The electric vehicle landscape seems to shift almost daily, with manufacturers increasingly turning their attention toward the promotion and development of electric models over those with internal combustion engines. In a 2015 report, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted that by 2040, electric vehicles would outsell both their gasoline and diesel counterparts. Now, major manufacturers like Volvo, GM, and Diamler, to name just a few, are committing to only producing fully electric or hybrid lineups down the road, driving another nail in the coffins of fully gas-powered vehicles.
But where does that leave consumers now? While electric vehicles offer attractive alternatives to gas-powered vehicles, many are reluctant to go fully electric for fear of vehicle limitations. They want to know: What are the pros and cons of electric vehicle ownership? The answer to this question is complex, as are the needs of consumers when it comes to their vehicles. Some may only need a vehicle to get from point A to point B while others need utility and strength for towing trailers or driving over rough terrain. In this article, we’ll explore a few of the benefits and drawbacks of electric vehicles currently in the marketplace.
NO MORE GAS
The elimination of fossil fuels from vehicle operation is probably the main draw for consumers when it comes to electric vehicles. The average driver spends $2,000 – $4,000 per year on gasoline, so having a fully electric vehicle that can be charged at home is attractive for both cost and convenience reasons. Another benefit is that electric vehicles generate no emissions, making them easier on the environment.
Maintenance for an electric vehicle typically costs less as well. Without a combustion engine, electric vehicles never need an oil change. Additionally, many have regenerative braking, which uses engine resistance to help slow the vehicle and charge the battery. This means they’re easier on brakes and require less frequent brake maintenance. It should be noted, however, that eventually batteries wear out and will either require reconditioning or replacement, which can be quite costly.
Electric vehicle purchases often come with tax credits as an incentive. This varies by state, make, and model of the vehicle being purchased, but some owners receive up to $7,500 in credit when purchasing an electric vehicle.
Car and Driver reports that, on average, sedans depreciate 39% in their first three years with trucks depreciating at 34%. Electric vehicles, however, drop a whopping 52% of their retail value in the first three years. This is largely due to the rapid technological advancements in batteries and other components which give the vehicles longer driving range.
NO MORE GAS?
Gas stations are available far and wide across the U.S., so when your tank is low, you’re almost always near a station where you can fill up again. For electric vehicles, recharging is an issue. Not only are charging stations fewer and farther between, but many take a long time to charge. So even if you can find a station, you may be stuck there for several hours waiting for your vehicle to be ready to drive again. As time passes and more infrastructure is put in place, this will become less of an issue, but for now it’s difficult for electric vehicle owners to take road trips longer than 100-200 miles.
Just as with any new technological innovation, there are growing pains when it comes to electric vehicle ownership. For those consumers trying to decide whether or not to make the leap into electric vehicle ownership, taking the time to understand their vehicle needs will help make that decision easier for them.