Plug or pump?
June 29, 2022
Not so long ago, electric vehicles (EVs) were something more often read about than seen. Now, every major automaker is rolling out their version of a battery-powered car. There are more fully electric cars than ever, so it’s not uncommon to be cruising down the Atlanta Highway next to a Tesla Model 3 or Ford’s Mustang Mach-E.
With 30-plus unique models on sale in 2022, more people are considering making their next car an EV. Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, EVs are gaining in popularity because of their cheaper energy costs, low maintenance and good overall performance.
Do your homework first to determine if an EV is the right choice for you and your lifestyle.
But making the switch from gas to electric is a big step. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, be sure to do your homework first to determine if an EV is the right choice for you and your lifestyle.
9 questions you should ask
Here are some questions you should answer before buying an EV.
- Does the battery have enough range?
Because many Walton EMC customer-owners commute into Metro Atlanta or the Athens area for work, range anxiety has been a major argument against EVs. But EV batteries are improving every year, making cars go longer distances between charges. The average standard EPA-estimated driving range of 2022 mid-price EVs is 200 to 300 miles on a full charge.
The average standard EPA-estimated driving range of 2022 mid-price EVs is 200 to 300 miles on a full charge.
Speed, driving habits, weather and the car’s climate control all impact true range, however. For instance, you’ll burn through more kilowatts of energy at highway speeds than while cruising around town. Also, you can expect range to suffer in the summer, dropping by an average 17 percent when the air conditioning is running.
- How long does it take to charge an EV?
Recharging an EV takes longer than pumping a tank full of gas. The three charging levels that determine how fast an EV can charge are Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 (also known as DC fast charging). Fully charging a car can be done in just 30 minutes (Level 3), or it may take 6 to 12 hours using a Level 2 charger. What is Level 1, 2, 3 Charging?
- Will I be able to charge it at home?
Charging at home is the convenient way to juice up an EV. But you’ll likely want to upgrade an outlet specifically for the purpose.
The 120-volt wall outlet found in the average home garage isn’t practical for charging a modern long-range EV’s huge battery. Only around 3 to 5 miles of range per hour will be gained using this power source.
The most common choice for EV owners is to have an electrician install 240-volt service in your garage to accommodate Level 2 charging.
At current prices, a gas-powered vehicle costs 5 times more to fuel than the average EV that is replenished along Walton EMC lines.
- How much does it cost to fuel an EV?
At current prices, a gas-powered vehicle costs 5 times more to fuel than the average EV that is replenished along Walton EMC lines. Four dollars of gasoline will power a combustion engine vehicle for 24 miles while an EV will go 123 miles for the same price. Calculate EV fuel costs.
- Are there public charging stations where I live, work and shop?
Even with greater range in the latest models, there will be times when your EV needs an extra jolt of volts away from home. Georgia currently has almost 1,500 publicly available EV charging stations, boasting more than 3,500 individual outlets, according to the Georgia Electric Mobility and Innovation Alliance . The federal infrastructure spending bill passed last fall includes $135 million to build more charging stations within the state.
New charging stations are springing up in communities throughout the Walton EMC service area.
New charging stations are springing up in communities throughout the Walton EMC service area. For instance, you can find a Level 2 charging station at places like Walgreens in Monroe and O’Kelly Memorial Library in Loganville.
- Are there any incentives available?
The federal government gives buyers of new EVs a one-time tax credit of up to $7,500 — but there are a few catches. The amount depends on several factors, including the EV manufacturer. Current tax credit information.
- Should I lease or buy?
Close to 80 percent of all EVs are leased. Rapidly changing battery technology is the primary reason. Leasing an EV for two or three years can help ensure you’ll keep up with the latest technology, particularly with regard to operating range.
Many insurers offer special discounts for EV buyers.
- Will it cost more to insure an EV?
Once you choose an EV model, get a quote from your auto insurance company or shop around for coverage. Many insurers offer special discounts for EV buyers. Others are charging more to cover EVs, mostly because their pricey battery packs make them more expensive to repair.
- Will I still need a gas-powered ride as a backup?
If you frequently visit out-of-town friends and relatives, or otherwise travel beyond your car’s range, you’ll probably want to share garage space with a gas or hybrid-powered model. Or you can simply rent a conventional car when you want to venture beyond your comfort zone.
As with any vehicle purchase, you’ll want to ensure any EV model you’re considering comes with the features you need for comfortable travel and convenience. Is there enough room for your family to ride comfortably? Is there adequate cargo space for storing groceries and kid gear like strollers? Always give any vehicle you’re considering a thorough test drive to see if it drives to your liking, is comfortable and you find its controls easy to operate.