Electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly gaining popularity in the US, with EV acceleration policies and consumer attitudes driving market demand. In VinFast and The Harris Poll’s 2023 survey of 1,800 US drivers, 54% of gas vehicle drivers reported considering an EV for their next purchase or lease. EV demand was more prevalent with younger drivers aged 18–44.
In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of electric cars for the average consumer and what drivers can expect in the future.
What is an Electric Vehicle?
Before delving into the pros and cons, let’s understand what an electric car is. An electric car is powered by an electric battery instead of the more common internal combustion engine. Electric cars plug into EV charging stations to “refuel” rather than relying on gas.
Popular luxury models like Tesla are leading the way for EV recognition, though most major auto manufacturers are expanding their EV lines.
Pros of Switching to an Electric Vehicle
Owning an EV isn’t about being trendy. Electric cars have clear benefits, and many drivers make a conscious decision to switch to EVs. Check out these 6 benefits below.
Better for the Environment
The leading reason why drivers choose EVs over gas-powered vehicles is the environment. According to a 2022 study from Statista, 73% of respondents mentioned environmental concerns as a reason to switch to EVs. Electric cars can help the environment by:
- Reducing harmful carbon emissions
- Reducing dependence on foreign oil
- Helping nations meet environmental goals
EVs do not generate tailpipe emissions, which significantly reduces their carbon footprint. While generating the electricity to charge EVs and manufacture EV batteries can create some carbon pollution, these levels are still notably lower compared to conventional gas-powered cars.
Save Money on Gas
The second leading factor (71% of respondents) for switching to EVs in Statista’s survey was saving money on gas. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average US household pays about 16 cents per kWh to charge an electric car. Assuming the average person drives 1,124 miles per month, that would result in $60 per month to charge an EV.
So, how does that compare to gas?
Assuming that the average cost of gas as of writing is $3.60, then it would cost about $129 per month to power a traditional gas car. These numbers will change depending on location, gas or electricity prices, and car needs, but the trend remains the same. Electric cars are more cost-effective to operate than gas-powered cars.
Lower Maintenance Cost
Speaking of operational costs, early reports suggest that EVs win when it comes to maintenance. A recent study by Consumer Reports shows that EVs will typically save drivers between $6,000–$10,000 over the vehicle’s lifespan compared to gas-powered cars.
One of the main reasons is that EVs are designed more efficiently. In contrast to a combustion engine’s roughly 2,000 moving parts, an electric engine has about 20. And electric engines don’t need oil changes.
Ease of maintenance means EV owners are paying about half as much to repair and maintain their vehicles compared to traditional gas cars.
Many states offer government incentives to encourage EV adoption. That includes:
- Federal tax incentive of $7,500 for most EV buyers
- Additional state-specific EV purchase incentives like rebates or tax credits
- New York offers a generous $2,000 rebate
- Additional state-specific EV purchase incentives like rebates or tax credits
These incentive programs extend to EV charging station installations. If you’re interested in installing an EV charging station for your home or business, talk with a ChargeSmart EV rep to learn about available incentives!
High Resale Value
It’s too early to determine if gas-powered or electric cars depreciate faster. While EVs used to have a harder time retaining their value, recent increases in EV demand and rising gas prices have flipped the script. In particular, Teslas do the best at maintaining value. Ultimately, an EV’s resale value will depend on mileage, battery efficiency, local EV supply, and local market demand.
Some view electric cars as status symbols because they’re new, innovative, and environmentally friendly. They signify a modern, conscientious driver who isn’t afraid to rethink driving habits. Brands like Tesla have capitalized on the status symbol, promoting their electric cars as high-end luxury. In the end, your values and lifestyle will determine what kind of EV to purchase.
Is it Worth Having an EV?
Lower carbon emissions, zero gas fees, and cost-effective maintenance make electric cars a top choice for the modern driver. Not to mention, government initiatives are prioritizing accessible EV adoption through incentive programs and increased EV infrastructure.
