The transition towards electric cars is slowly ramping up in recent years, and about 20-30 new EV models are being released every year. With such an increase in popularity, it’s only reasonable to ask yourself if now is the right time to make the transition towards a fully electric car.
But the answer to this question depends highly on the readiness of EV infrastructure in your area, the purchasing and insurance costs, spare parts costs, and the range you normally do on your daily commute. Other aspects such as environmental consequences, technology, and performance are also worth considering.
In the next few years or even decades, the EV technology is sure to progress, and the EVs of the early 2020s are likely to be a bit archaic. Before making a complete transition, considering a hybrid is a great idea as it enables you to partly experience how an EV ownership feels like.
You should wait a few years or so if all of the aforementioned aspects are not in your favor. It’s still not as convenient to own an EV compared to an internal combustion engine (ICE) car, but this will change down the line.
One of the most important aspects of EV ownership is charging. If your area is not yet fully supplied with a decent amount of fast chargers, the EV ownership experience is certainly going to take a toll. Of course, you can always charge your EV at home, but numerous street/public garage parked cars still have no access to an outlet.
If your area does enjoy a developed charging infrastructure, making sure that those chargers are readily available and constantly in order is a lot harder. EVs are sold left and right, and the charging infrastructure is trying to keep up, but in most places, the charging infrastructure is lacking.
Some EV manufacturers like Tesla benefit from a predominantly well-developed EV charging infrastructure, but lots of other manufacturers are struggling to develop a decent charging network. Furthermore, these networks are mostly in urban areas or near highways, and lots of rural areas have no access to a charging network of any sort.
But the easiest way to charge your EV is from a home outlet. Most home outlets require 6-9 hours to charge the battery up completely, so make sure you always plug the car in. This way you will benefit the most even though an ICE car is still the easier way to go.
Purchasing costs, insurance, and spare parts
Even though the prices of EVs are slowly creeping down to affordable car levels, an EV equivalent is still considerably more expensive compared to an ICE counterpart. In some parts of the world like the UK, an electric Fiat 500 costs almost twice as much as the petrol-powered variant.
An even greater differentiating factor is the insurance because the premiums associated with EVs are almost always significantly more expensive due to higher EV retail prices and questionably available spare parts. EVs don’t offer as many moving parts as ICE cars do, this works favorably for decreased insurance costs, and will probably play a major role in a few years.
Probably the biggest issue with modern-day EVs is the fact that parts are a lot harder to come by. Lots of customers, mechanics, and insurance groups are having lots of issues sourcing out replacement parts for almost all EV models.
The repair costs in general are also questionable at best. The true effects of EV maintenance are not yet apparent, and after a couple of more years, we are likely going to experience lots of EVs in need of newer batteries. And the costs of newer batteries are still easily above $10-15k.
Range, technology, and performance
A regular ICE car can reach around 490 kilometers (310 miles) from a full tank while a fully charged EV usually lasts around 200-490 kilometers (124-300 miles). Some petrol and diesel-powered sedans are good for almost double the range, but the highest usable range an EV can give you is not much more than 490 kilometers (300 miles).
But the difference is that a petrol/diesel-powered car takes 3-10 minutes to full up, but an EV takes 30 minutes in a best-case scenario. There are loads of petrol stations nearby, and they are never as busy as most charging stations are.
Technology and performance are also a big reason why people opt for EVs. But both of these are likely to skyrocket in the next couple of years as well. If you do want to transition towards an EV right away, you might want to consider holding it off for a few years.
It’s always a good idea to consider buying a hybrid beforehand. Hybrids are the true middle ground between ICE cars and EVs, and with owning a hybrid lots of EV everyday stuff will become apparent.
Should I buy an EV if I predominantly drive in the city?
If you predominantly drive in the city, transitioning to an EV immediately is not a bad idea. Lots of major cities are offering a bunch of benefits to EV owners such as designated parking and charging spots, fast lanes, no congestion charges, and even some specific grants and tax cuts.
Lots of compact EV hatchbacks are made for city driving duties, and you should consider one of these as your first EV if you predominantly drive in the city.
How good are modern-day EVs?
Modern-day staple EVs such as the Tesla Model S, Model 3, Audi E-Tron GT, Porsche Taycan, Ford Mustang Mach-e are all fairly impressive cars. The Porsche Taycan is an outright blast to drive as it offers a legitimate sports car experience.
Teslas are technology-packed and the Audi E-Tron GT is gorgeous. No matter the case if the world is ready for EVs or not, EVs are way more interesting compared to ICE cars nowadays because we are seeing new design languages and impressive technology solutions that were not available on ICE cars.
Should I buy an EV if I predominantly drive on highways?
If you are predominantly driving on highways, an EV is not a good idea due to range issues. A hybrid or a diesel-powered vehicle will always be the best choice for longer journeys. But if you plan accordingly, and don’t mind stopping every once in a while to charge, you could do a long trip in an EV.