It’s not really breaking news to hear that the automotive industry is making a hard move towards all-electric propulsion. Already, we have a variety of EV sedans and coupes and even a few crossovers. But now, we are starting to see motor-powered pickup trucks and true luxury sports cars entering the market, with no sign of slowing down. Many automakers have also committed to phasing out their combustion engines in favor of a greener future. However, shoppers still seem hesitant to take the leap and buy an EV, despite the many obvious benefits.
Spend now, save later
One of the biggest deterrents to owning an electric car is the high initial MSRP, as the more advanced systems cost more to produce. Similarly, maintenance also costs more when something goes wrong due to the complexity of said systems. However, much like the old adage says that you have to spend money to make money, a little extra investment at the outset can lead to greater savings in the long run.
Electric motors deliver incredible mpg figures in comparison to gasoline- or even diesel-fed engines. On top of this, the cost of electricity is significantly lower than that of fossil fuels, even though many nations still rely on such fuels to generate electricity. For households that have transitioned off the grid to solar power, this is no concern, as they simply get twice the benefits.
It’s definitely worth noting that the influx of new electric cars has pushed prices down quite considerably, so now might be the height of the EV revolution. Normally, we’d suggest looking at used models to help keep costs down, but given the relative newness of electric propulsion technology, you have to stick with the latest models to really get the best benefits, such as enhances driving ranges or quicker charging times.
Further and faster than ever
The recent advances in battery and charging technology have done a great job of making EVs more viable. PHEVs of the past, like the gen 3 Prius, had much smaller batteries and could only travel for a few dozen miles on electric power alone, and even the first electric cars had laughable mileage. The size and weight of these batteries also had an adverse effect on driveability and fuel economy.
Nowadays, smaller batteries have far more capacity than their clunkier predecessors, so ranges of 500 miles or more are possible. What’s more, where it once took half a day to fully charge these batteries, the same can now be done in just a matter of hours. WIth fast-charging stations, up to 300 miles of range can be replenished in as little as 20 minutes, depending on the make and model.
But it’s not just batteries that have been improved over the years; electric motors are also far more advanced and powerful than they used to be. Torque was never lacking, but now there are models boasting up to 1,111 horsepower. This results in sub-three-second 0-60 mph sprint times and sports car-level top speeds.
Coverage and rebates
Besides a high asking price and longer ‘refueling’ times, another factor holding back the widespread acceptance of EVs is the infrastructure needed to support them. In this case, it is the recharging network, which functions similarly to gas stations. While many EV owners will choose to recharge their cars at home, there will always be the need for public charging. Some businesses or parking lots feature a few charging stations, but it’s the fast-charging network that most drivers will rely on when they start to run low while out and about.
An extensive network of stations is essential if an entire nation plans to make the switch to electric power. Currently, the USA and Europe lead in this regard, while countries like Korea and Japan are lagging behind somewhat. This explains why EVs haven’t taken off quite as well. This is somewhat offset by EV tax incentives and tax rebates. A straight-up discount or refund on a purchase, combined with the promise of future savings, should be enough to sway many shoppers to embrace the changes in the motoring industry.
There’s no denying that this is a time of transition, but is it the right time to be investing in a new EV? Well, it’s definitely a better idea than it was just a few years ago since the price of electric cars has come down considerably. There is also a larger variety of models, in different sizes and configurations, meaning that you no longer have to settle for a type of car you don’t really want. The used market is still a bit limited, though, since older models suffer from subpar range, reliability problems, and incompatibility with faster charging methods. As with any big decision, a list of the pros and cons can help:
- Excellent fuel economy figures
- Often standard AWD
- No longer need to sacrifice practicality
- Plenty of performance even on budget models
- Guilt-free, zero-emissions driving
- Higher starting price
- Maintenance and repairs cost more
- Maximum range is still lower than a full tank of gas
- Recharging takes longer a stop at the pumps
- The EV recharging network may be limited in some areas
It will still be some time before combustion engines become a thing of the past, and there is definitely room for electric cars to improve. However, it is clear which way the wind is blowing and it wouldn’t hurt to look a bit more closely at the EV market right now. The fact there are several models that hit that sweet spot between price, savings, range, and performance is heartening, but if you don’t take one of these silent beauties for a test drive in the next few years, you may kick yourself when you discover just how much money you could have saved in the interim.