Top 10 pros and cons of electric cars
In 2021, the electric car is becoming more mainstream, with sleeker, more affordable options to choose from. Because electric car models are not marketed as much as their gas-powered counterparts, many consumers are unaware of their options.
Electric cars can come in many forms, from the very affordable and practical Nissan Leaf to the luxury Porsche Taycan. In this blog we will discuss how electric cars work, the pro and cons of electric vehicles, and the top EV models of 2021.
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How do electric cars work?
Consumers are becoming more interested in saving money on gas and reducing their carbon footprint with zero emissions cars. In tandem with this trend, electric vehicle (EV) production has improved and new car sales are picking up each year.
The way electric cars function is simple–they contain electric battery packs that provide power to run all of the vehicle's onboard electronics and the car’s electric motor - no gas power needed! They are charged by specialty fast-charging stations or through the use of a normal outlet.
Learn more: How long does it take to charge a Tesla?
Additionally, there are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf. These contain the gas-powered engine, fuel tank, and transmission of a traditional gas-powered vehicle, as well as the battery pack and electric motor of an electric car.
What are the pros and cons of electric cars?
|Lower ongoing costs||Few charging stations|
|Reduce carbon footprint||Long charge time|
|Low maintenance needs||Limited driving range|
|High-quality performance||High upfront costs|
|Convenient||Battery replacement expense|
Pros of electric cars
If you're comparing the merits of an electric car to those of conventional vehicles, be sure to keep the following benefits in mind:
Lower ongoing costs
Recharging an electric car is much more affordable in the long run as opposed to refueling a gas-fueled car.
This is especially true when taking into account the fact that you can recharge your electric car at home and get tax benefits from installing a solar powered carport or using solar panels for your electricity.
Reduce carbon footprint
According to the EPA, one traditional gas-fueled passenger vehicle with a 22-miles per gallon range emits an average of 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Non-hybrid electric cars emit zero tons of CO2 or other greenhouse gases, making them much more environmentally friendly. Charging electric cars with renewable energy, like solar, ensures no CO2 is emitted at any phase of your vehicle use.
Low maintenance needs
Mechanical engines have a lot of moving parts, including pumps and valves, along with fluids that need changing. Think frequent oil changes - which electric cars don't have.
Because electric vehicles don’t have as many components that need replacing, less maintenance is necessary. Electric cars also generally last longer than their gas-powered counterparts because of less wear and tear.
Another benefit to electric motors is the reduced noise of the car. Electric cars are much quieter than traditional gas engines which leads to less noise pollution and a more relaxing ride.
Electric cars are known for operating smoothly and quietly. Electric motors also tend to react much quicker than mechanical engines, providing more torque and agility while driving.
Additionally, electric cars usually operate more efficiently and use less energy in stop-and-go city traffic.
A lot of people mistakenly think that electric cars are more inconvenient since you have to find charging stations, which aren’t as easy to find as gas stations.
But the ability to charge electric cars at home is a great advantage and more charging stations are popping up around the country every week, for both Teslas and other brands.
Cons of electric cars
Although electric cars have more than their share of advantages, it's worth noting that they are not without their drawbacks. The following are a few of the disadvantages of electric cars:
Finding charging stations can be challenging
Even though you can charge an electric vehicle at home, finding a charging station if you're driving through rural areas or on a long-distance road trip can be a challenge. As noted above, more areas are embracing EV charging stations and numerous hotel chains have started to include EV chargers in their parking lots. This trend will continue as demand for charging stations increases.
Charging can take a while
Adding gas to a fuel tank doesn't take much longer than five minutes, whereas recharging an electric car can take some time to do, especially if the battery is fully depleted.
It can take upwards of two days to get a full charge on a battery pack using normal outlets, depending on car type and battery size. Even the fastest charging stations will take 30 minutes to get near 80 percent capacity.
The driving range is limited
The driving range of a gas-powered car is much longer than that of an electric car, which can range anywhere from 100 miles to 400 depending on the type of car.
This can be problematic if you're planning a long-distance trip, but it should be fine for daily commutes if you charge your car nightly.
High initial costs
Although the cost of an electric car can be offset by fuel cost savings and tax credits, the upfront price of most electric cars is higher than that of comparable gas-powered vehicles.
Battery packs can be expensive to replace
Although little maintenance is generally needed, don't be surprised if you need to replace your electric car's battery pack at least once during its lifetime.
Doing so can be expensive, although it's worth noting that the price has dropped significantly over the past few years at under $6,000.
How long is the range of an EV?
