Living in a world where you can charge your car just like you charge your phone still feels like the future, but that future is becoming more and more accessible to all of us by the day. Due to the many benefits of electric vehicles, it’s not really surprising that the number of electric car drivers has steadily been on the up and up over the last half decade with no signs of slowing.
Between the low maintenance, the environmental benefits, the convenience of charging your car right in your garage, and the potential cost savings (the average electric car can save someone in California who drives 15,000 miles in a year about $850 annually on fuel) — what’s not to love? But if you’re thinking of going electric, there’s more to the market than just the high-profile Teslas to take into account.
Not All Electric Cars Are Created Equal
Even though Tesla seems to grab all of the headlines in the electric car market, there are many varieties and options to consider. For starters, there are three main categories of electric cars: pure electric (EVs), hybrids (HEVs), and the less common fuel cell (FCEVs). Each has their differentiating factors, so take a moment to think through your needs before you start your search.
EVs are probably the cars that comes to mind when you think of a true electric car (think Tesla or Chevy Bolt), while HEVs have the addition of a gas tank for long distance drivers. FCEVs are still not widely available (currently only in small numbers in select regions where hydrogen filling stations are available) but when they are, a car that charges in the same time it takes to fill a car with gas and it emits only water? Well, sign us up!
What To Look For
Now that you can put yourself into a category of electric cars, there are a few other points of comparison that place some EVs ahead of the pack.
- Price: You might be saying “well, duh,” but the price points of electric cars can certainly vary, from $29,000 for the Nissan Leaf to $136,500 for the Tesla Model S P100D. And, if you’re planning to finance, be sure to consider price in terms of how much you’re willing to pay per month. Use our Monthly Car Payment Calculator to help you estimate your monthly payments.
- Range: For the future electric car owner, this is probably one of the most important factors, signifying how far a car can go purely on electricity. EVs sit between 100-250 miles, perfect for drivers who find themselves in the car all the time, while hybrids come in much lower (around 25-50), but still can be enough to avoid weekly trips to the gas pump if you have easy access to charging and typically drive short distances.
- MPG: One of the hallmark stats of regular gasoline-powered cars, this is still important if you’re considering the hybrid route. The hope is that you still will barely have to use gas, but if a road trip is ever on the agenda, you’ll want to be aware of what kind of gas mileage you’ll get out of your new car.
As technology improves, you might not be as far away from having an electric car in your garage as you think. Just make sure you’re realistic about your vehicle needs, and you’ll have no problem finding the right lean, green, and mean modern ride for you.