Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Cars

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The CarsDirect editorial team is dedicated to providing our readers with the latest on new and used cars, expert opinions on which vehicles make the grade, and all the fun stuff in between.


, - June 25, 2019
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Electric cars have come a long way in the past decade. Apart from improvements in price, the latest generation offers the flexibility of enhanced range, faster charging, and benefits associated with plug-in incentives. However, choosing an electric car or crossover will require you to look at your unique needs and to carefully weigh some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a zero-emission EV.

Advantages

  • The number one advantage of an electric vehicle is that no gas is required. One example is the Chevy Bolt EV. It has a battery range of 238 miles. 40 miles is more than the range of an average commute to work, so you can go to and from work on purely electric power.

  • You can plug the car into any outlet of the proper voltage and charge the car. Electricity can be cheaper than gas, and the savings may be dramatic, especially if you qualify for discounted electricity rates through your local utility provider.

  • Electric cars give off no emissions. Electric cars are even better than hybrids in this regard. Hybrids running on gas give off emissions, while electric cars are totally 100 percent free of tailpipe pollutants.

  • EVs can be surprisingly safe when dealing with models that feature specialized construction to protect the onboard batteries. For example, Tesla has racked up top safety ratings on vehicles like the Model S.

  • Plug-in incentives can help reduce your costs and make some vehicles more affordable than you might think. Apart from regional incentives like the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP), EVs and other plug-ins may be eligible for benefits like carpool lane access and a federal tax credit.

    Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Disadvantages

  • The first disadvantage is price. Electric car batteries are not cheap, and the larger the battery, the more you will pay. Many EVs start above $30,000 before incentives, and even the most affordable models from brands like Tesla can easily exceed $50,000 or even $60,000.

  • Even though it is a quiet ride, silence can be seen as a disadvantage. People like to hear cars when they are coming up behind them or beside them, and you can't hear if an electric car is near you. Many brands now feature simulated sounds to alert pedestrians.

  • Not every EV is available in all parts of the country. For example, the FIAT 500e, Kia Soul EV, and Volkswagen e-Golf are all models with sales limited to a handful of states. In contrast, vehicles like the Chevy Bolt EV are available nationally.
  • Most cars take a long time to recharge their batteries. For example, the Nissan LEAF can be charged to 80% of capacity in as little as 40 minutes, although doing so requires a 480V DC Quick Charge station. That also assumes you're charging the 40kWh version (the larger 62 kWh battery takes 60 minutes). Using a standard 120V home outlet, you'll likely need to let your car charge overnight.

  • If you live in an apartment and don't have access to overnight charging, odds are that you'll have to make use of public charging options. Drivers who love taking long road trips may need to consider renting a car for extended journeys.

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The CarsDirect editorial team is dedicated to providing our readers with the latest on new and used cars, expert opinions on which vehicles make the grade, and all the fun stuff in between.


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