It seems GM’s announcement to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035 kicked off a 21st century electric vehicle space race. Since then, it seems like there’s been a new EV pledge every week.
- Ford is phasing out gas in Europe by 2030
- Volvo is going all-electric by 2030
- Nissan plans to sell 1 million electric or hybrid vehicles per year by 2022
- Toyota is launching 40 new/updated EVs by 2025
In fact, here’s a whole list of pledges as of March 2, 2021.
So is it time to seriously consider an EV as your next vehicle? Environmentally speaking, it’s a no brainer. Electric vehicles emit 64% less CO2 through electricity generation and fuel production, and use FAR less raw material than gas vehicles. That’s not to mention improved local air quality.
But there’s also price, functionality, and maintenance to consider. So, as somebody who has decided his next vehicle will be all-electric, but is waiting for the right moment to buy, I thought I’d put together a “State of the EV” address of sorts.
Are Electric Vehicles Affordable?
This is the major hold up for myself and many others, I imagine. I’d love to trade in my gas guzzling Mitsubishi Endeavor for a small all-electric SUV that can get me to a remote trailhead and back. But, for now, those EVs are out of my price range.
For example, a used 2019 Hyundai Kona electric has a 258 mile range and would get me most places — but it’s listed over $25,000. Meanwhile, this gas-powered 2019 Kona costs under $12,000, which makes it hard to pull the trigger on the electric version.
But, given the breakneck speed at which EVs are evolving, they tend to depreciate quite drastically. So, in a few years, that 2019 Hyundai Kona might be more in my wheelhouse!
With that said, if you’re looking for a cheap car for a short commute or local errands, look no further than an older EV. Used Nissan Leafs run from $3k to $7k and cost next to nothing to charge and maintain.
Overall, the upfront price for EVs is still a significant obstacle for most consumers, but there’s hope.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts electric vehicles will be cheaper to buy than their gas counterparts by 2025. In fact, this week Chevy slashed the price of its new Bolt EV by more than $11,000 AND they will pay to install a level 2 EV charger in your home.
Now, that brand new Bolt EV still costs nearly $28,000, but it’s tough not to think this is a sign of things to come. The EV market is about to get very crowded, and if having a roommate that took Econ 101 taught me anything, it’s that competition drives down prices.
Bring on the competition!
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Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety
Range anxiety is the next biggest obstacle to owning EVs. I love to hike, but I’d rather not hike home because my EV died on the road to the trailhead.
But there’s good news on several fronts here.
1) EVs are gaining range very quickly as battery technology improves
For example, this 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV, could barely muster up 103 miles of range brand new. Now, just 8 years later, small EV-SUVs can go two and a half times further on a single charge.
And this ridiculous $113,000 Hummer EV can go 350 miles on a single charge. Just imagine if they applied that technology to car that more than 142 people would actually buy!
2) Charging infrastructure is having a moment
In addition to the Biden administration promising 500K new EV chargers — which I’m not holding my breath for — energy companies are jumping on the EV charging bandwagon. Shell recently launched a plan to add 500,000 charging stations by 2025.
Greenwashing or not, we still need those EV chargers.
Maintaining an Electric Vehicle vs a Gas Car
After 13 years of driving used gas vehicles, I am sick and tired of worrying about every clank and rattle that comes out of my car. And there are a lot to worry about. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate bringing my car to the shop, having no words to describe what’s wrong with it, and being at the mercy of the mechanic’s mood.
Fortunately, EVs have way less moving parts and therefore way less to maintain and worry about.
In fact, according to Consumer Reports:
Consumers who purchase an electric car can expect to save an average of $4,600 in repair and maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle compared with a gasoline-powered car, CR’s study shows.
And that’s not to mention the cost of fuel. It’s estimated powering a gas car for 100 miles costs $9.38 while powering an electric vehicle for 100 miles costs $5.27.
Not only is that money back in your pocket; that’s time away from smelly gas station pumps and the flammable liquid that comes out of them.
The Bottom Line
EVs have long been a obvious choice for environmentalists, but they are not far from becoming the better deal for all drivers. If you can get one now, get one! If not, hold tight as the prices fall and the functionality increases.
Personally, I’ll be tracking the 2019 Hyundai Kona until it falls in my price range. Then you all can eat my non-existent tailpipe emissions…