What Electric Car Owners Want You to Know Before You Invest in an EV

Many internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle owners have reservations about buying an electric car. Here's what to know before you make the more eco-friendly investment.

Plug of a charging station on an e-car
Photo: gopixa/Getty Images

If you're in the market for a car, or even considering buying one in the next few years, you are probably noticing the growing number of electric cars for sale. A recent Forbes study found that nearly 23 percent of drivers would consider buying an electric car, while only 4 percent of new vehicles sold in 2021 were electric. So, what gives?

It appears that many internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle owners have reservations about buying an electric car—despite the fact that a future world full of EVs seems inevitable. "Range anxiety" tops the list of concerns, but consumers are also worried about the cost of the vehicle itself, as well as the cost of repairing a fancy computer on wheels—and of course, the existing infrastructure (or lack thereof) for EVs in the United States.

Here's what you need to know before you buy that electric vehicle, according to the true experts: current EV owners themselves.

01 of 05

96 percent of electric car owners won't buy another ICE vehicle.

People are often concerned about purchasing an EV for a few reasons: They worry they won't be able to get where they want to go because they will run out of juice, they are worried about not having a charger available to them when needed, and they worry about making such an expensive purchase.

However, the numbers indicate that 96 percent of all EV owners are so satisfied with their vehicles that they will only buy another EV, according to an AAA study. According to that same study, once people buy an EV, 43 percent of them drive more than they did when they had an ICE vehicle.

Despite 78 percent of EV owners also having ICE vehicles at home, they tend to favor their EV; over 85 percent say they do the majority of their driving using their EV.

02 of 05

Having the ability to charge at home is critical.

While there are areas of the country that are awash with electric car chargers, having the ability to install a level-two charger at your home is nearly non-negotiable. Obviously, this is a barrier to many Americans, as according to the PEW Research Center, 36 percent of the nation's 122.8 million households in 2019 are rentals. While you could own an EV without a charger, it creates some significant barriers, especially if you are in an area that doesn't have the infrastructure to support multiple public charging stations.

You'll have to wait for a spot to open up at the public charging station. You may not be in an area where you feel comfortable leaving your car for extended periods or overnight while it is charging (or you may not be allowed to). It's also more expensive to charge your vehicle in a public station, rather than at an at-home charging station. If you need your car for day-to-day transportation, this may not be the right option for you.

03 of 05

Cold and heat impacts range.

Yes, extreme heat and cold do impact how far you can drive on a charge. If you decide to buy an electric car, adjusting to the shorter range is important. This can make owning a vehicle in the midwest, for example, where your commute is often longer—and there is limited public EV infrastructure, and the weather fluctuates wildly during the year—more complicated than it would be on the coasts, for instance. While this shouldn't deter you from purchasing an EV, it should be taken as a consideration when picking an electric vehicle to ensure you'll have enough of a range, especially if you are contending with a shortened range during the winter season.

04 of 05

Electric cars require less maintenance than ICE vehicles.

How do oil changes for no more than $70 sound to you? While electric cars do require some maintenance, that maintenance is significantly less than on ICE vehicles, and even less than hybrids. EVs also require fewer repairs. In addition to not having to worry about expensive oil changes, you don't have to replace your power steering or transmission fluid either. Your brakes also wear slower because of the regenerative braking system.

With regards to what maintenance these vehicles do need, think about tires, tire rotations, tire pressure check, cabin filter, wiper blades, washer fluid, wheel alignment, brakes, air desiccant, coolant. You'll still be going to the mechanic every six months, but your cost for service will be negligible when compared to ICE vehicle visits, seeing as you'll pay an average of $330 less per year.

The most expensive part of the vehicle, the electric battery, has a minimum warranty of eight years thanks to federal regulations.

05 of 05

The main takeaway? Buying and owning an electric car is only slightly more expensive.

Electric vehicles aren't for everyone. If you don't own a home where you can install a personal charger or live in a city with ample public infrastructure, or numerous other reasons, considering a hybrid vehicle might be a much better option for you.

That said, when taking into consideration the significantly lower cost of maintaining an electric car, and the number of lower-cost models entering the market, owning an electric car is just slightly more expensive than an ICE vehicle. Just $300 a year more.

The concerns that ICE vehicle owners have about owning an EV seem to disappear when they actually buy the electric vehicle, which points to the idea that EVs are actually a solid option for many consumers as long as you do your homework first. Be sure to consider the range of the vehicle, your driving habits, the warranty on the vehicle, extreme cold or heat in your environment—and you'll find that investing in an EV is a lot simpler, and often less intimidating, than you might think.

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