There are many great reasons to make your next car an electric vehicle. Here are the top ten perks that come with EV ownership.
1) Tax credits and cash rebates
By purchasing a passenger vehicle equipped with a battery pack, you’ll automatically be entitled to a tax credit of at least $2,500. Larger batteries translate to increased federal incentives.
Even with their modest batteries, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) usually qualify for thousands of dollars’ worth of tax rebates. Of course, the largest possible credit of $7,500 is reserved for full battery-electric vehicles (BEV) and their massive battery packs.
But the incentives don’t stop at the federal level. It’s imperative that EV shoppers investigate all discounts and rebates available at state and even local levels.
In California, for instance, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project offers residents a $2,000 rebate for the purchase or lease of a BEV and $1,000 for a PHEV. A bevy of local incentives are also available, providing vehicle discounts, home charger credits and special utility rates.
2) HOV lane access and other goodies
It’s worth noting that local incentives for EV adoption don’t stop at cash. Many states allow EV owners to use the high-occupancy vehicle lane even while driving solo. It’s also common to find EV parking spots, complete with chargers, in prime locations close to the entrance of a building. Free metered parking for EV owners is also offered in many places, as well as discounts on tolls.
Finally, many carmakers sweeten the deal by offering charging credits. Mercedes-Benz, Polestar, Porsche and Volkswagen are some of the companies offering customers two to three years of free charging at Electrify America charging stations.
3) Less maintenance
EV drivetrains contain few moving parts, making most issues easy to pinpoint and repair. The same can’t be said for cars with internal combustion engines. Say goodbye to regular oil changes, and never worry about failing belts, alternators, spark plugs, hoses, gaskets or clutches.
Another bonus: expect your EV’s brake pads to last longer than you’re used to thanks to regenerative braking. When you take your foot off the accelerator in an EV, the electric motor immediately disengages and reverses direction to collect energy generated by the wheels while they are being slowed down. Regenerative braking takes much of the burden off of the normal hydraulic brake system. In some cases, one-pedal driving is possible.
Efficiencies like these allow EV owners to devote less time and money towards maintenance.
4) Bidirectional charging
Your next EV will likely be capable of bidirectional charging. This nifty feature turns your EV into a mobile energy bank – a not-so-stationary battery that can provide emissions-free power when you need it most. When coupled with a home energy station, a bidirectional EV could come to the rescue during a power outage by sending the electricity stored in its battery to power your home.
This feature can prove helpful on the road as well. Your vehicle could act in place of a gas-powered generator to power external loads like appliances, tools, camping gear and much more.
Bidirectional charging also opens the door to vehicle-to-grid (V2G), a concept that describes the potential to send power from your car’s battery back to the grid when connected to a smart charger, either at home or at public charging stations, and be paid to do so. Your car can act as a distributed energy resource and reduce utilities’ reliance on fossil fuels to generate energy.
5) No more trips to the gas station
This perk speaks for itself. Fuel top-ups are a hassle, especially in the dead of winter when a few minutes at the pump can feel like an eternity. EVs eliminate this chore by allowing you to refuel at home. Think about all the hours your car spends sitting in the driveway. For most EV owners, nighttime is the ultimate time to plug in and recharge, ensuring their ride is always ready when they are the next morning.
6) Cheap refueling
Energy is expensive in the post-pandemic era. Gasoline prices averaged $3.50 per gallon in November 2021, a rate not seen since 2014. If you drive a vehicle that gets poor mileage, rising fuel costs are a central concern.
A quick comparison between two similar cars reveals just how inexpensive it is to refuel an EV. The gas-powered 2022 Volvo XC40 T4 costs just under $50 to refuel. Meanwhile, the EV variant could be recharged using a home energy station. Even in California, where electricity rates can reach upwards of 23 cents per kilowatt hour, fully recharging the XC40 EV would cost less than $20.
7) Fuel efficiency you can bank on
The EPA devised a quick way of comparing efficiency across cars that use varying types of fuels through a formula called miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe). This metric is readily available for all zero-emissions vehicles on sale in the US.
Going back to the two Volvo SUVs mentioned above, we can observe that the gas variant is rated at 26 miles per gallon, while the EV earns a stellar 85 MPGe.
8) Charge with solar
Electricity generation contributes to a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US. You can play a central role in decarbonizing the sector, right at home.
With residential solar panels, you can harness the free and unlimited power of the sun at every electrical outlet in your home. This means that the sun can power your car, unlocking a level of energy self-reliance previously unseen.
9) Instant torque
Car buffs may be familiar with auto vlogger Doug DeMuro. The reviewer has gotten behind the wheel of some of the fastest and most fun to drive cars ever made.
When it came time to test the Tesla Model S Plaid on the road, DeMuro put the pedal to the metal as he always does. In most cases, this elicits a smirk or a toothy grin, depending on the responsiveness of the vehicle. But the Tesla, with its 0-60 time of two seconds flat, caused DeMuro to react like a person who has had, in his own words, a “religious experience.”
Every punch of the accelerator left the experienced driver breathless, putting the EV in a league of its own compared with the much pricier exotics it competes with.
Not all EVs boast ludicrous acceleration speeds, but they all provide a sensation of instant power and quickness that you’d be hard pressed to find in similarly-priced gas-powered vehicles. In a car that runs on gasoline, power builds gradually until the driver can get out of first gear. There’s just not enough torque – forward movement produced by rotational motion – to quickly accelerate from a standstill without the help of a transmission.
By comparison, most EVs have single-speed transmissions. They don’t need to “rev up” to get to speed because power is always readily available, waiting to be unleashed. Be forewarned: instant torque is addictive!
10) Zero emissions
Gas-powered cars emit about 400 grams of carbon dioxide after every mile of driving, along with small amounts of methane and nitrous oxide. Battery electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions, meaning your EV will not pollute the air around it as you drive.
Light vehicles are responsible for nearly 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US transportation sector, while aircraft, ships and trains all contribute 10% or less. Trading in a gas-powered car for an electric model can thus make a big difference in the fight against climate change.
Photo by Brydon McCluskey on Unsplash