Should I buy an electric vehicle?
I've been asked by a couple close friends recently something along the lines of, "I'm considering buying a Prius, but should I consider an electric vehicle?" As a big advocate of EV's, I'm here to definitively state...maybe.
Do you own a garage?
Usually the first concern folks share is that there aren't enough EV charge stations. Head over to PlugShare.com or download the app. You'll be surprised to see more charge stations than you had anticipated, and more are being added every day. But as an EV owner, I don't really use the public EV charge stations that much, because we mostly charge at home.
If you own a garage, get a second clothes dryer socket installed in your garage and your home will be "EV ready". Those 220/240v sockets support 30 amp or 50 amp service - you can get 6.6 kilowatts to 12 kilowatts of charge per hour. For most cars, that means adding 20-40 miles of charge per hour. Overnight, you'll almost always be able to fully charge your battery at home. You can get a specialty charger installed in your garage, but a dryer socket is cheap and easy, and you'll usually be given a "mobile" charger you can use for your new EV. In a pinch, you can use the basic wall sockets; but at 120 volts and 15 amps, you'd get 1.8 kilowatts per hour, or roughly 5-8 miles per hour.
If you live in a dense urban environment with no garage parking for your vehicle...why are you even buying a car? Ride a bike or take public transit. Rent a car only when you need it.
What's your budget?
When I ask about budget, I often hear, "Not a Tesla." But, you may surprised that you can get a new Tesla Model 3 for under $40,000. There are now *many* sub-$40k brand new EV's.
Tesla Model 3 - $39,990 (standard range, 260 miles of range)
Tesla Model Y - $49,620 (360 miles)
Chevy Bolt - $34,200 (259 miles)
VW ID.4 - $39,995 (260 miles)
Nissan Leaf - $38,690 (215 miles)
Hyundai Ioniq - $33,245 (170 miles)
Ford Mach-E - $42,895 (305 miles)
If you're looking for a bargain, check out used EV's. I wouldn't buy a new Nissan Leaf - the price is too high and the tech isn't that great. But, for $15k, you can get a used Leaf. Even used Tesla Model S's are now frequently available in the $30-$40k range.
What do you need your vehicle for?
If you just need a vehicle to get around town (<80 miles round trip), a used Nissan Leaf is likely the cheapest option. If you'd like something that is capable of longer drives with *the best* tech, the Tesla Model 3 is a solid choice. Long trips with lots of stuff (cross country road trips)? Tesla Model Y is your best bet. If you need more space for a dog or kids, a Chevy Bolt is great. If you need a truck...you probably don't need a truck. If you want a truck, you'll need to wait either for the Cybertruck ($39,900 with 250 miles range, just like the Tesla Model 3), the Rivian RT1 ($67,000, 300 miles range), or the new Ford F150 "Lightning" ($79,000, 230 miles range), all due out around 2022.
Meet your local EV club
Four years ago when I helped found Bayou EV's, there were hardly any good EV clubs anywhere around the country. Now, they're flourishing. There are plenty of Tesla clubs, but also non-Tesla clubs. Join the Facebook groups and get involved. Also, National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) is coming up late September/early October, and there are probably EV events in your area. Check it out: https://driveelectricweek.org/