That being said, electric cars require different driving and purchasing behaviors, which can be a barrier for some.
Disadvantages of Electric Cars
While electric cars offer numerous advantages, there are potential drawbacks, depending on individual lifestyles and needs. We’ve listed the top EV concerns below and how savvy drivers address them.
Higher Upfront Cost
One of the primary concerns for potential EV owners is the higher upfront cost compared to traditional vehicles. As of 2023, many luxury EVs fall between the $50,000–$100,000 range. This price point makes them less accessible to lower-income families and individuals.
Having said that, you can find cost-efficient models ranging between $20,000–$40,000, which are more affordable and can be eligible for incentives or tax credits. U.S. News ranks the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 as one of the best EVs of the year, followed closely by the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt.
Longer Charging Times
Charging an EV takes longer than refueling a gas-powered vehicle, and the charging time can vary based on the model and type of charger used. Consider this breakdown to charge an EV from empty to 80% power:
- Level 1 Charger (120 volts) – 40–50 hours
- Level 2 Charger (240 volts) – 4–10 hours
- Level 3 Fast Charger (480 or 1,000 volts) – Under 1 hour
Despite the longer charging times, the average EV driver can easily stay within the optimal battery charge range [link to previous blog] using any of the above chargers. This should be sufficient for daily driving needs. What’s more, charging your car overnight while parked ensures that you rarely have to stop for a fuel-up before your commute!
Range anxiety is the fear of running out of charge before reaching a destination. It’s one of the top concerns among EV drivers when considering travel. Range anxiety largely depends on access to charging stations and lifestyle needs.
For the average driver who needs to commute to and from work along with some recreational activity, access to a level 1 charger at home and a level 2 charger when commuting is more than sufficient to keep an EV charged.
However, drivers who enjoy long-distance road trips should plan by ensuring there are sufficient EV charging stations en route.
Battery Replacement Costs
The cost of an electric car is mostly due to the high battery costs. They’re expensive to replace and can cost thousands of dollars if they fail. That’s why federal law requires auto manufacturers to offer an eight-year (100,000-mile) warranty on all EV batteries.
Additionally, EV auto companies are advancing battery manufacturing, updating, and recycling techniques to improve battery performance while driving down costs. As EV technology advances, we can expect reduced EV battery (and EV) costs as well as longer EV lifespans.
Dealing with Extreme Temperatures
Extreme temperatures can negatively impact EV battery efficiency and reduce EV range as energy is diverted from moving the car to regulating the car’s internal temperature. This goes for the AC and heating as well as the battery’s thermal management system.
- Range can drop up to 20% between 0°F to -10°F
- Range can drop by 40% when using the heater at full blast
When driving in extreme cold climates, you’ll need to be more aware of your battery charge.
Fewer Charging Stations
Limited charging station availability correlates directly with range anxiety. After all, how far you can go depends on access to EV service areas. To ease EV adoption, government initiatives, electricity companies, and EV charging station installers are moving quickly to build out local EV infrastructure.
ChargeSmart EV is driving customers into the future by offering turnkey level 2 and level 3 EV charger installations. By lowering the barrier of entry to EV charging stations, we’re equipping businesses, apartment complexes, and municipalities with ways to modernize their services for future drivers.
Demand for fast charging stations at rest points near major highways and interstate routes will also help ease range anxiety for EV drivers who prefer life on the road!
Are Electric Cars Better than Gas-Powered Cars?
If you’re choosing between an electric car or a gas-powered car, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each. EVs have a lower carbon footprint and will save you money over time. Regular charging while parked will ensure you’re always ready to go. However, higher upfront costs and limited EV infrastructure may dissuade some.
Keep in mind that, as EVs become more popular, technological improvements and accessible EV infrastructure will continue to reduce EV drawbacks. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference.
Whether you’re deciding on purchasing an electric vehicle or already own one, finding a charging station near you shouldn’t be a hassle. Contact ChargeSmart EV today to learn more about our services!