What Is The Real Cost Of Owning An Electric Car?
The Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution is well underway as electric cars become increasingly popular worldwide. These greener alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles have been touted to boast several benefits. EVs have a reputation for being greener, more efficient, and much cheaper to operate.
As amazing as electric vehicles are, they do come with a few hidden costs that you might not be aware of upfront. As a potential shopper for electric vehicles, it is important to know as much as you can about the possible expenses you might have to bear when investing your hard-earned money in the car that will drive you to your future. Knowing these costs can make a massive difference in your decision-making process to determine the best EV to suit your needs.
Today, we will discuss the hidden costs of owning an electric car to help you make a more well-informed decision in your search for the car of your dreams.
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The Upfront Cost Of Buying Electric Vehicles
The first major difference between traditional vehicles and EVs is the initial price tag. Electric vehicles use more advanced automotive technology than their gasoline-powered counterparts, significantly increasing their initial purchase price. As more automakers produce new EV models, that problem might become a thing of the past.
Fortunately, automakers and governments are making an effort to reduce the initial cost to EV owners. With more models rolling off production lines, automakers can gradually reduce the cost of their vehicles. The federal government and state governments have enacted various tax incentives and rebates to encourage more people to buy EVs by bringing the cost down.
Depending on the model you are buying, the year it was released, and the automaker you are purchasing it from, tax incentives can make a world of difference in the initial price tag.
Click here to learn more about the EV manufacturer’s cost reduction innovations.
Charging Apparatus To Power Your Vehicle
EVs do not use gasoline to run. Instead, they run on lithium-ion battery packs that store energy and transfer that energy to electric motors powering the wheels in an EV. Just like any other battery-powered device, you have to charge your electric car to keep it running. Many new EV owners are choosing to install their own charging stations at home to keep their cars charged and ready to go whenever they are leaving their house.
Residential electric car charging units come in various shapes and sizes. Most models come with Level 1 chargers that you can plug into a 110V outlet in your home. Unfortunately, EVs require a lot of power output to charge, and a standard 110V outlet could take a very long time to charge your EV sufficiently.
Level 2 chargers are a better bet for homeowners who want to install a charging point at home. They deliver a higher power output that charges your EV faster than a Level 1 charger can. The cost for a Level 2 EV charging unit can easily be $700 or higher. If you want rapid charging, you will require a more expensive Level 3 DC fast charging unit available at commercial EV charging stations.
Charging Costs At Home
The other cost of owning an EV is how much you can expect to spend charging your vehicle. How much does charging an electric car at home cost? Well, it can vary drastically based on electric utility charges in your state and county. A ballpark figure of the cost to charge electric vehicles based on the average rate in the US would be around 13 cents per kilowatt-hour.
However, there is no accurate way to determine the exact cost of charging your EV at home. Electricity prices are higher during peak hours. Charging your car during peak hours would be costlier for you compared to charging it during off-peak hours. Remember that these are very basic generalizations. The actual cost could be far different for you based on your energy consumption at home.
One fact that you might be relieved to know is that it is definitely cheaper to charge an EV compared to what you would pay to fill up the gas in a traditional car.
Click here to learn more about the cost of at-home charging stations.
Charging Costs On-The-Move
Suppose that you forgot to plug the charger in overnight or you are on a long road trip. In that case, you will need to charge your EV at a charging station. EV charging stations operate like gas pumps and have become available throughout the country.
The price for charging your EV can vary from state to state. There are charging stations that charge you a fee based on the amount of time it takes for you to charge your car. Others bill you based on how much charge you have received in kWh.
The cost of charging your EV at commercial charging stations will be higher than what you might expect to pay for charging it at home. The rates depend drastically based on the type of vehicle, the state you are in, and the EV charging station.
Click here to find local charging stations near you.
The battery packs in an EV are the costliest component they feature. It is the powerhouse of an EV, and like with any other battery-powered device, EV batteries tend to wear out over time. Some motorists might not like the idea of paying a hefty amount for a new battery when they already paid a massive sum for the initial purchase.
This is where the possibility of battery leasing comes in. Various automakers are exploring the option to let drivers purchase vehicles but lease the battery that comes with them. This model can significantly reduce the initial price of purchasing the EV and eliminates the risk of being stuck with an exorbitant bill to replace the battery down the road (pun intended).
The EV battery leasing system is yet to be implemented but could contribute to the ongoing costs of owning an electric vehicle if it comes into play.
Like any vehicle, your EVs will require some maintenance. You don’t need to worry too much about changing the air filter or oil filters for the engine. However, there will be a few maintenance costs to keep everything in shape and in excellent working condition. You can expect to pay maintenance charges for the brakes, tires, wiper blades, AC air filters, wheel alignments, and other associated costs.
An aspect unique to EVs is the cost of coolants. EV batteries transfer a significant amount of power to the motors for your vehicle to drive, and that requires a thermal management system to keep things cool. Fluid changes could add to your maintenance bills. Some models might require transmission fluid changes after a certain time, and brake fluid changes might be necessary from time to time.
Overall, an EV has fewer mechanical parts than a gasoline-powered car. It means that the maintenance costs should be significantly lower for an EV over the vehicle’s lifetime compared to a combustion-engine car.
Click here to learn more about the average EV vehicle maintenance cost.
Be ready to contend with a massive bill when you get your EV insured. EV insurance costs a lot more compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. The higher initial price tag and more expensive components and repairs make a massive difference to insurance companies. EVs are currently costlier to repair. The insurance costs will likely go down as EVs become more popular and repair costs go down.
Click here to see the average cost of insuring an electric car.
Final Thoughts – Are Electric Cars Worth It Despite The Hidden Costs?
Depending on how you look at it, EVs could definitely be worth the cost. Sure, there are more costs associated with owning an electric car than you might have anticipated. But the additional costs are practically nothing compared to what you can expect to pay for a combustion-engine car in its lifetime. EVs will save you money on fuel expenses and give you the peace of mind that your car is not contributing to global warming as traditional vehicles.