a versatile crossover with an attractive price point and a comfortable interior.
How to understand EV types
Electric vehicles come in various types to suit different needs. Understanding these types will help you narrow down your options:
Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
BEVs are purely electric and run solely on battery power. They need to be charged regularly and have zero tailpipe emissions.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
PHEVs combine an electric motor with a gasoline engine. They can run on electricity for shorter trips and switch to gasoline for longer journeys.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
HEVs have a gasoline engine and an electric motor that assists with efficiency but cannot be charged externally.
Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (EREV)
EREVs have a small gasoline engine that acts as a generator to recharge the battery when it's depleted, allowing for longer electric-only driving.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)
FCEVs use hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity and power an electric motor. They produce zero emissions and have longer ranges compared to BEVs.
Evaluate range and charging
Assess how far you typically drive in a day. Most modern EVs offer ranges that are suitable for daily commuting, but some may have longer ranges for road trips.
Determine your charging options. If you have a garage or dedicated parking spot, you can install a Level 2 home charger for convenience. Public charging stations are also widely available.
Some EVs are equipped with fast-charging capabilities that can significantly reduce charging times. Research the availability of fast chargers in your area.
Understand the cost of electricity in your region and how it compares to the cost of gasoline. Many electric utilities offer special rates for EV owners.
Test drive your top choices
Once you've narrowed down your options, it's time to schedule test drives. Test driving an electric vehicle is essential to evaluate how it feels on the road, its comfort, and the driving experience. Pay attention to the following:
Electric vehicles are known for their instant torque, which provides brisk acceleration. Test how each model accelerates and handles.
Most EVs feature regenerative braking, which recovers energy during braking. Familiarize yourself with how it works and how it affects your driving.
Comfort and interior
Evaluate the interior comfort, cabin noise, and overall ergonomics. Consider factors like seating, cargo space, and technology features.
Range and efficiency
During your test drives, take note of the displayed range and how efficiently the vehicle uses its battery.
Handling and ride quality
Assess how the vehicle handles corners and the overall ride quality. These factors can vary between models.
Investigate charging options
Understanding your charging options is crucial for a smooth electric vehicle ownership experience. Here are some key points to consider:
GPS tracking systems
GPS tracking systems allow you to monitor your car's location in real-time. In case of theft, you can track your vehicle and share its location with law enforcement, increasing the chances of recovery.
If you have a garage or dedicated parking spot, you can install a Level 2 home charger for convenient overnight charging. Be sure to check your home's electrical capacity and consult with an electrician if needed.
Some EV models support fast charging, allowing you to recharge the battery quickly at DC fast charging stations. Check if there are fast chargers along your regular routes.
Charging network memberships
Consider joining charging networks like Tesla's Supercharger network or third-party networks like ChargePoint or EVgo, depending on your vehicle choice.
Calculate total cost of ownership
Electric vehicles are known for their lower operating costs compared to traditional gasoline-powered cars. When shopping for an EV, calculate the total cost of ownership, which includes factors such as:
Consider the upfront cost of the vehicle, including any incentives or rebates you may qualify for.
Estimate how much you'll spend on electricity based on your daily driving habits and local electricity rates.
Electric vehicles generally have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Consider the long-term savings.
Research the resale value of the electric vehicle model you're interested in to understand how it depreciates over time.
Ask your Western Financial Group car insurance expert about insuring an electric vehicle and any discounts for which you may qualify.
Get a free quote for insurance for your EV.
Understand the warranty
Electric vehicle warranties can vary, so it's essential to understand the coverage provided by the manufacturer. Key warranty aspects to consider include:
Many electric vehicles come with a separate warranty for the battery pack, which typically covers a specific number of years or miles.
Evaluate the overall vehicle warranty, including coverage for components other than the battery.
Some automakers offer complimentary maintenance for a certain period, which can help reduce operating costs.
Check if the manufacturer provides roadside assistance specifically tailored to electric vehicles.
Incentives for battery replacement
Research if there are incentives or discounts for battery replacement when the time comes.
Embrace the Electric Lifestyle
Be courteous at public charging stations by moving your vehicle promptly after charging and ensuring the cable is properly stowed.
Learn to manage your vehicle's range effectively by using regenerative braking and adjusting your driving habits to maximize efficiency.
Join EV communities
Connect with local electric vehicle owners and online communities to share experiences, tips, and information about charging infrastructure.
Follow the manufacturer's maintenance recommendations to keep your electric vehicle in top condition.
Enjoy the benefits
Enjoy the benefits of electric vehicle ownership, including lower operating costs, reduced environmental impact, and the pleasure of driving an innovative technology.
Happy EV shopping!