Angie’s List: Analyzing Electric Vehicles

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Despite the low gas prices we’re currently enjoying, the demand for electric vehicles may soon surge as manufacturers prepare to debut new, affordable models that can go as much as 200 miles between chargings. If you’ve been thinking of going from a gas-powered or hybrid vehicle to all electric, there are some things you should know.

Eric Rowland is all about efficiency and sustainability, which is why he bought a hybrid vehicle years ago.

“At first, I thought of electric cars as just being economical and sort of glorified golf carts, and this one has certainly got it out of that range," Rowland said.

Rowland has now ditched his hybrid and gone all electric. His high-performance Tesla is a six-figure investment justified, in part, by lower maintenance costs.

While many of us can’t afford a luxury, high-end vehicle, both Tesla and Chevrolet are promising new E-V’s in the 30-thousand dollar range in the coming months. That’s the average price of a new gas-powered car, and these cars should double most current EVs’ range of 80 to 100 miles between chargings. If you decide to pull the plug on your gas guzzler, you may need a new plug at home.

“You want to make sure you have the proper outlet at your home or outside your garage so you can charge it. A lot of times people will use a 120-volt outlet, but you really would want a 240-volt. It’s going to take less time to charge your car.”

You’ll also want to take note of public charging stations, which are much more numerous these days. Rowland says he hasn’t changed his driving habits much, he just plans ahead for longer trips.

“At this point, I’d be really hard-pressed to see going back to using a gas car. I just haven’t, we haven’t had any need," Rowland said.

Your home electric bill will certainly rise if you go with an electric car, but Angie says to check with your utility provider on a discounted rate if you use off-peak hours to charge your car. You can also receive up to 75-hundred dollars in federal tax credits when you buy an alternative fuel vehicle. There may also be other local and state incentives, so investigate those as well.