Buying an electric car has become a viable option as the cars and their technologies have improved over the years. There are now lots of car manufacturers making electric vehicles which makes this a great time to start looking for one. If you have never driven or even been in an electric vehicle, you might not know what to look for specifically, or what to do to ensure you end up with a great car that fulfils all your needs.
Below, we will look at some things first-time electric vehicle buyers should do and know before buying one.
Electric cars are full of different technologies that are meant to make you comfortable, give you a great driving experience and ensure a great ownership experience overall. However, each additional feature translates into a higher cost.
Fortunately, many electric vehicle manufacturers will give you different tiers just like you get with combustion engine vehicles. These tiers relate to versions of car models that have different features and options. For example, one version might have heated seats while another version of the same model might not.
Although you might want all the features you can get, familiarise yourself with what they are so you pick a car with those that you will use. Otherwise, you will end up paying extra for features that you will never use or that you will use rarely.
Electric car manufacturers will give a range of the different makes and models of the car they make. This will be quoted in miles or kilometres. More range is always better, but that is not the whole story. You also need to consider the battery capacity. A bigger capacity means you have more range, but it also means that it will take a longer time to charge the battery. If you plan on charging your car overnight in your garage, this should not be a problem for you.
However, if you travel a lot and need quick top-ups, the range and how fast the battery charges are two things you need to think about. Also, ask yourself if you need all that range. Since longer range means you need a bigger battery and batteries are expensive, you might be paying extra for range you might not need. If you use your vehicle to commute to work, you might not need a vehicle with a 500-kilometre range.
The exception is if you plan to use the vehicle to commute and occasionally go on longer trips. In that case, find a balance between range and price so you get the best range that allows both for the amount you are willing to pay.
If you are hesitant about buying an electric vehicle, a great option would be to lease an electric car. This hesitation might come from the numerous models available, which can be very different depending on how the manufacturer put their car together and the technologies they included.
Leasing an electric car helps you get familiar with these technologies and allows you to see what owning and driving one every day would be like. Electric car leasing also allows you to try different models and decide on one at the end of the whole process.
Once you lease an electric vehicle, you might want to know how much it costs to live with and drive one. There are lots of online resources that will tell you everything you need to know about this. ElectriX stands out because it is dedicated to helping you learn everything you need to know about owning and living with an electric car. ElectriX also provides information on important topics like charging your car at home and the insurance you need once you own one.
If you plan on owning a Tesla, you do not have to think too much about charging because their charging infrastructure is quite extensive. However, you need to think about the charging network if you plan on buying another type of vehicle.
The good news here is that the charging infrastructure is always improving. There are lots of companies now that install charging points for businesses or individuals. Also, vehicle manufacturers have agreed on a standardised charging connector so you can now charge in many more places.
For example, all other electric vehicles in North America apart from Tesla use the SAE J1772 charging connector or the Combined Charging System which adds two more connectors to the SAE J1772 charging connector for higher charging speeds.
When shopping for an electric vehicle, check the type of connector used by the extensive network in your locality since there are some with a different type of charge even though an unofficial standard exists.
Numerous platforms can help you find charging points for your electric vehicle. Use them to find the closest one to you or your work. If you are lucky, your employer will have already installed charging stations, so you don’t need to worry too much about this.
Many people buy an electric vehicle due to its autonomous driving features. Experts have had an issue with companies like Tesla calling this technology self-driving. Although most electric vehicles are able to do things like keeping a safe distance between cars and staying on a single lane, they are not yet truly self-driving.
Active driver participation is required, and manufacturers say that you should always keep your hands on the steering wheel. This is so that you can take over should something that requires human intervention happen.
There is a lot more to know about charging than we have mentioned above. Expanding on how fast your car’s battery will charge, that will depend on the car’s capability and the type of charger you use.
Many electric cars use AC charging and charging at home can take up to eight hours on a normal outlet. Using a dedicated wall charger for the car can reduce this time significantly. For normal AC charging stations, that amount of time can vary and will depend on the amount of power(kilowatts) that the charger provides as well as how fast your vehicle can charge.
For newer cars, we have DC fast charging. DC chargers deliver power directly into the battery. This is very different from AC chargers that have to pass it through a converter to convert it into DC before pushing it into the battery.
Because DC chargers do so directly with no additional steps, they can deliver a lot more power much faster to a battery. Cars equipped with DC chargers can charge from 0% to 80% in about 40 minutes, but we have seen some models that can do so in about 15 minutes.
The cost of charging your car will depend on where you do it. If you charge at home, you can expect to pay about £8.40 in the UK, but that rate will change depending on how the power company charges you for power.
Owning an electric car is a great experience that comes with numerous benefits for you and the environment. However, you need to familiarise yourself with how they work and what you need to know about them before buying one if you have not done so before.