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Buying an electric car is a big step for any prospective buyer as going from the convenience of a gas-powered car to an electric one is quite the difference. There are many factors to consider when it comes to pricing, the availability of the EV that you want, and ultimately choosing the right one for you. Here are a few tips on how to choose and buy the right electric vehicle.  

Choosing the right electric car depends on your needs, budget, and lifestyle

Various electric cars of the volkswagen group at the company's Zwickau plant on January 27, 2022 in Zwickau, Germany.
Various electric cars of the Volkswagen Group at the company’s Zwickau plant. | Jens Schlueter via Getty Images

According to U.S. News, the first step that you should take when picking the right electric car is to ask yourself what you need from it. Is having a lot of passenger and cargo space important? Is the EV’s range going to be a large factor in how you can drive it every day? Choosing the right EV isn’t that much different than choosing a gas-powered vehicle to buy. If anything, the main factor will be the car’s range.

In that case, you should also note where you will charge the electric car when you own it. If you have the luxury of parking it in a garage every night with a charger, then you’re good to go. However, if you live in an apartment complex and need to utilize a public charger instead, then that is something to take note of as it can be a hassle.

Also, if you’re able to charge the car when you go to work, then that’s a plus. While you don’t always have to have a fully charged battery every day, it would be helpful to strategize and know how you can charge it up whenever you need to. Just note that certain DC fast chargers can cost a pretty penny to use for extended periods of time, almost as much as it cost to put gas in the average car. So charging cost is a factor as well.

Just like buying any other car, remember to keep your budget in mind as well. Fortunately, there are plenty of used electric cars like Nissan Leafs and Chevy Bolts that can be purchased for cheap. But if you’re aiming higher for a Tesla, then remember that the cost of the extra accessories can add up quickly.

Know what electric vehicle incentives are available to you

A Tesla Model S Plaid electric car shot from the front on a race track at sunset
Tesla claims the Model S Plaid hits 60 in 1.9 seconds | Tesla

Before you start shopping for the electric vehicle of your dreams, it’s important that you don’t leave any money on the table. That being said, be sure to check if you qualify for any state, federal, local, or utility credits that you can get for driving an electric car. There is still the possibility of getting a $7,500 federal tax credit during the year that you purchase the car. However, it’s not available on every EV in the market and you must owe money on taxes during the year that you buy it.

Buying an electric vehicle

A blue 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric SUV is charging.
A blue 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric SUV is charging | Hyundai

Just like any other car in the market, you can purchase an electric vehicle from a traditional dealership, a used car dealership, or a private party. In some cases, like Tesla, you can purchase the car straight from the manufacturer and have it delivered to your home.

If you find an electric vehicle at a traditional dealership, then purchasing it will be similar to purchasing any gas-powered car. However, just note that the level of knowledge from the staff may not be up to par. In that case, U.S. News suggests going online and researching car forums or review sites to find out which dealerships in your area are the most knowledgeable and provide the best service.

Leasing versus purchasing

Just like with gas-powered cars, you can choose to either lease or purchase an electric vehicle. Many experts advise to only lease an electric car since the technology is new and you can drive the car under warranty without any worries. When the lease is up in a few years, you can simply trade it in or return it.

Purchasing an electric car, on the other hand, comes with a lot more commitment and you’ll need to ensure that the EV is going to work for you and your family for the long haul. If not, then leasing is a good way to temporarily see if the electric vehicle life is for you.

Could a hybrid or plug-in hybrid car be a better choice?

2022 Toyota Prius in the snow
2022 Toyota Prius in the snow | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Ultimately, if you weigh all of the aforementioned factors and decide that owning and driving an electric car every day won’t work for you, then you can always look into buying a hybrid or plug-in hybrid car. With a hybrid car, you won’t need to worry about charging it, but you’ll still reap the benefits of some electric propulsion and fuel savings.

With a plug-in hybrid, you’ll be able to get a taste of the EV life as you can charge the car and drive it on all-electric mode for a short-range. After that, it will switch over to the normal hybrid mode and you’ll still save money on fuel costs in the end.

Whichever way you choose, purchasing an electric car isn’t that much different than purchasing a gas-powered one, but there are a few more factors to consider. Once you figure it all out, then you’ll have a clearer picture of what you need and you’ll be able to enjoy the eco-friendly life in the end.


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