9 Buying an Electric Vehicle

Sustainable vehicles are our future as we try to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels. Buying an electric vehicle can be overwhelming and frankly confusing. When considering an electric vehicle it is important that you look at your lifestyle in order to determine which car will work best for you. Below you will find tips on buying an electric vehicle to ensure you are picking the best vehicle for YOU.

Own your range anxiety!
Range anxiety is real and you have to deal with it because it is a major influence in which electric car is best for you. I had range anxiety big time and I almost let it affect my decision on which car to buy. If I had given into it I would have ended up with the Chevy Volt but because I decided to jump in with both feet I ditched gas all together and got a Nissan Leaf. 

Consider day to day driving not once a year driving
It is easy to dismiss full electric vehicles by saying that you can't take that road trip you go on once a year. Don't buy an electric car for the 1% of your driving, buy it for the 99% of your driving. I drive anywhere from 50-95 km a day. Purchasing the Ford Fusion Energi would have meant I was driving using gas 18-63 km and with the Chevy Volt it would have been 0-20 km. With the Nissan Leaf I would have 55-90 km of battery range left over at the end of each day. For the longer trips we take a few times a year we will take our second vehicle, rent a vehicle or use a carshare program. 

Remember battery range is an estimate
Battery range is just that, a range. There are so many factors that affect the range you will get including temperature, speed, use of accessories, use of climate control, braking, and grade of the road. When you are considering different models remember to leave yourself a battery range buffer based on your day to day driving. 

Find a dealer that knows their cars
That may seem obvious but I was seriously surprised at the lack of information dealers had about their own electric cars. I chalked it up to either they think the consumers already know everything or they think they can just BS their way to a sale. We tried several different dealers until we found one that was knowledgeable, in fact they all owned their own electric cars! 

Electric cars can be fun!
Approach buying an electric car like any other car. Most are 4 seaters so if you need 5 seats make sure you specifically look for cars that meet that requirement. If you want to be able to track your driving efficiency look at the different programs each car company has to see what data is tracked. Drive the models that are fitting your criteria to check out all the bells and whistles. Consider what are your needs vs wants and prioritize them so you can see which car is really coming out on top. 

Look for government incentives
You might be surprised to find that a lot of governments are offering cash incentives for buying electric vehicles. Most are a scaled system based on the size of the battery but the amounts can make a significant impact on the total cost of the car. 

Canada - British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec
USA - Variety of state and federal incentives
Europe - Majority of EU counties have incentives

All things considered, buying an electric vehicle is an adventure and can be very rewarding. Have you considered an electric vehicle? What models did you look at? What was the major factor in whether you bought it or not?

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  1. Ah, I so wish I could! I definitely think the hubby would shoot it down. How do we know where we can charge it?

  2. There are numerous websites that show public charging stations. The cars also have displays where the GPS map is and it shows you where all the charging stations are as you drive. Every car dealership that sells electric vehicles has them too.

    That's only if you need to charge when you are out. Otherwise you just charge at home (cost is less than $50/month).


  3. I just finished a plug in challenge for Toyota, driving the Prius and it was a blast and learned a lot about our driving needs and habit. Winning with 999 MPG was not easy but using just EV mode certainly possible for my driving needs. Your #1 and #2 points are spot on for what you need your vehicles for. When we chatted with an EV expert Eric Novak on Green Sisterhood, we talked about how you shouldn't make your car buying decision based on one time trip to the mountain.

    I'm looking forward to buying an EV for my next car!

    Great post Jen!

  4. We bought a ford focus electric. I love it! I also love the plug share ap for finding charging stations

  5. I really hope my next car is electric. When I drove the Prius plug-in for a month it completely changed me, it was great car. I just do not need a new car just yet.

  6. I waited for that exact same reason Leigh. My Mazda was working fine so there was no need to get a new car...as much as I really wanted to. But when 10.5 years hit and things started to need repairs I knew it was time to move on and get something new.

  7. All-electric vehicles are absolutely the future of sustainable transportation. Tesla Motors just officially announced that they will have a much more affordable vehicle in a few short years. Hopefully the major car manufacturers will start to really ramp up production of EVs, because they are still a small fraction of overall vehicle production.

    1. Nissan has announced that they are working on a larger battery too so hopefully that is a good sign that a lot of the car companies are trying to improve EVs. Sadly, in Canada it is rare for a dealer to actively promote their EVs because they aren't making money off of them (on the sale or maintenance). And no manufacturer, other than Tesla, is promoting the full life of owning an EV by supporting the expansion of the charging network.