Is an Electric Vehicle Right for Your Family?

BY ON February 24, 2017

Electric vehicles illustration

Electric vehicle (EV) sales are on the rise as their popularity continues to grow. In January 2017, 12,000 electric cars were sold across the United States, which constituted approximately 1% of total US auto sales for the month. In 2016, total EV sales were up 38% in the US from 2015 with over 159,000 electric vehicles sold.

The demand for more fuel-efficient and less polluting cars is clear. As EVs make their way into the mainstream savvy car buyers are considering making a change. Switching from a gasoline-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle can be a confusing prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. Once the options and features are fully understood, making the leap into an EV isn’t a daunting decision.

I had an opportunity to ask some of the most concerning questions about EVs to two eco-conscious colleagues, who have made the switch. Moms, Leigh from Green4U, and Dr. Karen S. Lee from Dr. Karen S. Lee Wholistic Vitality, both provided important tips, clarification and fabulous insight into why purchasing an EV has been worthwhile.

Charging Stations and Range

Two common concerns for those considering an EV are whether or not charging stations are readily available and the range of an EV once charged.

There’s no question that the demand for EVs is there and we’re now seeing charging stations popping up near office buildings, apartments, grocery stores,  parking lots, malls and other populated areas.

Most EV owners charge their vehicles at home and use charging stations to supplement. Leigh suggests downloading apps such as PlugShare and Open Charge Map which pinpoint where the closest charging stations are located. You might be surprised to find charging stations in areas that you frequent. Karen reports that it only takes 30 minutes to fully charge the Tesla Model S at Tesla Super Charging Stations, which can be found throughout the US.

Shell recently announced they were adding EV charging stalls to their gas stations throughout the UK and The Netherlands. With the increase in demand, we can remain hopeful that something similar will happen in the US.

According to Leigh and Karen, range hasn’t been an issue. Most EVs have a minimum range of 100 miles, with many models far exceeding that. Leigh mentions that “there are range issues in extreme cold, and your range can be reduced by up to 20%, Any temperature under 40 degrees could lower your range. Also using the heat or AC will also decrease your range by a few miles.”

Before considering an EV Leigh suggests taking a hard look at the number of miles you actually drive on a daily basis. It’s also important to take into consideration the number of charging stations available along the way. She also suggests purchasing a level 2 charger for your home. A level 2 chargers allow you to quickly charge your electric car in just a few hours.

Environmental Benefits

Electric cars, because they rely on electric power rather than gasoline, don’t produce the same harmful carbon emissions as conventional vehicles, which contribute to air pollution and greenhouse gasses. Greenhouse gasses cause the greenhouse effect, which contributes to climate change.

Other EV Benefits

Aside from not having to purchase gasoline and forgoing oil changes, EVs offer a wide range of benefits. (Tweet this) According to Leigh those benefits can differ from state to state, but many states offer the following:
  • No sales tax on EV’s
  • Reduced insurance rates
  • Reduced toll fares (EZ Pass rates are reduced with an EV)
  • Access to the HOV lanes
  • State and federal tax rebates
  • Tax rebates on installing charging station at your home or place of business
  • If your electric company has tiered billing it could be cheaper to charge your EV at off-peak times

If you’re wondering whether or not purchasing an EV is worthwhile, Karen gives her Tesla purchase an enthusiastic thumbs up:

We cannot afford NOT to invest in our future. Besides, I’m receiving a tax credit, I don’t have to put gas in the car, and there’s little maintenance.  And my utility company is partially wind energy, so I feel good about not using coal generated power to power up the EV.”

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TOPICS: Cars and Trucks, Climate Change, Environment