The future is electric. Whether you’re thinking about buying an electric vehicle (EV) to save money or reduce your carbon footprint, here are six tips to consider when shopping for an electric car.
1. Consider how many miles you drive
Electric vehicle charging stations aren’t as readily available as gas stations. Therefore, before shopping for an electric car it’s important to make sure your transportation needs match the availability of your vehicle’s power source. The charge on most EVs lasts around 250 miles. How far is your usual commute? Can you make it there and back without needing a charge? More importantly, consider where you’re driving. Going home and back in an urban city is a lot different than someone who travels for work and must drive for long stretches (especially in rural settings).
2. Make sure you can afford a new car
Base prices for electric vehicles start at around $30,000 and can run as high as six figures for high-end models. Ideally, you should keep your car payment below 10 percent of your take-home pay. Before you buy, create a monthly budget that includes the new car payment, insurance, and maintenance costs.
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3. Check on insurance rates before buying
Depending on the insurance provider, insuring an electric car costs about 23 percent more than what you’d pay to insure a gas car, according to U.S. News. Call your insurance agent to find out what the insurance premium will be on the EV you have in mind before buying. Comparing premium costs with several insurance companies to find the best coverage at the most affordable rate.
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4. Know your charging plan
If you plan to charge your new EV at home, you can charge it with a standard 110-volt outlet. However, charging this way adds only about 4 miles of driving time per hour. You may want to upgrade by hiring an electrician to install a 240-volt outlet in your garage for faster charging, so factor in that cost.
“Keep in mind too that not all public charging stations are free,” says the BBB. “If you plan to use public charging stations at the office or somewhere else, investigate the cost ahead of time.”
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5. Search for tax credits and cash incentives
When you purchase a new electric car or plug-in hybrid vehicle, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. Check with your state, province or local government for additional tax or cash incentives for buying an EV or hybrid vehicle. While you’re at it, factor in local incentives such as free charging, or free parking for EVs.
6. Consider leasing
If you’re not sure you’re ready to buy an all-electric vehicle, consider leasing one instead. “Your monthly payments will be lower, and you’ll find out if you like EVs enough to purchase one,” says the BBB.