Considering Your First Electric Car? Here’s What You Need to Know in 2018

electric car buying guide

The last decade has seen a lot of pretty impressive improvements for electric cars.

Perhaps that’s why a AAA study recently revealed that roughly 65 million Americans plan to purchase an electric vehicle for their next car purchase.

If that describes you, or if you’re curious about why you may want to consider an electric car as your next vehicle, this is the post for you. We’re going to discuss:

  • The different kinds of electric cars (full electric, hybrid, and mild hybrids)
  • Which kind may be best for you
  • Answer common questions regarding charging, mileage, and federal tax credits
  • Maintenance activities necessary for electric vehicles
  • Potential downsides of electric vehicles

There was once a time when “electric car” was synonymous with “Prius,” but plenty of other players have entered the game in recent years. Aside from the one you’ve no doubt heard of, Tesla, manufacturers like Chevrolet, BMW, Hyundai, and Nissan are also producing (mostly) well-received electric vehicles.

Let’s begin by examining the different kinds of electric vehicles, since there’s probably a few more flavors than you might have expected:

pros and cons of electric car

What Are the Different Types of Electric Vehicle?

While it’s true that you can narrow things down further for even more specificity, generally speaking you’ll encounter the following types of electric vehicle:

  • “Pure” or “full” electric vehicles. These electric vehicles do not utilize a traditional combustion engine and run exclusively using electricity.
  • Hybrid electric vehicles. Hybrids utilize both an electric motor and a combustion engine, either at the same time or separately. To be more specific, hybrids have the ability to operate on only electricity, only gasoline, or both at the same time.
  • Mild hybrid electric vehicles. So-called “mild” hybrids differ from regular hybrids in that they cannot be operated using only electric power; the electric motor only “assists” the combustion engine.

In the next section, we’ll examine each of these types in a bit more detail and discuss a few usage scenarios that may apply to your driving needs.

different types of electric vehicle

Which Kind of Electric Vehicle is Right for You?

If you’re considering an electric vehicle, it may be that the most important question to ask yourself is, “How often and how far do I need to drive?”

Purely electric vehicles offer a number of impressive advantages like less maintenance (no oil changes!), quieter operation, absurdly cost-efficient fuel economy, and, of course, zero emissions.

Additionally, full electric vehicles may qualify for a federal tax credit. As with all things IRS, “it depends,” so check out this official page on Energy.gov.

The big drawback? How far they can go on a single charge. This is such a large concern for drivers that the electric vehicle industry has coined a term for it: range anxiety.

In other words, worrying about whether or not you can go as far as you’d like with your vehicle and make it back home. However, things are improving: the Nissan Leaf can travel roughly 150 miles before needing a charge, and the Tesla Model 3 can go up to an impressive 220 miles.

If that doesn’t cut it for your driving needs, you may want to consider a hybrid or mild hybrid.

Hybrids have the ability to run on electric power, the gasoline engine, or both. Aside from emissions, the primary benefit to drivers is the excellent fuel economy. For example, a 2017 Hyundai Ioniq hybrid can achieve 57/59 MPG (the first number represents city driving, the second highway). Range anxiety is also alleviated with hybrids—charge runs out? The gasoline-powered engine takes over.

Mild hybrids, as you learned in the previous section, cannot run on electric power alone. However, by utilizing an electric motor to assist the combustion engine, fuel economy can be greatly increased—but not as much as a “regular” hybrid. Furthermore, at the time of this writing, mild hybrids tend to be more affordable than regular hybrids.

Some hybrids and mild hybrids may also qualify for a federal tax credit.

As we mentioned earlier, the big question is how far you need to go. While that’s likely to be the deciding factor in what kind of electric vehicle you consider purchasing, you’ll also want to consider factors like fuel economy and your total budget (a Nissan Leaf can be had under $40,000, whereas a Tesla Model S starts at $75,000).

Electric Vehicles Still Need Maintenance

…And when you need maintenance done right, choose BG. While purely electric vehicles need different kinds of maintenance, hybrids still need the attention and care that a regular gas-powered vehicle does—including oil changes, drive line servicing, transmission products, and more.

For the best service with the best products to back it up, visit your local BG certified auto mechanic, no matter what kind of car you drive.

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