Thinking about buying an all-electric vehicle? Don’t hit the road before reading these tips.

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Around 10 million people globally owned electric cars in 2020, according to a recent report from the International Energy Agency. Even during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 3 million new electric cars were registered globally, according to the report. That’s a 41 percent increase from 2019.

Europe leads the way in the global electric car (EV) market, with China trailing close behind. In the U.S., only 7 percent of Americans surveyed said they currently own an electric or hybrid vehicle, according to a 2021 report from Pew Research Center. Yet 39 percent of those surveyed said they were “very or somewhat likely” to seriously consider buying an electric car next time.

If you’re thinking about buying an electric car to reduce your carbon footprint, good for you.  Here are six tips from the Better Business Bureau. (BBB) for shopping for an electric car.

1. Consider how many miles you drive

Before you shop for an electric car, make sure your typical weekly mileage is within a range that won’t have you making frequent charging stops. The charge on most EVs lasts around 250 miles, with Teslas lasting about 350 miles. So, if you commute 100 miles roundtrip a day, you’re looking at more charging time per week. If you travel hundreds of miles a week for your job, an electric car may not be the right vehicle for you.

Find out: 7 Easy Ways to Save Money When Buying a Car

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, according to the BBB. Ideally, you should keep your car payment below 10 percent of your take-home pay, according to personal finance site Nerdwallet. Before you buy, create a monthly budget that includes the new car payment, insurance and maintenance costs.

Find out: 6 Reasons to Wait a Year Before Buying a New Car

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. Shop around, comparing premium costs with several insurance companies to find the best coverage at the most affordable rate.

Find out: 7 Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance

4. Know your charging plan

If you plan to charge your new EV at home, you can charge with a standard 110-volt outlet. However, charging this way adds only about 4 miles of driving time per hour, according to the BBB. 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.”

Find out: How to Buy a Car With Bad Credit

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. Also check with your state, province or local government for tax or cash incentives for buying an EV or hybrid vehicle. While you’re at it, factor in local incentives such as free charging, access to carpool lanes or free parking for EVs.

Find out: How to Save Up for a Car in Five Simple Steps

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.

Find out:

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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