Upgrading to an electric vehicle brings with it a number of benefits. Whether you buy a new or used EV, here’s what you can expect when you swap gas station visits for plugging in.
Hey, look, the first benefit is that you can swap gas station visits for plugging in. This means you can recharge at home, at public Level 2 and DC fast chargers, and really anywhere there’s an outlet (with permission, or course). This sort of freedom really changes your relationship with your car’s energy.
After rethinking refueling, perhaps the biggest benefit you get from owning an EV is that these cars have tons of torque and near-silent operation. The way an electric motor works, you get all of its torque at zero RPM, which in the real-world means that an EV will accelerate much quicker than most drivers expect. For this reason alone, test driving an EV is more than worth it.
Since there are fewer moving parts in an EV than in a gas-engine car, EVs have lower maintenance costs. In fact, most EV drivers say that windshield wiper and tires are the only parts that need replacing. Even an EVs brakes get less wear and tear than those on a standard car, since the powertrain does a lot of the work of slowing down through regenerative braking.
Aside from the improved acceleration, the way an EV drives is noticeably different from the cars you’re probably used to because most EVs don’t have a transmission, which means there’s no gear shift jerking, and therefore a smoother ride.
Depending on where you live, your EV might offer other benefits on the road, like access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes even with only one person in the car, and closer parking spots at places like malls and movie theaters.
Thanks to smartphone apps, many EVs have the ability to precondition their cabins. This means you can heat up or cool down your car while it’s in your garage without worrying about generating any fumes or CO2 emissions in there. Then, your car will be exactly the temperature you want it to be when you unplug and get ready to go.
Speaking of your home, if you have solar panels or another renewable energy set-up for your electricity, then your EV can complete the picture for a complete zero emissions life. Turning sun power into miles is something gas-powered car drivers won’t be able to fathom.
In some areas, EVs also qualify for free or discounted toll rates. Two examples are the New York Clean Pass Program and M50 discount in Ireland.
When traffic backs up, most gas cars just continue to churn out CO2 as they sit or move slowly. An EV, though, uses dramatically lower power when it’s not moving, just enough to keep the AV and infotainment systems running as it waits for your foot to touch the accelerator again. Better millage while sitting in traffic isn’t a benefit an EV salesperson can really advertise, but if you’re in a place where you end up trapped in your car on the road with some regularity, it’s a benefit that can’t be denied.
This last benefit requires a little bit of work, but with the right set-up, you can run your home off of the energy in your car’s battery. In an emergency when the power goes out, your EV can power your home for a short period. This sort of feature is becoming standard in Japan — the 2011 tsunami changed how people see the power grid — but it’s not yet the norm in the U.S. Also, once you install the system, it only makes sense to power the critical parts of your home, like heating and cooling and the refrigerator. The Xbox can wait.
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