Everything You Need To Know Before Buying An Electric Car

12/27/2017 12:28 pm ET

Shopping for a new car can be a stressful experience at the best of times. It’s a big purchase, and buying the wrong one can cost you a lot in maintenance costs and repairs over the long run. While a growing number of consumers are considering purchasing their first electric vehicle, many are held back by concerns about performance, maintenance, and the newness of the technology. How can you

Electric cars have been around in one form or another since the 1920s, but momentum really started building in the 1990s, following concerns over unstable gas prices in the 70s and 80s and the growing strength of the environmental movement. As improvements to battery technology and infrastructure have exploded over the past 10 years, electric cars are finally becoming a viable option for the average consumer. Most major automobile manufacturers have released electric or hybrid models, and this trend is only growing in popularity.

There are two major types of electric car on the market today, both of which have drawbacks and advantages. Battery electric vehicles, or BEVs, run exclusively on battery power and don’t have a gasoline combustion engines, fuel cells, or fuel tanks. But battery power limitations mean that even the most recent models can only go between 100-140 km before needing to recharge (though this rates are improving every year), and charging can take more than half an hour. Most BEVs are recharged using regular power external power outlets. BEVs tend to be favored among city drivers who usually aren’t commuting outside the city.

Much more common than BEVs are hybrid electric vehicles, which use a combination of an combustion engine and an electric powertrain. Hybrid technology allows the battery to be recharged by the combustion engine while driving, which means drivers can travel long distances without stopping to recharge. There are also variants that allow the battery to be charged from an external power source as well. Hybrids still need gasoline, but the electric powertrain drastically improves fuel economy (the rate of improvement depends on the year, make, and model of vehicle, but the the U.S. government fuel economy website provides a useful tool that consumers can use to calculate and compare rates).

The downside of both types of electric car, from a consumer point of view, is expense. While owners will save by paying less for gas in the long run, even the most economical models are more expensive than their counterparts equipped only with an internal combustion engine. This is one of the reasons shoppers are opting to whenever possible buy used instead. Buying used might mean having to wait longer for the latest technological developments, but it still gives drivers a chance to save money on fuel while reducing their carbon footprint.

Trends indicate that electric cars will only increase their market share in coming years, which is why just about every manufacturer now has a hybrid or electric version of their most popular cars available. Furthermore, the marketplace for electric vehicles is only growing. Many drivers who want to own electric vehicles are turning to online digital automotive marketplaces to find their dream car. And this is good news for consumers, as it means more choice, more variety, and ultimately a better quality vehicle. Owning your electric dream car is easier than you may have thought!

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS