Hello fence. We meet again.
Trust me – I’ve been there. It’s that nagging voice inside of your head that prevents you from making a very expensive and long-lasting decision. These types of anguishing decisions range from where to go to college, whether to take that new job, and where to live.
Selecting a car can feel almost as significant, because no one wants to be stuck with a car they hate. As a result, people spend on average about 14 hours researching their next vehicle. There is a growing amount of information about EVs that makes it easier to compare options, but some of it might be on nontraditional car sites, like your local electric utility website.
Personally, I also rely heavily on word of mouth for my car. About 10 years ago I bought a Subaru Forester after a friend let me borrow hers for a weekend. Unfortunately, since there aren’t that many people with an EV yet, it can be tough to find someone who may own the model you are looking into. That’s where ride and drive events, like National Drive Electric Week local meet-ups, can come in handy. Pre-COVID there were special events everywhere that you could attend, talk to the EV owner and possibly even test drive or ride shotgun in a variety of models. Due to concerns about coronavirus these events have reduced in size and scope, but there are organizations who are still holding in-person events and new virtual events.
The next best thing is to test drive EVs at the dealership. However, unless you show up to a dealership armed with your own EV information, it is possible you’ll be dissuaded from buying one. Sierra Club research showed that volunteers were deterred from the EV model at a dealership or provided with bad information and that 74% of dealerships didn’t even have EVs to sell. Fortunately, not all dealerships are the same. In the same Sierra Club study they highlight a list of dealers that are doing a great job at educating consumers about the technology. If you have one of these dealers in your area, I’d recommend checking them out first.
Another great resource are online calculator tools. These help you figure out how long it will take to payback the extra cost for the EV version compared to the car you plan to trade in or sell yourself.
Sometimes though it isn’t as important to worry about what you are going to save as it is how much you can afford to spend. Not all of us have the ability to spend that kind of cash on a new car, let alone the additional price for an EV. That’s where used EVs are a great choice. My first EV was a used Nissan LEAF and I have saved even more money than if I had bought new.
I can give you a long list of altruistic reasons why you should go electric, like the environmental benefits and reducing our dependence on foreign oil, but at the end of the day what should get you off the fence about owning an EV is that these cars are just better than anything else you have ever driven.
I wouldn’t consider myself a car person, but I love the freedom and savings that my EV provides, the quiet and peaceful ride that is also enjoyable and fun, and everything that this car represents about my beliefs and ethics. If you can find a model you love that works for your lifestyle and it is at the price point that works for your budget, then you should go for it! I’ve never heard someone say they regretted their EV purchasing decision.
List of recommended EV research sites:
Find cars and EV charging stations: http://pluginamerica.org
Tax credits: https://afdc.energy.gov/laws
Compare cars: https://fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml