Buying an EV for the First Time? Read This First

EV headlight.

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Electric vehicles have been around since the mid-1800s. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that better batteries and a nationwide charging infrastructure made EVs possible for the general public. Now, it’s fairly common to see hybrid and fully electric cars speeding around town. Maybe you’ve even thought about purchasing one yourself. 

If you’re just now considering making the green switch, the world of plug-ins may be rather daunting. How do you know which one is best? More importantly, how can you be sure an EV is right for you? 

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about how EVs work and why you might want to purchase one, after all.

How Far Can You Drive?

Charging an EV requires more time and effort than refueling a gas-powered car. However, major improvements in battery technology and overall efficiency have significantly increased driving range. In fact, the median EPA estimated range of 2020 models exceeds 250 miles. The most efficient model even achieved a maximum range of more than 400 miles. If you have a short commute to work, this means you likely won’t have to recharge for a week or more.

Where’s the Nearest Charging Station?

One of the main concerns for first-time EV buyers is where to find charging stations. Some states, like California and Florida, have tens of thousands of stations, while North and South Dakota have just 130 combined. Therefore, it’s important to research where your local charging locations are and determine whether or not it’s worth installing a port in your garage instead. 

Tesla at solar charging station.

Are You Eligible for EV Incentives?

The U.S. has offered a $7,500 tax credit to EV buyers for the past few years. However, a bill to raise the amount to $12,500 is now making its way through Congress. While this is exciting news for those considering making the green switch, you must still purchase an EV assembled in the U.S. — and with union labor — to qualify. 

The new bill will also require your EV’s battery to be built in the U.S., which may prove problematic since China, Korea and Japan are the world’s top three producers. Still, President Biden’s plan to increase battery production within the U.S. may make this incentive available to more EV buyers in the coming years. 

How Long Do Batteries Last?

If you own a gas guzzler, you’ve probably replaced a battery or two in your life. Maybe you’ve even swapped out an engine to make your ride more powerful or economical. Unfortunately, you can’t do the same with EV batteries. Once they die, it’s typically more affordable to replace the entire car. 

That said, EV batteries still last a ridiculously long time. Some early Tesla Model S cars are reaching 300,000 miles with no signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, some hybrids are logging more than 400,000 miles on a single battery. 

3 Best EVs for First-Time Buyers

Once you’ve decided that an EV is right for you, all that’s left to do is pick a make and model. The following EVs are three of the best for first-time buyers. 

1. Mustang Mach-E

Ford’s all-new electric mustang is luxurious, spacious and powerful, with standard models creating either 266 or 290 horsepower. Meanwhile, the GT Performance model can generate an impressive 480 horsepower. Go zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds and charge your vehicle overnight with the automaker’s at-home charging port installation. 

2. Tesla Model 3

Tesla currently offers three different models, but the most recent may be the best for first-time EV buyers. This car is smaller than the others but will give you the most bang for your buck. Drive up to 250 miles on a single charge and juice up your vehicle in one hour with a 50kW rapid charger. 

3. Audi E-Tron

The e-tron’s 222-mile range might not seem as impressive as Tesla’s. However, if you’re in the market for an all-electric SUV, Audi’s 2021 model should do the trick. The cargo hold has 28.5 cubic feet of space and 57 cubic feet when the back seats are down. Charge this EV back up to 80% in as little as 30 minutes with a 150kW charger. 

Hitting the Road

Choosing an EV doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you know what to look for. With a little research and a few test drives, you’ll be hitting the road in your green machine in no time.

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