Pros and Cons of Driving an Electric Car

Zero emissions and no fuel costs sound like a dream. But for some it’s too good to be true. You’ll find the pros and cons of electric vehicles, from Mr. Electric.

Thanks to zero emissions and no fuel costs, 2017 saw a record number of electric vehicle sales, with this year’s sales expected to surpass those numbers as more American buyers seek the dream of a vehicle that doesn’t strain their pocketbook at the pump. But does the reality of an all-electric vehicle live up to the hype? Mr. Electric, a Neighborly company, helps you get a more realistic look at the pros and cons of electric cars (EVs).

Electric Car Pros and Cons: Which Ride’s For You?

Comparing the cost of a small electric vehicle, such as the Nissan Leaf, to a similarly sized smaller car, such as a Honda Civic, which car better protects the planet and truly helps you keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket?

  • Vehicle Cost
    Though prices continue to plummet, EVs still cost about $10,000 more than equivalent gas-powered cars: $29,900 for a Leaf, versus $19,640 for a Civic. This can be blamed on battery cost. Federal tax credits ($7,500) and some available by states try to ease the sting, but don’t entirely.
  • Depreciation
    The value of EVs falls quickly, taking a huge depreciation hit when they drive off the lot, pushing many toward a used vehicle purchase or lease (where tax benefits do not apply). How much do they drop in value? $5,704 each year of ownership, based on AAA estimates, compared to about $2,114 for their gas-powered counterparts. As EV durability remains unproven, and battery replacement costs remain high, it leaves reason for purchasers to pause.
  • Fuel/Power Cost
    Electric cars may cost more on initial purchase, but they are significantly cheaper to fuel, costing about one-third less per mile to power. In dollars, it costs about $600 per year to power a Leaf, versus $1,050 to gas-up a Civic (though these figures fluctuate by region). But it takes longer to charge an EV than fill-up a gas tank: Eight to 12-hours for a 120-volt plug-in. Recharging could be faster, however, with an electrical upgrade, lowering charging time to 3-6 hours with a 240-volt installation. DC fast charging stations, available at some restaurants, office, and apartments can shorten this time to around 30-minutes.
  • Range
    Unlike accessibility to gas, EV charging stations are harder to find, making ‘range anxiety’ common. Though a number of EVs offer a range of over 100-miles, more than enough for a round-trip 30-mile commute, they’re not so great for the average road trip. Luckily charging stations are increasing in number annually in response to consumer favor for electric vehicles.
  • Maintenance
    Fewer moving parts = less maintenance. Oil changes and tune-ups are unnecessary on an EV. Brakes last longer too, with the electric motor aiding in vehicle deceleration. However tire wear and wiper fluids are similar between gas/electric models. Cost comparison: The Leaf reported just $447 less in maintenance than the Civic over 5-years. But hold your horses, if you hold onto to your EV past the 8-year/100,000-mile mark (Nissan Leaf), a $5,499 replacement battery and installation costs could drag your wallet away.
  • Environmental Impact
    Auto technology is grand, but not always all it’s cracked up to be. With no tailpipe, the zero-emissions aura of EVs pulls on the heartstrings of the health and environmentally conscious. However heavy-metal-laden batteries outweigh the ‘green’ advantages for many. Batteries are harder to recycle than those in gas-powered cars, presenting ecological concerns. And cobalt, a prime ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, presents ethical challenges, mined by children in developing countries under hazardous conditions.
  • Performance/Drivability
    Overall, EVs are fast and fun, with responsive acceleration. The Telsa Model S boasts a 0-to-60 time of 2.5-seconds! (Though the Leaf does it in 8.) Cars are quiet as a whisper and run smoother than internal combustion models, making for a more enjoyable experience.

Adding an electric addition to your automobile family? Shorten charging times, ensuring safety and a seamless transportation transition with the help of Mr. Electric today.