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What you should know about electric cars

By Tiffany Reynolds

Electric cars (also called all-electric or battery electric vehicles) have become increasingly more popular in recent years, providing an alternative to traditional gas-powered vehicles. In addition to all-electric car manufacturer Tesla’s lines of vehicles, nearly all legacy automakers have introduced at least one electric model. Fisker, another all-electric automaker, has also entered the market with plans to start delivering pre-orders for the Ocean model at the end of 2022 into 2023.

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People are buying electric cars for many reasons, such as the desire to reduce their carbon footprints and avoid paying for gas. Another reason is that EV owners can charge their cars at home. While this does mean using more electricity, Power Wizard can help ensure that you have a great energy plan with a low rate that can help keep your monthly bills from spiking.

Have you been thinking about getting an electric car as your next vehicle? Here’s what you need to know.

How Do Electric Cars Work?

Electric cars and conventional vehicles share many similar standard features, including mirrors, lights, pedals, and airbags. They also serve the same purpose: transporting you and your family where you need to go.

The most significant difference between gas and electric cars is their power source. The former has an internal combustion engine (ICE) and relies on gasoline, while the latter features an electric motor and relies on electricity. When you plug in the car, energy from the grid (or your home’s solar energy system) charges a lithium-ion battery. That stored energy powers the electric motor that makes the car go when you push the accelerator.

The Advantages of Electric Vehicles

Transportation is one of the top contributors to a person’s individual carbon footprint. The average car produces approximately  4.6 metric tons of CO2 emissions a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On the other hand, electric vehicles create no greenhouse gas emissions, which can help reduce your overall impact on the environment.

Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of electric cars:

Electric Motor Relies Upon a Clean Energy Source

Some people may argue that electric vehicles aren’t clean because they typically rely on energy from the grid. While this may be true, EVs are still cleaner than gas cars.

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If you want an entirely clean “fuel” source, residential solar is becoming increasingly more popular. Installing solar panels on your roof provides you with 100% renewable energy for charging your electric car and powering your home.

Power Wizard can help you find affordable, solar-friendly electricity plans that allow you to sell any unused power your panels create back to your energy provider for bill credits. Or, rather than selling back excess electricity, you can install a solar battery to store it.

Saves Money on Fuel and Vehicle Maintenance

Gas prices have soared to record highs. At the beginning of June 2022, the statewide average hit $4.34 per gallon, and analysts expect prices to keep rising through the summer and remain high for some time.

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Electric vehicles still cost money to “fuel,” but you aren’t subject to the prices at gas pumps. The price you pay to charge an EV depends on several factors, including

  • The size of your car’s battery
  • The price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) at the charging stations you use
  • If the station charges by the kWh or by the minute
  • Whether you have a plan with a given charging network
  • Your electricity plan’s rate (if you charge at home)

In general, charging a battery is much cheaper than filling a gas tank.

There’s also much less maintenance involved with electric vehicles. While they still need some such things as periodic tire rotations and coolant changes, they don’t require:

  • Spark plug changes
  • Oil changes
  • Drive belt replacements
  • Transmission service

Less maintenance means lower overall maintenance costs. According to a 2020 report from Consumer Reports, EVs cost approximately half as much as gas vehicles to maintain.

Charged Battery Usually Lasts for Several Miles

Many electric vehicles on the market today have incredible ranges:

  • 2022 Tesla Model S Long Range: 405 miles
  • 2022 Kia EV6 Wind: 310
  • 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 (RWD): 303 miles

One of the longest-range EVs to hit the market is the 2022 Lucid Air Dream Edition, which has an EPA-estimated range of 520 miles on a single charge (even the most affordable model has an estimated range of 406 miles). While these are estimates based on ideal conditions, the actual range of most EVs today is pretty comparable to the average 250 to 300 miles most gas vehicles get on a single tank of gas.

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Of course, as with gas cars, the actual mileage you get with an EV depends on various factors, such as:

  • How fast you drive
  • Your driving style
  • The weather (extreme heat and cold both affect efficiency)
  • Driving conditions
  • Lithium-ion battery age (batteries degrade gradually over time)

Impressive Safety Features and Vehicle Capability

In addition to longer ranges, electric vehicles come with some impressive safety features, such as:

  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keep and lane change assist
  • 360-degree surround camera

Most electric vehicles have a lower center of gravity and are heavier than gas cars, which makes them less likely to roll. They also provide instant torque. In other words, they accelerate fast. That quick speed can help you avoid potential rear-end collisions when pulling out into traffic.

The Disadvantages of Electric Models

Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the drawbacks of electric cars:

Purchase Price Is Still Relatively High

The purchase prices of new cars, in general, have increased. However, many new electric vehicles tend to be more expensive than gas-powered models. In November 2021, the average cost of an EV was $56,437. The average cost of a full-size car was $42,804.

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Despite being more expensive initially, electric vehicles do typically have a lower cost of ownership. That can make them cheaper in the long run. There are also some fairly affordable models on the market, such as the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona, and the Volkswagon ID.4.

Charging Car at Home Raises Monthly Electric Bill

If you’re charging an electric car at home, you’re using electricity from the grid (unless you have solar). As with use of other home appliances that raise your electric bill, higher energy consumption from charging your vehicle means more expensive energy bills.

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With some help from Power Wizard, you can find electricity plans with lower rates. That can help reduce your monthly energy costs, making it more affordable to charge your car at home. You can cut your costs even more by installing solar panels and producing your own electricity.

Charging Time Can Take Hours

You have two options when it comes to charging at home — Level 1 and Level 2. A Level 1 charger uses a standard 120V outlet. While convenient, it takes the longest. A Level 2 charger, which requires a 240V outlet, charges faster. However, even with Level 2, it can still take a few hours.

Fortunately, if you’re on the road, many new EVs can charge fairly quickly if you know where to go. Some stations have Level 3 chargers. Depending on your car, you can charge up to 80% in only 15 to 30 minutes. While that’s still longer than it takes to fill a gas tank, you may find ways to pass the time pretty easily.

Reduce the Cost of Charging Your Car With a Better Electrical Contract

Electric cars offer an excellent, environment-friendly alternative to gas-powered vehicles. They produce no emissions, help you avoid increasing gas prices, and require much less maintenance.

Charging an electric vehicle at home is convenient, but it does increase your energy consumption and your utility bills. However, Power Wizard can help keep your monthly electricity costs more affordable by helping you find the best plans with the lowest rates. With some basic information from you, our online shopping tool can compile a list of top energy plans customized to your unique needs. From there, you can choose the one that makes the most sense for you.

For more information and to start shopping for your new electricity plan, visit Power Wizard today.

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