Updated 3 weeks ago

Pros and cons of electric cars

Written by Ana Almerini

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Electric vehicles are becoming a more popular choice for car buyers. With the savings on fuel costs combined with the financial incentives available, EVs are taking the market by storm. But electric vehicles might not be for everyone, especially those who regularly travel very long distances.

What are the pros and cons of electric cars?

  • Fuel savings

  • Reduce carbon footprint

  • Low maintenance costs

  • Eligible for incentives

  • High-quality performance

  • Charging station availability

  • Long charge time

  • Limited driving range

  • High upfront costs

  • Battery replacement expense

Advantages 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:

Fuel savings

Charging an electric car is much cheaper than paying for gas. While filling your tank may take over $40, fully charging an EV like a Tesla usually costs about $10 to $15

Depending on the cost of gas and electricity in your area, switching to an electric vehicle can save the average driver between $1,500 to $2,000 per year. If you’re regularly driving longer distances, our research has found that an EV can save closer to $4,500 on fuel costs! 

Reduces your carbon footprint 

Electric cars don’t emit CO2 or other greenhouse gases, making them much more environmentally friendly. Charging electric cars with renewable energy, like home solar, can make your EV even better for the environment! 

According to the EPA, one traditional gas-fueled passenger vehicle with a 22-mile-per-gallon range emits an average of 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. 

Lowers maintenance costs

When you get an electric car, oil changes are a thing of the past! EVs don’t require all the same regular maintenance that cars with internal combustion engines do. Electric vehicles also have fewer moving parts, so there won’t be pieces breaking often. 

Eligible for incentives

Purchasing an electric vehicle can help you qualify for numerous EV incentives. One of the biggest is the federal EV tax credit, which can reduce your tax liability by up to $7,500! 

States also offer their own electric car incentives. For example, New Jersey’s Charge Up NJ  EV incentive can earn you up to $5,000 when you purchase a qualifying vehicle. Also, Rhode Island has its DRIVE EV incentive, where EV owners can earn a rebate up to $2,500.

High-quality performance 

Because there is no exhaust system, electric cars are known for operating smoothly and quietly. Electric crossover and SUV models are much quieter than traditional gas engines, which leads to less noise pollution and a more relaxing ride. 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.

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Disadvantages of electric cars

Although electric cars have more than their share of advantages, it's worth noting 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 public charging station can be challenging if you're driving through rural areas or on a long-distance road trip. If you live somewhere where EV charging stations aren’t available, and EV might not be right for you. 

But, as EVs have become more popular, more places are embracing electric vehicle charging stations. 

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. Fast chargers like Tesla Supercharger stations can add almost 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes, but frequent use of these powerful chargers can damage EV batteries.

The driving range is limited 

Depending on the model, EVs can range between 100 and 400 miles. This isn’t an issue for most drivers, as most only drive under 40 miles daily. But, if you plan on taking long road trips, the range may be an issue. 

In general, there are tools you can use to plan your route around charging stations, but in some areas, it may add substantial time to your trip.

High initial costs 

Although fuel cost savings and tax credits can offset the cost of an electric car, the upfront price of most electric cars is higher than that of comparable gas-powered vehicles. Because the cost of EV lithium-ion batteries is high, the cars themselves end up being more expensive than their ICE counterparts.

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 the cars lifetime.

Doing so can be expensive, costing about $6,000. However, it's worth noting that the price has dropped significantly over the past few years.

Is owning an EV right for you?

For many, the pros of an EV will outweigh the cons. However, if an electric car is actually right for you largely depends on where you live. Cold weather can impact EV performance, and the availability of public charging stations could make a huge difference. 

If you need a car for a short daily commute, want to save money, and reduce the amount of fossil fuel dependence in your life, get an EV. You could save even more by charging your electric vehicle with solar panels. Adding just five solar panels to your roof can generate enough electricity to fuel up most EVs! 

Find out how many solar panels you need to charge an EV
Written by Ana Almerini Marketing & Communications Manager

Ana is the Marketing & Communications Manager at SolarReviews, working within the solar industry since 2020. With a Master's in Climate and Society and professional experience in marketing, she helps communicate the value of solar to homeowners and build awareness of the SolarReviews brand. On weekends you can find her at the Jersey shore, reading a book from the ever-increasing stack on her side table, or eating food someone else cooked....

Learn more about Ana Almerini