It's 2021, and you're at a crossroads when it comes to your next vehicle purchase. Typically, the most challenging decisions center around affordability, performance, and style. But now you're facing a whole new set of car-buying choices: Should you take the plunge and buy an all-electric vehicle or ease into it with a hybrid? You may want to play it safe and stick with the standard internal combustion engine, but the future's coming fast. Are you ready for it?
While the electric vehicle market has exploded in China and Europe, Americans have been slower in adopting EVs. Limited model choices, range concerns, and charging anxiety have plagued the marketplace. Even with generous federal and state incentives, it's been a tough sell to the average consumer. But if your daily commute is under 250 miles, it's likely there's an EV that will fit your needs.
What's Your Type? Whether you're ready to take the plunge into full electric or prefer to ease into it with a hybrid, there's an EV model type for you:
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are powered solely by electricity, with driving ranges up to 280 miles, depending on the model. Some high-end BEVs, mainly Teslas, can get over 300 miles on a single charge. BEVs are zero-emissions vehicles, and most are capable of fast charging and L2 charging. Examples: Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf
Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs) run on both electricity and gas. Like regular hybrids, they can recharge their batteries through regenerative braking. But they differ by having a large battery that can be plugged in and charged, allowing PHEVs to go anywhere from 10-50+ miles before their gas engines are needed. And they can continue to travel several hundred miles on a full tank once the electric range has depleted. Most are not capable of fast charging but can charge at an L2 charger. Example: Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, Hyundai IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) also run on both gas and electricity but can only be recharged through regenerative braking. Normally, braking energy is lost as heat in the brake pads and rotors. Regenerative braking recoups this otherwise lost energy and uses it to assist during acceleration. Examples: Toyota Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid
Benefits of EVs
Electric vehicles tend to be more expensive than those with a standard internal combustion engine (ICE). But upfront costs are declining as more models and options enter the market. And available state and federal tax credits can also help to alleviate the sticker shock. To see what EV incentives are available in your state, check out this interactive map
While initial purchase prices trend higher, maintenance costs for EVs are considerably less than for an ICE vehicle. EVs need no transmission fluid, coolant, spark plugs, muffler, or oil changes, saving hundreds and even thousands of dollars over the vehicle's life. And unlike gasoline motors, electric motors require no routine maintenance.
One of the most significant benefits of driving an EV is just how much fun it is. Electric vehicles generate more torque than ICEs, making them quick off the block. More torque also equals greater towing ability and impressive off-road performance. In addition, EVs have a lower center of gravity which improves responsiveness, handling, comfort, and driving performance overall.
EVs are quiet and produce low to zero emissions. Even when an EV gets its electricity from the dirtiest, coal-dominated grid in the US, it will still produce less global warming pollution than its ICE counterpart. EVs also have additional benefits like access to carpool lanes on highways, designated parking spots, and reduced or free tolls.
As newer models enter the marketplace and charging infrastructure improves, electric vehicles will become more affordable and faster to recharge. So, if you’re considering making the switch from ICE to EV, stay tuned. The electric revolution is just around the corner!