Electric vehicles (EV) are becoming cheaper every day. Therefore, if you are looking for a way to save on fuel. Reduce your carbon footprint or simply boast of having a Tesla. There are many reasons to get a hybrid or electric car.

All you have to know before buying an electric vehicle
All you have to know before buying an electric vehicle

But before taking the step and saying goodbye to combustion engines, there are some accounts you have to take to make sure that the car you buy fits your needs. Here are some things you should consider before making the change.

Think if you want a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric car
While a conventional hybrid (HEV) has a gasoline engine and a small battery that work in tandem. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) can only run on its battery and not burn fuel for a limited number of kilometers before it makes use of the combustion engine

If you never connect your PHEV, it will act as a regular hybrid, using the engine and battery at the same time. Therefore, although you can charge your plug-in hybrid to be able to drive only with the battery over short distances, you don't have to.

Instead, an EV vehicle relies solely on its battery for power, which means that you must charge it regularly.

Calculate the costs
There are some elements to compare the price of an EV compared to a conventional car. One is the cost of the vehicle itself. Electric cars are more expensive overall: $ 55,600 versus the industry average of about $ 36,600. The average price of a PHEV is somewhere in between (about $ 46,000). Yes, it is true that depending on your country or the region where you live, you could receive some kind of state aid for these cars.

If you install Level 2 charging equipment in your home, you will also have to add this to the final price (more on that in a minute).

But the real difference is in the long-term costs. Which vary widely depending on factors such as the make and model of the car. The price of gasoline and electricity where you live.

When and where do you charge your EV, maintenance costs, and how much you take the car?

For example, your energy costs are likely to be lower with an EV (electricity) compared to a conventional car (gasoline). Some tools will give you an approximate figure of all this.

Install a charger at home
Depending on where you live, you can use public charging stations to keep your car battery full. But many say it is much more comfortable and convenient to install a charger in your home if you can.

Setting up the charging station in your home is quite simple. You can plug a Level 1 charger directly into a standard 120V outlet, although this will charge your vehicle very slowly.

A Level 2 charger uses 240V, and its installation can cost a few hundred dollars or up to 1000, but charges much faster. You can install this type of charger yourself or ask an electrician. Make sure you get the right parts for your vehicle. Tesla, for example, has specific hardware and an installation guide for its cars.

Plan your routes before leaving on a trip
The autonomy of your car may be one of the most significant limitations to consider before buying one. Electric vehicles have a range of fewer than 500 kilometers, making it difficult to make longer trips unless you can find charging stations along the way. PHEVs have very short driving ranges with their load and will switch to gasoline when necessary.

Since there are many more service stations than charging stations, driving a 100% electric vehicle over longer distances requires some planning. Google Maps shows you nearby stations and of what kind if you are looking for “EV charging” or “EV charging stations.” Applications like ChargeHub and PlugShare offer similar features.

But if you travel a lot, you can end up frustrating yourself with cargo stops and route planning. If the charging stations are few and far between or if there are already cars waiting, you may end up desperate.

One possible solution: if you travel less frequently, rent a car based on what you need and the distance you will visit. Or go with a PHEV, which can change to gasoline for longer trips.

Join the appropriate charging system
If you have to charge your car away from home, be sure to use the correct plug and charger combination. Most vehicles have a standard J1772 port that connects to a Level 1 or Level 2 charging unit. Some cars can also connect to faster Level 3 charging devices using different connectors (called CHAdeMO and SAE Combo).

The Teslas can connect to the Superchargers, although Tesla also sells J1772 and CHAdeMO adapters for stations outside its network.

Your car's specifications should describe what connectors and charging systems they can use (it's something you should know from day one). Not all charging stations you find may have fast charging options, but you should be able to connect to any Level 2 charger with or without a J1772 adapter.

Maintenance is important
Electric vehicles do not require regular oil changes like gasoline cars. But that doesn't mean you can load them and forget about the rest. You also have to take into account other standard maintenance tasks such as inflating and regularly changing tires, wiper blades, or checking brake pads. Flat tires can also significantly affect the autonomy of your car. So yes, maintenance is essential.

But most electric vehicles come with much less frequent maintenance checks than conventional cars. (example: the Chevy Bolt is not expected to change tires up to 13,000 kilometers, the air filter every 36,000 and the coolant every 24,000 miles)

On the contrary, PHEVs will have more or less equal controls than conventional cars because they still have gasoline engines and that series of associated fluids.

Prepare for extreme temperatures
Electric vehicles have some peculiarities when facing cold climates. All cars are a little less efficient in winter, but electric cars lose part of their autonomy (25% or more) because batteries are susceptible to temperature. Also, energy is needed to control the air conditioner, either for the heating or the air conditioning to work.

One way to avoid this is to preheat. You're EV while it is plugged into the charger. This will cause your car and the battery to heat up. So the stored energy will be reserved for driving. The good thing is that in most of today's electric, you can turn on or program this function with a connected application. This will make your car hotter and more efficient. You can also set it to cool your car in summer, and you don't have to suffer more than the bill.

Do not forget to turn off your car
Electric vehicles are generally much quieter than conventional vehicles, which means it is easy to get out, close the door and forget that the car is running. Always remember to turn it off before getting out of the car.

You may have the option of activating an alarm. That sounds when you leave the car running. And some EVs turn off automatically after a certain period.

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