5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy an Electric Car (Yet)

Electric cars are growing more popular by the day. And while they’re coming one way or another, now might not be the greatest time to buy one. With so many things changing, for better or worse, waiting a bit for electric car technology to advance and for the car market to stabilize will make the purchase easier. These are just some of the reasons not to buy an EV yet.

Article Highlights:

  • The charging station infrastructure is growing
  • Electric car technology is about to advance
  • Battery platforms are in development
  • We can’t grasp the full lifespan of electric cars
  • There’s still a new car shortage and global supply chain issue
EV charging stations at night
Electric car charging station at night | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Our current charging infrastructure isn’t ready for electric cars

The biggest weaknesses of electric cars all revolve around charging stations themselves. There aren’t enough of them, or they don’t charge fast enough. Both of those claims are true, especially for anyone taking an electric car road trip. Many people wouldn’t be able to go as far as they need to every day. And nobody wants to just sit around and wait as their electric car charges.

But that doesn’t mean this will always be the case. Tesla just opened universal Superchargers for every electric car in the Netherlands. And the company promises to expand this tech in time. How long it will take for the largest fast-charging grid in America to be accessible for all-electric cars is unclear. But eventually, more cars will be able to plug into faster chargers.

Electric car technology is rapidly advancing, and will soon get cheaper

Electric car batteries being manufactured
Electric car batteries being manufactured | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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Think of it this way: in 2010, the cost of a lithium-ion battery was $1,183 per kilowatt according to International Energy Agency. In 2019, however, it was just $156 per kilowatt. As time goes on, that price will continue to lower. And in a few years, there’s a chance lithium-ion technology will grow outdated.

Lithium-ion batteries are liquid batteries, which store energy in fluids. However, solid-state batteries are right around the corner and store energy in solids. That means you can cram more energy into an electric car battery since, on a molecular level, solids are denser than liquids. This will not only improve the range but could also speed up charging times.

The technology is still in development. But once released, lithium-ion batteries will be archaic in comparison.

Major manufacturers are developing electric car platforms

Hyundai G-EMP battery platform
Hyundai G-EMP electric car battery platform | Hyundai

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Most electric cars fall into one of two categories. Either they were built out of a gasoline car, such as the Hyundai Kona, or they were built as electric cars from the ground up, such as the Nissan Leaf. But there’s a third option that would drive electric car prices down: building a universal platform.

These platforms look like skateboards with large electric car batteries on the floor. But the key is that these platforms are modular, meaning any electric car, from hatchbacks to sports cars, could be fitted with this battery pack. Having this modular system allows for more electric cars to be built without having to design them from the ground up.

These platforms will be hitting the streets fairly soon, one of the most significant ones being Hyundai’s E-GMP battery platform. It’ll be first utilized in the Hyundai Ioniq 5, with 22 more electric cars on the way across the Hyundai and Kia brands.

The full lifespan of an electric car hasn’t been reached yet

2016 Chevy Bolt EV displayed at auto show
2016 Chevy Bolt electric car displayed at auto show | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

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While mainstream electric cars have been, for the most part, doing fine, they still haven’t been around that long. The Chevy Bolt, which is the first modern mass-produced electric car, first debuted in 2016. The Tesla Model 3 may have revolutionized affordable EVs, but that didn’t come out until 2017. That means the oldest Chevy Bolt tooling around is only five years old.

In America, the average age of a car is 12 years old. And that average continues to rise every year, due in part to ridiculous new and used car prices. Which segues rather nicely to my final point: cars are still expensive.

The global pandemic and chip shortage are still impacting new cars

New GM cars waiting for semiconductors to be installed
New GM cars waiting for semiconductors to be installed | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

While you could be a used electric car to save some money, chances are if you’re looking at electric cars, you want something new. But because of the ongoing chip shortage, automakers are struggling to produce enough cars. Tesla has done well through it all, but even they’ve had to delay shipments because cars are unfinished.

And whether or not the company can actually deliver your car doesn’t matter. Because either way, it’ll be ridiculously expensive. The average price of a new car is well over $40,000, less affordable than it’s ever been. And the way things are going, new cars aren’t going to get any cheaper, whether they’re electric or not.

With few electric car charging stations, rapidly advancing technology, and an unprecedented car shortage, now is not the right time to buy an electric car. But that doesn’t mean there never will be a right time. Electric cars are still evolving. So unless you’ve got money to blow, if you hold out a little longer before buying one, you’ll be better off because of it.

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