Shopping for an Electric Vehicle

By   |     |  Clean Power Guide

Electric vehicles are simply the cleanest, most efficient, and most cost-effective form of motorized transportation around. They never require oil changes, new spark plugs, or any other routine work. You can’t quite say they’re maintenance free—you do have to change the windshield-washer fluid now and then.

But what’s all the fuss about range anxiety? It’s just that—anxiety.

Look, the average driver goes less than 40 miles per day, and EV ranges on a single charge are nearly always that much or more. New York has been rapidly deploying fast chargers along major highways, and cost-sharing charger installation in communities and workplaces. Keeping your car charged is not so different from making sure you have enough gas. Apps like PlugShare will help you find chargers along your route.

Electric vehicles have been disrupting the marketplace, and car dealers are noticing. The EV investments of major fleet managers—from UPS to New York City—has sent a signal. Over 400,000 deposits on the Tesla Model 3 has sent a signal. And now, with all the top manufacturers in the EV market, we are seeing a steady growth of shipments and sales here in New York. Affordable models like the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus, and Hyundai Ioniq are here for us all.

Right now, the Hudson Valley has more highway fast chargers than any other region—including Tesla charging arrays in Kingston, Newburgh, Gardiner, and Modena, as well as others in Wawarsing and Ellenville. So enough anxiety!

It’s time to reclaim EV shopping as the peak experience it’s destined to be. And it’s time to overcome all the other limiting beliefs about electric cars.

Some people are still thinking they have no real drive and may not be safe. Just test drive a Tesla. You don’t have to buy it. But try to say it doesn’t perform. Then test drive the EVs with the range and features you want. Because they can access 100 percent of their torque at zero MPH, they all accelerate fast—whether or not they have the “ludicrous” mode of the Tesla. And they’re easy to drive.

Electric vehicle performance and safety are actually connected. Why? Because the batteries are always packed underneath your trunk, in cases of reinforced steel or aluminum. While promoting safety, this creates a lower center of gravity so the car hugs the road.

Then people wonder about technological sophistication. As car companies accept that electrification is inevitable, the designers are doing their best to make them stand out, to drive sales. Every new car coming out electrified is a beautiful car to look at and to drive.

But are they really available? Get ready. There’s a plug-in hybrid or electric model on the market from most car companies, and more are in the pipeline. Tesla has led the entire industry to push the envelope in their EV design. They are lifting the veil on technology, speed, range, and price.

When you are getting ready to look for an EV, your most important question is actually not about the car. It’s about how to find the dealership that can have an intelligent, enthusiastic conversation about electric options. This is getting easier, as Sustainable Hudson Valley’s Drive Electric team has worked with EV dealer champions at Kingston Nissan, Ruge’s Chevrolet, BMW of the Hudson Valley, and the Romeo Auto Group to host Ride and Drive events. If you’re ready to start looking, I’d be remiss not to plug our Drive Electric program where you can get personalized guidance on the vehicles and how to capture the best price.

Tips for Buying a Used EV

By Tom Konrad

When will electric cars be cost-competitive with conventional ones? If you’re looking at used cars, the answer is now! But you have to know a few things about used EVs, charging, and the logistics of shopping.

First, earlier generations of EVs had more limited range than today’s—even when new, and the range decreases with car age. It still might meet your needs, especially as a second car for local driving.

Ubiquitous EVs like the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Ford Fusion can be easily found in older models, including on eBay; so can more obscure cars such as the 2012-14 RAV4 Electric. A great source of info on these is dedicated Facebook groups.

All battery EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs come with a Level 1 charger that plugs into an ordinary 120V outlet and will add about five miles of range per hour of charging. The Level 1 charger that comes with the Volt is also capable of Level 2 charging at double this rate if it is plugged in to 240V outlet like one for a dryer, using an adapter costing $20 to $50. For owners of EVs other than the Volt, inexpensive ($200 to $300), portable Level 2 chargers that plug into various types of 240 volt outlets are available online.

If you buy a used EV online—probably at a distance—check delivery charges which may run from $500 to $1,500. Ebay has links to third-party shippers and Carvana has its own delivery service.

All the savings of operating a new electric car are available in a used one, at a fraction of the cost. If you are looking for an affordable car, look no farther than a used EV.

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