As technology has improved, so has the ability of newer electric vehicles to drive longer distances. Most 2021 models are capable of driving between 100 and 150 miles with a fully charged battery. However, the best electric car models can reach a 300-mile range, with the Tesla Model S Long Range boasting a range of 402 miles per charge.
Essentially, the range of an electric vehicle is going to vary depending on the model, but the fact that some models are topping 300+ miles per charge indicates that the range of the typical electric car will continue increasing over the next few years.
Who makes EVs?
More and more manufacturers are producing electric cars as part of their yearly lineup of vehicles. Tesla is probably the most well-known electric vehicle manufacturer both because they exclusively make electric vehicles and because of their brand awareness.
However, there are many manufacturers that build electric cars in addition to their more well-known gas-powered counterparts, including Nissan, BMW, Ford, Kia, Hyundai, Chevrolet, and Honda.
What are the best EVs for 2021?
While there were many high-quality electric car models that were released over the past few years, the following models are worth looking into. Some of our favorite recommendations, both past and new for 2021, include:
- Tesla Model 3
- Porsche Taycan
- Jaguar I-Pace SUV
- Hyundai Kona Electric
Tesla Model 3
Tesla has become one of the biggest names in the electric car manufacturing industry since the debut of the Model S luxury car in 2012.
The Tesla model offers luxury at an affordable price. Image source: Tesla
The Tesla Model 3 has a starting range of 250 miles for the Standard Range Plus model, but the Long Range Model can reach 322 miles. The Standard Range Plus model costs $28,690 (without any add ons). The car is also outfitted with an all-in-one touchscreen and an all-around 5-star safety rating.
Porsche is finally making the leap into producing fully electric cars, versus only hybrid vehicles, with their Porsche Taycan.
Porsche’s first all electric vehicle does not compromise on aesthetic appeal. Image source: Porsche
The 4S model Taycan is a luxury electric sports car that boasts a 0-to-60 time of less than 3.8 seconds and a 522-horsepower electric engine. The base 4S model costs $103,800 delivered, while more advanced options like the Turbo model will cost around $150,900.
Jaguar I-Pace SUV
Jaguar is also adding to the electric car luxury model lineup with the well-received I-Pace SUV model.
Electric SUVs offer customers the space they need without the high gas prices. Image source: Jaguar
The I-Pace is built with a 90kWh battery pack and dual electric motors producing 394 horsepower. It can reach a range of 234 miles on a single charge and the price starts at $80,900.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai's original Kona vehicle is considered one of the best subcompact crossovers on the market, so it comes as no surprise that their new electric version will likely end up being one of the most popular electric options on the road this year.
The Hyundai Kona electric car is sleek and affordable Image source: Hyundai
The Hyundai Kona is an electric hatchback that can reach a range of 258 miles.
As of October 2020, the Hyundai Kona Electric is only available in limited markets throughout the United States at a price point of $37,190 for the SEL model. Hyundai says it will soon expand availability to the rest of the country.
How do I choose the best EV for me?
Electric cars are becoming more desirable, more affordable and easier to own and charge. Charging stations are popping up nationwide while mile range per charge is increasing. 2021 is a great time to purchase a new electric vehicle and install solar panels to charge the car CO2-free.
If you're thinking about buying an electric vehicle, then the first thing you should do is weigh the pros and cons.
Once you've made your final decision to purchase an electric car, you'll want to make sure to do your research on the models that are currently available on the market - there are plenty of options, not just what we listed above. A few things to take into consideration include:
- The type of vehicle you will need based on your driving habits. Your options include a sedan, crossover SUV, or luxury car.
- The mileage range you need, i.e., will you be driving to and from work, do you live in a city with ample charging options and low mileage needed, or do you need this car to travel hundreds of miles?
- Will you have access to charging stations where you live and work?
- Your budget - a Porsche price point is definitely luxury but there are many great, well-priced options on the market.
Just like shopping for a gas-powered car, your best option is to compare the different types of electric vehicles that you are interested in and to test drive them to determine which electric vehicle is best suited for you.
Once you determine the right option for your needs, consider installing solar panels to save even more money by reducing your electric bills and completely eliminate your CO2 output by charging your car with clean energy.
- There are more electric car options to choose from in 2021 than ever before.
- EVs cost less to charge than gas fill ups and require less maintenance over their lifetime, saving you money.
- Electric car charging stations are becoming more available nationwide.
Author: Andrew Sendy | Home Solar Journalist
Andy is deeply concerned about climate change but is also concerned about cost of living pressures on American families. He advocates for solar energy and solar battery storage only to the extent that they make financial sense for homeowners. He is not affiliated with any particular solar company in the United States.