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While not as widely utilized as hybrid vehicles, there are plenty of advantages to driving electric cars that earth-minded families and individuals would do well to consider when making their next vehicle purchasing decision. These are just a few of the benefits that make electric cars enormously advantageous to the average household.
Greater Fuel Efficiency
There’s no way around it. Electric vehicles, or EVs, get better gas mileage than anything else out there on the road today. The gas savings are huge, since no gas is used (unless you choose a hybrid model that uses both electricity and gas). Regardless, electricity costs less than fuel currently. The fuel efficiency of many EVs is measured in MPGEs (miles per gallon equivalent) or kilowatt-hours per 100 miles.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that some light-duty EVs are capable of exceeding 100 MPGE. The fuel economy of medium- or heavy-duty EVs varies according to the loads they carry, though they continue to represent a strong cost-advantage as it comes to fuel when compared to conventional vehicles that are equivalent in nature and use.
Once upon a time, the selection choices of electric vehicles wasn’t necessarily viewed as an advantage. It’s only in the past five years that the selection of electric vehicles on the market has allowed for a variety of tastes and purposes.
The good news is that the diversity isn’t only in body style and size. Today we’re seeing luxury vehicles as well as economy brands offering electric vehicle options – in an equally wide range of price options. These are some of the vehicle options available according to PlugInCars.com:
- BMW i3
- Volkswagen E-Golf
- Fiat 500e
- Kia Soul EV
- Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive
- Ford Focus Electric
- Chevrolet Spark EV
- Mitsubishi i-MiEV
- Nissan LEAF
- Smart Electric Drive
- Tesla Model S and Model X
Electric Hybrid Models
- BMW i8
- Ford C-Max Energi
- Cadillac ELR
- Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
- Ford Fusion Energi
- Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid
- Chevy Volt
- Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
- Audi A3 E-Tron
As you can see, there are all kinds of cars available from luxury brands to regular family cars, as well as a couple of nice sporty options in case you’re someone who likes the feel of wind in your hair.
The Smart Car, Chevrolet Spark EV, and Fiat 500e are ideal for college students and young professionals who need an efficient travel option that’s not only fuel efficient, but also affordable upfront.
When EVs first hit the market one point of concern was battery life. Newer models have addressed those concerns with many EV makers offering warranties on their batteries, guaranteeing them to last eight years or 100,000 miles.
Testing from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, though, indicates that the batteries on today’s electric cars may last between 12 and 15 years in moderate climates or eight to 12 years in climates that are more extreme.
Some manufacturers are even offering extended warranties on vehicles that charge a monthly fee but will guarantee replacement of the battery if it is needed outside the traditional warranty timeframe. Talk with your dealer for more information on the battery in the car you’re considering.
Electric cars do not burn fossil fuels in order to operate. This fact alone reduces the car’s carbon footprint. But the planet-friendly benefits go far beyond that. Even in regions that largely depend on coal for their energy, electric vehicles have a smaller carbon footprint than conventional vehicles. In areas that rely heavily on wind, water, and sun for power, the benefits are even broader.
One point of interest about pure EVs is that they don’t even have tailpipes from which emissions can escape. It doesn’t get much better than that when it comes to safe vehicles for the planet and for your family.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than conventional automobiles. This means there are fewer things to break down and repair. Additionally, you never need to change oil or add new spark plugs with EVs. The braking system is also different in electric cars. The braking power comes largely from the regenerative braking system, which means the brake pads and rotors last longer in EVs.
In fact, the battery is the only major point of maintenance that has to be addressed in electric vehicles. The really good news for people interested in buying electric vehicles today is the fact that batteries that required more frequent recharges or replacement in older models are now greatly improved – some lasting up to 12 years or longer before needing to be changed and many from companies that guarantee them up to eight years or 100,000 miles.
Depending on the type of car you purchase, the federal government offers tax rebates on plug-in electric vehicles. The federal tax credit is available in varying amounts up to $7,500. Some states, though, offer additional tax rebates, like the California Clean Vehicle Rebate for owners of electric vehicles that meet certain criteria on a first come, first served basis.
These tax credits are offered in order to help offset the upfront costs of purchasing plug-in electric vehicles and serve as an incentive for people interested in buying them to do so. The government understands the importance of reducing not only emissions, but also dependence on foreign oil. These rebates represent the government’s efforts to encourage more people to buy EVs.
There are many surprising ways that EVs are now more cost effective than ever before. When you consider tax incentives that take a bite out of the upfront costs, combined with the availability of lower cost cars, EVs have become more affordable to purchase. Then you consider the lower costs of fueling pure electric vehicles and the fact that there is less maintenance and, by default, lower maintenance costs, and it’s a perfect storm of events to bring the costs of ownership significantly lower.
The bottom line is that electric cars present fabulous savings on fuel and maintenance for families and individuals who do the bulk of their driving locally and want a practical vehicle that is planet-friendly.
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