Heres the strategy that I have developed in my past 10 years buying EVs, and it can help you to score the best deals for the right vehicle. A little homework about EV incentives, warranties, service, range, and charging will go a long way toward making sure you get lots of happy electric miles in front of you.
When buying an used EV, you are going to want to know where you can get access to EV charging stations on both your typical and less-typical commute routes. You should also check for incentives for installing electric vehicle charging equipment, which are usually offered by your local utility company. The amount of money that an average driver spends on gas also can add up, meaning that EVs could potentially save drivers money over the long term. While many electric vehicle owners prefer to install their own charging stations in their homes to increase their convenience, many EV manufacturers provide free charging at public charging stations.
If you are planning on topping up an EV at work, or you are banking on frequent, short visits to public charging stations, consider an EV with quick charging. If you plan to charge overnight at home or throughout the workday, that might not be as big of a factor, and could mean that you could save with an inexpensive used electric vehicle. Few EV owners charge their cars like this, purely due to the time required.
How much time an EV takes to charge (and how many miles of range it represents) depends on many factors, including battery size, the cars overall efficiency, the charger it has inside, and the capabilities of both an external charger — the electric cars servicing, or charging, hardware, which is the thing you hook up to your wall and connect to your car — and the power supply that powers it. You can tell how efficient an EV is going to be relative to a regular vehicle by looking at how much power it uses. To get a more precise estimate of how much energy an EV would require to charge, you can use a calculator such as this one provided by Alternative Fuels Data Center to compare charging savings with fuel economy, depending on where you live and what car you are driving.
You can charge your used electric vehicle up to 100%, and then see what the estimated range says. Do not expect to get 100 percent battery life reported for the used EV, but do not get frustrated if the vehicle offers only three-quarters of the initial range. Before making your purchase, verify remaining battery life/warranty, condition of the electric motor, state of the tires, charging options, and mileage on the car.
Even then, you will want to think about where at home you will be charging your vehicle. If you can, try charging the car in your house to ensure that your plugs are compatible. You will also want to get a licensed electrician to come out to your home and check your electric panels and wiring, making sure that your residence is capable of supporting the charging station without making upgrades or improvements.
Some public charging stations are Level 2, but many provide Level 3 DC Fast Charging, which allows your vehicle to charge quickly. Only Level 3 DC fast chargers are capable of doing this quickly, but only fast-charge up to 80 percent of your capacity in order to avoid damaging the battery bank. For todays electric cars, you will want 240-volt Level 2 home charging, which adds between 5.5-60 miles of range an hour depending on your vehicle, charger, and the house charging circuit.
You can charge an electric vehicle using the standard 110-volt wall socket, known as Level 1 charging. PHEVs generally charge overnight using standard domestic power outlets. Considering that you are allowed to charge the electric car overnight at home, about 75 miles might be well over what you will need (except for long distance driving).
From where you will be charging to how much range you need, according to auto buying experts, there are many things to think about when swapping your gas-guzzling vehicle for an electric vehicle. A good electric vehicle salesperson can be aware of incentives you are missing, as well as contractors that install domestic charging units, and they may also help you decide whether or not an electric car is the right fit for your needs. If you want to avoid the cost of installing a Level 2 home charging station, or the hassle of using public charging stations, consider buying a PHEV or FCEV.
Plus, EV charging stations are becoming more prevalent and easier to find. California drivers also might qualify for an electric car rebate program from Clean Fuel Reward The California Air Resources Board also offers up to a $750 rebate at the point-of-sale when buying or leasing a new electric car that is fully electric or a plug-in hybrid, via its Clean Fuel Reward program. Several federal agencies are encouraging buyers to purchase climate-friendly alternatives to gas-powered vehicles. Tax credits and rebates offered for electric car buyers from their locality, state, or federal government could help significantly to make a plug-in car more affordable.
Some insurance companies might even give you a slight discount on a car insurance policy for an electric car, due to its green credentials and the fact that owners of all-electric cars typically log less miles, and since they are used mostly around town, they do so at lower speeds. As EVs become more prevalent, costs of certain components in cars could drop, too, potentially leading to lower average auto insurance rates. If anything, deals on all-electric cars could become more appealing, as some manufacturers are rolling these cars into their bonus schemes for salespeople — so if they want that extra cash from good quarterly sales of gas-powered cars, they will have to move a couple EVs around, too.
In reality, most EV users have charging facilities at home, and use the public points merely as a way of taking advantage of downtime, where the cars would still be sitting. While tempting, DC charging is expensive if it is not included as a limited-time incentive in the new-car purchase, and DC charging is discouraged for regular use in order to maintain the most battery life, so is best suited to longer trips, where stations are usually located alongside popular highways, or for emergencies.