Factors to Consider When Purchasing an Electric Vehicle

2015 BMW i3
2015 BMW i3

This guest article is written by Ashley Bryant of United BMW. All opinions expressed by the author are his or her own and may not reflect those of The Auto Future.


If you’re in the market for a new car, you may have contemplated whether an electric vehicle is worth pursuing. With gas prices nearing $4 a gallon, no doubt one of the most enticing reasons you’ve decided on an electric vehicle (EV) over a typical internal combustion vehicle is the significant cost savings you’d experience. With increasing popularity and no-brainer savings, there is now a plethora of electric car styles to choose from— but how do you know what’s best for you and your lifestyle? Below are a few factors to consider before deciding on an electric car:

 

1. Consider your average daily commute

Do you have a long drive into work each morning? Do you also hit lots of traffic? If you answered yes to either of these, you might want to consider an EV with a backup engine. Backup engines provide peace of mind to consumers who typically have rather long commutes and are worried about running out of battery power. The backup engine can easily provide you with 80 to 100 additional miles.

On the contrary, if your average daily commute is around 60 miles or less, an EV with a backup engine may not be necessary. In a recent study conducted by Consumers Union, an average of 69% of U.S. drivers drive less than 60 miles on weekdays, which perfectly complements the battery range of most electric vehicles.

 

2. Know your charging options

Before buying an EV, it’s important to understand the ways in which you must give it “juice,” so to speak.

Home charging boasts two different options. “Level 1” charging simply plugs into your typical three-prong household outlet.  Convenience is a big selling point with this option – but it’s slow.  A typical hour of charging will only yield about 5 miles of driving. This option is best suited for those with short commutes.

“Level 2” charging might be a better option for you if you don’t have the luxury of waiting too long to get on the road. This type of charging uses wall or pedestal-mounted equipment unique to EVs. The upside to this option is that it’s significantly faster, taking about an hour to charge 15-30 miles.

You aren’t, however, limited to charging your EV at home. Public charging stations can be found at many locations, from hotels to grocery stores to parking decks. Use this handy tool to look up charging stations near you— you may be surprised at how many charging stations there actually are. Some airline companies, such as Delta, have even made efforts to add charging stations into airports.

2014 BMW i3

 

3. Consider which accessories will best enhance your EV purchase

Most of us have hectic lifestyles, but we don’t have to let our EVs slow us down, as some often fear.  Although “Level 2” charging is up to 6x faster than “Level 1”, some people worry that it simply isn’t fast enough.  A much quicker option is delivered though accessories like a rapid charging cable, available for EVs such as the BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S— when you’re in a bind, these can be a lifesaver.

Consider that a complete regular charge typically takes overnight, while that of a rapid charging cable typically takes about 30 minutes or less to achieve an 80% charge.

You already knew that EVs were better for the environment while saving you a bundle on gasoline expenses, but now you know which factors to consider for you and your lifestyle as you make the decision to purchase an EV.

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