If you want to move from a traditional gas-powered car, you will have research questions before buying an electric vehicle for your family. Driving a battery-powered vehicle has many advantages, mainly lower operating and maintenance costs. However, the ownership experience is different than with a gas-fueled model. So when buying a new or a used electric car, you’ll want to answer these questions before leaping into battery power.
- What Is The Car’s Driving Range?
- Will The Vehicle Meet My Other Needs?
- Should I Lease Or Buy My EV?
- Where Will I Charge My Vehicle?
- Are There Public Charging Stations Close To Where I Live, Work Or Shop?
- Are Rebates Available To Offset Costs?
- How Long Can I Expect To Own An EV?
- How Much Is Insurance For An Electric Vehicle?
- Do I Still Need A Gas-Powered Backup Vehicle?
- Should I Be Buying A New Or Used Electric Vehicle?
What Is The Car’s Driving Range?
With the current generation of EVs able to run for more than 350 kilometres per charge, anxiety over the range is less of a factor than it was a few short years ago. Still, you’ll want to ensure a given model’s range is sufficient for your daily commute and weekend activities. In addition, it pays to overestimate your needs when researching an EV’s estimated range because your mileage will vary.
For example, you’ll burn more kilowatts of energy at highway speeds than in the city. You can also expect an electric vehicle’s range to be drastically reduced in cold weather. Research conducted by AAA found that when the mercury dips below -6°C and the heater is in use, the average EV’s range drops approximately 40 percent! The battery range also suffers during hot days, dropping an average of 17 percent with the air conditioner running.
Will The Vehicle Meet My Other Needs?
As with any vehicle, you’ll want to research to ensure an electric car you’re considering is spacious inside for you and your family. Ensure enough cargo space for routine shopping excursions, sports equipment for getting to practice, strollers, and other child-related gear. Select a model that fits your budget and has all the necessary bells and whistles. And always give any vehicle you’re considering a test drive to see if it drives to your liking.
Should I Lease Or Buy My EV?
While new-vehicle leasing currently makes up around 30 percent of all new vehicle purchases, research suggests that nearly 80 percent of all EVs are leased today. Down and monthly payments are typically lower than financing, and manufacturers often offer promotional lease deals with built-in cost reductions. In addition, leasing an electric vehicle for two or three years can help ensure you’ll keep up with the latest technology, particularly concerning operating range. On the downside, leasing almost guarantees you’ll make a perpetual car payment. Moreover, you may encounter unforeseen charges at the end of the lease if you exceed the kilometre limit or turn in the vehicle in less than showroom condition.
Where Will I Charge My Vehicle?
Public charging station locations are growing; however, charging up an EV at home is far more convenient. You can plug the vehicle into a standard 110-volt wall outlet for Level 1 charging. This can take anywhere from eight to nearly 24 hours to fully charge your car. A better choice is to have an electrician install a 240-volt service in your garage for Level 2 charging. This service can replenish a drained EV battery in as little as four hours. You don’t even need an enclosed garage. If you are plugging in an EV outdoors, you must purchase a specific charging unit.
Are There Public Charging Stations Close To Where I Live, Work Or Shop?
Even if you own one of the longer-range EV models on the market, there will be times when you’ll want to give your electric vehicle a recharge away from home. Public chargers are typically installed in retail parking lots, at new car dealerships, and even on some city streets. In addition, Tesla maintains its network of chargers exclusively for their models.
While most public charge stations are of the Level 2 variety, some provide Level 3 charging. Known as DC Fast Charging, a Level 3 charge station can bring an electric car battery up to 80 percent capacity in around 30-60 minutes. In addition, several websites feature interactive maps showing the locations of public charge stations. A couple of examples include PlugShare.com and Electrify-Canada.ca.
Are Rebates Available To Offset Costs?
The Canadian federal government gives buyers of EVs incentives under the iZEV Program. The current program runs until March 31, 2025, or until available funding runs out in Canada.
In addition, many provinces offer incentives to EV buyers. Incentives are available as either a tax credit or a cash rebate. Some manufacturers also provide financial assistance to have a home charging unit installed. Our friends at PlugNDrive.ca have put together a great list which can be found here for each province.
How Long Can I Expect To Own An EV?
Those looking to own an EV long-term may be concerned about what it would cost to replace the battery pack eventually. Fortunately, federal regulations mandate that an EV’s power cells be covered under warranty for at least eight years or 160,000 kilometres.
Assuming you own an EV to the point that that battery needs replacing, it’s not a cheap part to swap. In researching this article, I’ve seen figures quoted anywhere from $5,000 to as much as $20,000, depending on the model. Note that the labour cost is extra. With proper care, though, the battery is essentially a life-of-the-vehicle component.
How Much Is Insurance For An Electric Vehicle?
Insurance costs for EVs tend to be more expensive. However, that doesn’t mean these vehicles are less safe or more accident-prone. Instead, it’s because EVs are typically more expensive than gas vehicles to purchase and cost more to repair after getting into a collision.
Do I Still Need A Gas-Powered Backup Vehicle?
Though it’s possible to take a long-range EV out on an extended road trip with routes planned around the location of Level 3 charging stations, family car trips are stressful enough without having to endure “range anxiety.” If you frequently travel beyond your car’s range, you’ll probably want a gas or hybrid second vehicle in your garage. On the occasional longer trip, you can also consider renting a car.
Should I Be Buying A New Or Used Electric Vehicle?
Buying an electric car can be a costly purchase. But, remember that a new model comes with a full warranty and the latest technology.
That said, you can save considerable money by instead choosing a pre-owned model. With some exceptions, most notably the Tesla models, older EVs take a hit in their resale values, just like their gas-powered brethren do. Though they won’t necessarily have the operating range of some of the latest models, you can find four- or five-year-old EVs selling for $15,000 or less. Moreover, given their range limitations, used EVs tend to be driven fewer miles than the norm and thus typically endure minor wear and tear.