Electric Vehicles: Pros and Cons
There’s no question about it: the EV revolution is coming, and it’s coming fast, with many big-time automakers pledging to go all-electric by the end of the current decade. Still, some remain skeptical. Are electric cars worth it? Is now the best time to buy an electric vehicle, or should you wait a couple more years until the industry works out some kinks?
Let’s weigh the costs and benefits of buying an EV. We’ll also touch on why plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) might be a solid middle ground, depending on your needs.
First, we’ll take a look at what makes buying an EV a good decision.
Savings on Fuel
Are electric cars cheaper than gas? Definitely. This is often the most-touted advantage by EV adopters, and it’s a big one to consider. With an all-electric vehicle, stopping by the gas station to fill up the tank becomes a thing of the past. Finally, you can wave goodbye to worrying about fluctuating gas prices, and hunting around to find the best deals on gas in Birmingham and abroad.
It’s hard to pin down exactly how much the average American spends monthly or yearly on gassing up their combustion engine car; it depends on several factors, like current gas prices, vehicle MPG, and how much the vehicle is driven on a daily basis. As of this writing, AAA reports that average prices for regular unleaded gas in Alabama is $4.148 per gallon.
When you buy an electric Hyundai, like the Kona or IONIQ 5, you get 250 kilowatt-hours of DC fast charging over three years. Ask your Hyundai dealer for additional details about this offer, courtesy of Electrify America.
Savings Through Tax Credits
The pump isn’t the only place you stand to save some serious loot if you buy an EV. The 2022 Kona Electric, for instance, is eligible for the full $7,500 federal credit. The exact amount of credit any given vehicle qualifies for is largely dependent and battery capacity, and buyer’s own income and tax status will factor in as well.
Some tax credits are also offered at the state-level. Residents of Alabama unfortunately don’t have this benefit yet, but new tax incentives for EVs are being legislated every year.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Recent government estimates show that, on average, EV owners save about 4 cents per mile driven, in terms of regular scheduled maintenance. This might seem like a tiny drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things, but when you factor in how many miles the average person drives per year, this figure blows up significantly.
Kelley Blue Book reports that Alabama residents, on average, drive 17,817 miles in a given year. If we do the math really quick, that means that the average EV owner stands to save roughly 712 bucks a year.
This is all due to the fact that electric motors are far simpler, and thus have significantly fewer wear-and-tear items that need to be replaced at regular intervals. That means you can wave goodbye to oil changes, timing belts, fuel and oil filters, spark plugs, and transmission service, among other things.
Are electric cars reliable? You bet! They are able to handle most weather these days, and only lose about 2% max charge capacity per year. Besides, with any Hyundai electric vehicle, you get extra peace of mind in the form of a 10-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.
Because the electric engine of an EV sends all the power directly to the wheels, and because of the much simpler transmission, electric vehicles have some of the best torque and acceleration of any car on the road, making for a quick and responsive drive. Some folks will find the lack of engine rumble eerie or unsatisfying, but if you’re looking for a fun ride, EVs deliver big time.
In particular, the all-new 2022 IONIQ 5 is generating some significant buzz as one of the best EVs to buy in 2022. It offers over 300 miles of driving range, can gain up to 68 miles in 5 minutes of charging (800V ultra-fast charger), and accelerates to over 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds. Speak with a Hyundai dealer near you for more info about the IONIQ 5.
Now, let’s check out some factors that might deter would-be EV buyers—for now.
Lower Total Range
This is the most common criticism levied at electric vehicles: even on a full charge, many EV batteries simply don’t hold enough of a charge to compete with comparable cars with gas motors.
This technology is fast-improving. The 2022 IONIQ 5, for instance, will get an estimated 303 miles of range on a full charge—a vast improvement on the 2021 IONIQ Electric’s 170 miles. Still, for many, range anxiety is a very real deterrent. One of the biggest deciding factors here is how you use your car. If you live in a populous urban area with an abundance of public charging stations, and you don’t travel a bunch for work, a new EV might work just fine for your lifestyle. If, however, you don’t have an at-home charging station, or you live in a rural area, or you plan on taking a long road trip, you may be out of luck.
Lengthy Charge Times
Charging an electric vehicle isn’t exactly as easy as pulling up to a gas station and pumping a full tank in minutes. Public level-3 DC fast charging can bring an electric battery pack up to about 10% to 80% charged in about 30 minutes, but this is still a significantly larger time commitment than your standard gas pump, and also requires drivers to carefully plot their route through town, which can in turn add extra time to a commute.
The best fix for this is to charge your EV at home, using either a level 1 or level 2 charger. A level 1 charger is the same as any regular outlet in your home that you’d plug a toaster or a vacuum into, and you probably have multiple of these in your garage, but unfortunately, they lack the oomph to charge efficiently, often taking upwards of eight hours to bring it to full power.
Many people already have a 240-volt level-2 outlet at home: just check behind your electric clothes dryer or your oven. These can provide a much faster charge, making overnight at-home charging perfectly feasible, and if you don’t mind unplugging your dryer at night and running an extension cord to your car, it can be done on a budget. Still, many find this option inconvenient, and opt to have a dedicated level-2 charger installed in their garage. Unless you’re already an electrician, you’re going to have to have it installed by a professional, which is another initial cost of buying an EV.
Lack of Infrastructure
This one goes hand-in-hand with the issues of range and charge times.
The basic issue is that, as of now, your home electrical grid almost certainly can’t handle a level-3 DCFC system. That means, for convenient fast charging, you’re dependent on public stations, which tend to be few and far-between in all but the most-developed urban areas.
This is another issue that is making leaps and bounds as local, state, and federal governments offer more and more incentives to improve communities’ electrical grid game. For now, though, it simply isn’t feasible for everyone.
Higher Purchase Cost
The cost benefits of owning an EV are generally more oriented to long-term savings, but the up-front price tag for battery electric models can be downright intimidating. The Kona Electric has a starting MSRP of almost 13 grand more than the base model 2022 gas-powered Hyundai Kona, which is quite a lot of initial cost to take on the chin. However, buyers should keep those potential tax credits in mind, which can go a long way to help offset the hit to the wallet.
So, What About Plug-In Hybrids (PHEV)?
PHEVs are vehicles that still run primarily on the hybrid gas-electric technology that’s been around for years, but with the addition of a souped-up battery pack that allows the vehicle to be charged like an EV. This gives it the ability—albeit limited—to run totally on battery power.
The 2022 Hyundai IONIQ PHEV, for instance, can run for an estimated 29 miles on electric power alone, meaning many will be able to commute to work and back, pick the kids of from school, or run errands without burning a drop of gas.
The smaller battery pack means that these can be easily charged overnight using the level-1 method, and because of the hybrid gas engine, it eliminates the range anxiety that keeps some drivers from going all-in on fully-electric vehicles. To top it off, most PHEVs are still eligible for a portion of that hefty federal tax credit. Could it be the perfect happy-medium solution for some?
Jim Burke Hyundai Has You Covered
We’re here to help you find the best electric SUV or car to fit your needs. Whether you want to test drive a new EV, get info about federal EV tax credits, or inquire about Hyundai’s killer warranty programs for electric vehicles, the folks at our Birmingham car dealership are here for you. Give us a call at (205) 502-2792 and ask about how you can save with our cash offers for first responders, military, and college grads.