Is now the right time to buy an electric car? This was the question on my mind back in 2018. When we were looking to repurchase a new car, there were reports of Tesla running out of cash. The company’s future was in question. In 2018, Tesla qualified for the federal tax credit, plus California and our local utility offered additional cash rebates.
On top of that, it was uncertain if electric cars were a fad or the future of automobiles. So ultimately, we switched and bought an electric vehicle and added a second one months later to become 100% electric.
Since 2018 a lot has changed in the world of electric cars. Tesla’s stock took off and surpassed Facebook to become the fifth most valuable company in the S&P 500. So the question is, now is the right time to buy an electric car? I believe now is a great time to buy an electric vehicle. When drawing your conclusion, I will walk you through the considerations.
Electric Cars Save Money
When I was researching buying our first electric car, a question on my mind was how much money do electric cars save you? Then, I came across an article by Loup, an electric vehicle mobility company. The Loup article broke down the cost of owning a $38,900 Tesla Model 3 versus owning a $24,600 Camry. When factoring in fuel cost, taxes, financing maintenance, and resale value, I was surprised that Tesla was the cheaper vehicle. Over five years, Tesla was about $5,890 less to fuel and $2,800 less to maintain. On top of that, Tesla retained a $9,194 greater value than the Camry.
You can read an updated version of the article here. As for our family, we bought an electric car and switched from gas to electric. We went from paying $400 to $500 a month in gas to about $125 in electricity. We have also experienced much lower maintenance costs. On average, maintenance for an electric car is half what it costs to maintain a gas vehicle.
Understanding how much money you can save with a specific electric car is important. Electric Driver has information about expected electricity and maintenance costs for each electric car model based on your location. An example of our cost-to-own breakdown is available for the
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-e performance edition for your viewing. We calculate electricity costs based on your state electricity prices. We also show you how many electric car chargers are available near your home.
Electric Cars Save Time
The time you save owning an electric car is something you have to feel to appreciate. The average American spends around three hours a year pumping gas alone. Add the time spent getting oil changes, regular maintenance service, and lost time. Owning an electric car since 2018, I have regained lost time by freeing myself of trips to the gas station and dealer.
With an electric vehicle, your charging is done at home overnight. As for maintenance, electric cars have fewer components and fewer moving parts than gas-powered cars. Electric vehicles, therefore, require less frequent maintenance than gas cars. Another time-saving feature has been what is called over-the-air updates. If you own an iPhone or Android device, you have experienced over-the-air updates. These updates can range from the latest version of an operating system to a software fix. Electric Cars have this same ability to update themselves, just like your phone. Updates can range from minor fixes to your car, software updates, and in some cases, even performance and range increases to your electric vehicle. Each electric vehicle manufacturer handles what over-the-air updates can do, but they are another valuable time saver. If you want to recapture some of your time back, an electric vehicle can help.
Electric Cars are Good for the Environment
Many states in 2020 went into Covid lockdown for parts of the year. One of the silverlings of everyone staying at home was we had some of the cleanest air in years. I live near LA, a city known for smog and traffic. The Los Angeles streets were empty, and we had the cleanest air in the world during the lockdown. With America coming out of Covid, things are slowly returning to normal. Freeways and packed with cars, and air quality and temperatures are rising. We each need to consider how we can improve the environment.
Electric cars are good for the environment and have a definite improvement over gas-powered cars, but they are imperfect.
The misnomer people have with electric cars is that they create no emissions. While the electric vehicle itself does not produce emissions, you make some emissions if you buy electricity from the utility.
Buying electricity shifts emissions from your tailpipe to your utility, but in general, electricity creates fewer emissions than burning gasoline.
Electricity from the Utilities Creates Emissions
Each state generates its electricity from different sources and has a different level of emissions. For example, if you were to buy electricity within California, your power would mostly come from natural gas and renewables. Over a year, using an electric car would generate 1.2 tons of emissions. On the other hand, if you were buying electricity in Missouri, which gets most of its power from coal, you would generate 3.67 tons of emissions. Regardless of your state, electric cars create fewer emissions than a gas car’s 5 tons. The ideal solution is to buy solar panels and create clean electricity. Electric Driver provides emission information for specific models and electric utilities by state. Learn about the environmental impact an electric car can have based on your decisions. With climate change’s momentum, owning an electric vehicle can lower your emissions.
Electric Vehicle Incentives
The federal government gives out an electric vehicle federal tax credit of up to $7,500. In addition, state and electric utilities may also provide additional rebates. When I bought my electric vehicle in 2018, we saw $11,000 in tax credits and rebates from the federal, state, and utility providers. Inquire to see what your state and utility are offering in your area. Remember that the Federal tax credits are limited to the first 200,000 electric vehicles each car maker sells.
Transitioning to an Electric Vehicle Future
Momentum is building for electric cars. California’s largest automotive market in the United States passed a bill banning the sale of gas cars by 2035. ten states are also in various stages of making a similar ban on gas cars. Makers of gas-powered cars are also making similar changes. General Motors has declared it will transition to an all-electric car company by 2035, and other carmakers are following General Motors’ lead.
We hope we have addressed your question of if now is the right time to buy an electric car. We feel electric vehicles are the way to go for financial, convenience, and environmental reasons alone. To learn more, visit our guide on finding the right EV, or go to Electric Driver if you are ready to dive in.