Electric vehicles (EVs) are more popular than ever. In just a few short years, they’ve gone from being a relative rarity to something you might see on your daily commute. With more charging stations and a wider choice of models available, you may be wondering if it’s time to join the trend and get one.
The main talking point in the EV economy is electric cars are more expensive upfront, but tax breaks help make up for it. That’s important to consider, but it just scratches the surface of the benefits of electric cars, financial or otherwise. Here’s a closer look at all of these cars on offer to help you make the best buying decision.
Financial benefits of owning an EV
Cars are expensive, so the first thing to keep in mind when looking at electric cars is their financial benefits. Here are some of the most important.
As you’ve probably heard, you can get tax relief for buying an electric car. But how much can you expect to get? That depends on a number of factors, but it can be significant.
If you buy a new EV between 2023 and 2032, you are can go up to $7,500 with tax credits. There are some provisions to be taken into account. The vehicle must be final assembled in the US, come from a qualified manufacturer, have an MSRP of $55,000 or less, and meet a few other qualifications. Similarly, you need an income of less than $300,000 for married couples filing jointly or $225,000 for heads of household to qualify.
Used EVs and vehicles purchased before 2023 may also receive tax breaks. These are generally lower and have different requirements, but they can still help offset the initial cost.
Lower maintenance costs
A financial advantage of electric cars that you may be less familiar with is that they have lower maintenance costs. That may seem strange at first, since most of the new, expensive things you see these days have similar repair costs. That’s technically true for EVs, too, but they generally require less maintenance.
Electric motors have fewer moving parts than gas or diesel engines. This means less wear over time and you don’t need oil because there are no pistons to lubricate. Oil changes, belt replacements, spark plug changes and engine adjustments are all a thing of the past.
EVs still require some maintenance, such as changing tires and replacing brake pads, but in general there is much less to do. That will save you quite a bit of money. An electric Hyundai Kona costs only $0.079 per mile serviceable, compared to $0.098 for a gas-powered Kona.
Lower fuel expenditure
Driving an electric car also saves you money through lower fuel costs. It’s a bit misleading to say that EVs eliminate fuel costs because electricity still costs money even if you don’t spend anything at the pump. However, electricity is cheaper than gas or diesel, so you will still save in the long run.
Although most electricity today comes from fossil fuels such as gas, you pay less for it because of the sheer scale of energy networks. One study found that charging an EV costs between charges $3,000 to $10,500 less than refueling a petrol car for 15 years. In some states, those savings can be as high as $14,500.
With an EV you also have more control over the prices for “refueling”. If you have a home charger, you can charge your car overnight when electricity is cheaper, saving you more money. Predicting such savings opportunities with volatile gas prices is a lot more difficult.
Savings opportunities with other sustainable technologies
If you combine an electric car with other investments in green technology, you can reduce that electric expenditure even further. Charging your car from the grid is cheaper than refueling, but it can still be costly. However, you can generate your own electricity if you install solar panels on your home, so you don’t have to buy it off the grid.
Like EVs, solar panels have high price tags but come with tax breaks to pay them off faster. They also let you generate electricity for free. Even if you can’t power your entire home with these panels, you can still generate enough energy to charge your car, saving you the hassle of charging.
Taking into account the ongoing cost of solar panels, charging a Tesla Model 3 is 51% cheaper on solar energy for your home than using the grid. Combine that with the already lower cost of charging versus filling up and you’ll find a significant saving.
Better values for buying used models
Another way to save with an EV is to buy a used one. Now that EVs have been around for a while, you’re more likely to find one used, helping to avoid the hefty price tags of new EVs. Old models may not have such impressive tax breaks, but you can often get a better deal than a used gas car because they depreciate faster.
The lower tax benefits of old EVs and the fast-growing range of newer ones mean that used models quickly lose their market value. That may not be good news if you’re selling an electric car, but it will give you an advantage if you buy one. Because they depreciate so quickly, you can get a relatively new EV at a significant discount if you buy it second-hand.
This option can make it easier to fit an EV into your budget. It is important to leave room for fun and unexpected expenses in your annual budget and getting a deal on a used EV gives you more flexibility to allow for that.
Depending on where you live, you may also get some additional economic benefits. Some states offer additional EV tax credits and Connecticut offers one $38 off registration fee if you drive an EV. Several areas are also lowering electricity prices during off-peak hours to make EV charging more affordable at home.
Some states also offer rebate programs, which provide greater economic benefits in addition to tax credits. Others encourage EV ownership through convenience, such as letting you drive in the carpool lane even if you don’t have a passenger if you have an EV. That can save you time, saving you money on charging and parking.
Other benefits of EV ownership
These economic benefits are just the beginning of the benefits you can experience when driving an electric car. Here’s a look at some of the non-financial benefits of EV ownership.
The most obvious reason to buy an electric car, aside from economic incentives, is their environmental friendliness. Transport is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 27% of all emissions in the US By driving an electric car instead of a gasoline or diesel car, you can reduce your share of that trend.
EVs are not completely emission-free because most electricity still comes from fossil fuels. However, they still represent an improvement over gas-powered vehicles, and if you use solar or other renewable energy sources to charge them, they can achieve near-zero emissions. Even when you look at production-related emissions, electric cars are still more environmentally friendly.
If more people drove electric vehicles, the world would significantly reduce its harmful emissions. That is not the only step the world needs to fight climate change, but it is an important one.
Similarly, driving an electric car can also improve public health. The same carbon emissions that are bad for the environment are dangerous to your health. Being around gas-powered cars exposes you to things like carbon monoxide, CO2, and other toxins, but electric cars don’t have that problem.
According to the American Lung Association, switching to electric transport would be prevented 2.7 million asthma attacks and saving 110,000 lives by 2050. That’s all because there would be less air pollution endangering people’s lungs.
Exchanging your gas car for an electric car would contribute to improving public health. Since you probably spend more time in your car than any other vehicle, it would also protect your lung health.
Comfort and performance
You may also find that EVs provide a better driving experience. Many electric models today come with features like collision warning, blind spot detection and lane assist. Because EVs as a general category are more technical and future-oriented, they often include technologies like these that make driving safer and more comfortable.
Electric motors are also much quieter than even the most efficient combustion engines. This means you don’t make much noise in the morning when you start your car. You also have less ambient noise while driving, which makes for a more comfortable experience.
Some motorists are surprised that electric cars often outperform gas-powered cars. Because electric powertrains have fewer moving parts, there is less power loss, resulting in instantaneous torque delivery and faster acceleration. That’s how some Teslas can go from zero to 60 miles per hour only two to three seconds – something for which you need a high-end sports car with a petrol engine.
EVs have many benefits beyond tax savings
The federal tax credit for electric vehicles is an attractive benefit, but it is far from the only one for electric vehicles. If you think hard enough about your purchasing options and savings options, you can make huge savings by going electric.
Driving an electric car also helps you reduce your carbon footprint, improve lung health and have a better driving experience. The next time you’re shopping for a new car, consider all of these potential benefits to see if an electric car is right for you.