Pros and Cons of Purchasing an Electric Vehicle Aug 31, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
Cons: Lack of Recharge Points
Electric vehicles are typically fine for homeowners since they will be able to find an outlet somewhere in their garage or install a charging station, even if it is expensive to do so. If you live in an apartment building, however, you may not have even a standard outlet by your vehicle. It is also unlikely that you can install a quick-charge station in your assigned parking spot, making it impossible to charge your EV overnight. The number of public charging stations is constantly growing, but there are still not enough in most areas of the country. If you plan to drive your electric vehicle close to home and live in a major city with charging stations, you shouldn’t have a problem. However, the majority of the country doesn’t have any charging stations. This means that if you find your battery getting low while away from home, you may struggle to find a recharge point. It also requires a higher level of planning in all situations.
Cons: Costly Repairs
While regular maintenance on electric vehicles is rarely necessary, saving you money, repairs can become very expensive. Components for EVs are less common and more challenging to produce, meaning that when repairs are required, they will cost more. For example, a battery will cost a great deal for an EV. Your initial battery pack should last around a decade or so—more than enough for most owners—but once it is time to change it, you will likely need to fork out several thousand dollars. This is much more than the average car owner is used to paying for repairs.
Cons: Range Anxiety
For many people, the short range of electric vehicles is enough to make them reconsider their options. This is known as “range anxiety,” and it’s a legitimate concern for certain types of drivers. A typical gas-powered car will be able to travel at least several a hundred miles without requiring a stop at the gas station; many can go more than 400 or even 500 miles. An electric vehicle, on the other hand, will typically only go about 100 miles. Some models offer a gas engine to extend the range up to 300 miles, such as the Chevy Volt, but this is rare and an additional cost. At the same time, the range of electric vehicles is increasing every year, and this won’t be a concern for much longer. Even today, the average commuter or city driver will be fine on a regular basis with the typical electric vehicle range of 100 miles and only run into issues when going on a longer trip. This might make an electric vehicle less attractive, at this time, if you are making consistent trips for work or visiting distant family and friends.
To make the issue of a short range on electric vehicles even more challenging, electric vehicles can take a long time to “fill up the tank.” Depending on where you live, you may have access to a quick-charge station that will mostly fill up your battery in about twenty or thirty minutes. In most cases, however, you will need to wait at least eight hours for your EV to charge completely when using a regular outlet. Owners of EVs can install a quicker charging port or similar option at home to reduce the charge time to about four hours on most models, but you will only have access to this at home. If you are on a road trip, you will have to rely on regular outlets and wait around eight hours between charges. Unless you want to drive only a hundred or so miles a day, this will be a large waste of time.
Cons: Upfront Cost
Even if you’re interested in an affordable electric vehicle rather than a performance model, you can still expect to pay a lot more upfront for one of these models than a gas or diesel car. The high cost is mostly due to the expenses related to building lithium-ion batteries that power the electric motor. Eventually, the price of these electric vehicles may decrease, but for now, you will have to pay more at the dealership. For example, the Chevrolet Spark EV starts at $25,120 while the Volt starts at $33,220. The Nissan LEAF is in the same price range, starting at $29,010, and the Ford Fusion Energi starts at $34,775. While these figures may seem reasonable for an electric vehicle, keep in mind that all of these models are compact vehicles, a segment that typically costs well under $25,000 or even less than $20,000 to own. Electric vehicles do make up for their upfront price over time, but you have to be patient while saving money on fuel. For those who can’t afford to make the higher loan payments or a larger down payment, the upfront cost can make buying an electric car impossible. If you’re still considering an EV, you will also want to factor in the cost of installing a charging station in your home, which can be around $1,000.
Owning an electric vehicle is about more than saving the planet, and there are advantages and disadvantages to this new type of car. While range anxiety, increased costs, and charging issues are reasonable concerns for some drivers, electric vehicles have attractive considerations for urban drivers. Inside a city or with a short commute, the disadvantages might be outweighed by significant gains in energy independence, saving on gas at the same time, lower maintenance costs, and reduced emissions. For now, each buyer should weigh the pros and cons of electric vehicles and see if they are right for their daily drive.