What you should consider before buying an electric vehicle


Transitioning drivers to electric vehicles is a high priority for Maine as it seeks to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Taking the leap yourself, even if you believe in its benefits to society, can be intimidating.

While the upfront costs of an electric vehicle can be high and may not be suitable for people living in rural areas, there is a good chance that an electric vehicle is equipped – and maybe even better than it is. ‘a gasoline car – for your lifestyle. If you decide to buy one, there are also a variety of programs you can take advantage of to keep costs down.

Taylor LaBrecque has had a battery-electric vehicle for six months and the car is ideal for everyday commuting.

“The car is a lot of fun to drive,” said LaBrecque, resource management coordinator in the environmental office of the Maine Department of Transportation. “It has a great pickup, but otherwise it drives a lot like an internal combustion engine. The battery life of the vehicle I bought allows me to do most of my daily trips without a problem.

LaBrecque is not alone. Josh Caldwell, climate and clean energy awareness coordinator at the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said that, according to the organization’s surveys, 96% of Mainers with electric vehicles find cars reliable and useful. .

Besides the environmental benefits of a vehicle that does not run on fossil fuels, a fully electric battery-powered vehicle does not require gasoline. According to the Department of Energy’s eGallon calculator, drivers can save about $ 1.25 on every gallon of gasoline compared to charging an electric vehicle.

“The workforce spends more on gas than any other state in New England each year, so not having to pay for gas is a huge boon to people,” Caldwell said.

The initial cost of the car can be prohibitive for some Mainers. The popular 2022 Chevrolet Volt, for example, has a base price of $ 32,495.

The lack of affordable used options in the market, because EVs are a whole new technology, also makes EVs less accessible to Mainers. The first models available may be great bargains, but they also don’t have the range that the newer models are boasting about.

But electric vehicles don’t need motor maintenance and repair. Projections show that electric vehicles will reach cost parity with gasoline-powered vehicles by 2025, Caldwell said, but between eliminating the cost of gasoline and reducing maintenance costs, electric vehicles cost cheaper throughout their lifespan, even at current prices.

Despite the benefits, concerns about cold-draining batteries, as well as

A to point B on a charge without getting stuck in an area that does not have a public charging station, plague many Mainers. Most experts, however, said they shouldn’t.

While cold weather can reduce an electric vehicle’s range – the distance it can travel before needing to be recharged – it is usually not enough to make driving impossible.

“While [electric vehicles] On average, lose about 20 percent of range in winter conditions, gasoline-powered vehicles lose 33 percent of their fuel economy at temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, ”Caldwell added. “So the cold affects driving conditions no matter what, gasoline or electric. “

Longer trips may require more advanced planning. Most new electric vehicles have an average range of 250 miles before needing to be recharged, Siegel said.

Efficiency Maine has a map of public charging station locations statewide, and more are posted daily. There are currently few public charging stations northeast of Bangor, but major transit corridors are well covered. People living in more remote areas may consider a plug-in hybrid with a gas tank as a backup for extended trips, Siegel said.

Home chargers are also useful, but not always necessary, for electric vehicle owners. Plus, they come at a cost.

According to Jonathan Rubin, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, upgrading a single-family home with the ability to charge electric vehicles costs between $ 300 and $ 700 for the charging system itself, and between $ 500 and $ 1,500. $ if you need to rewire the house. at the University of Maine

“It’s a real problem in my opinion,” said Rubin. “The more public recharging there will be, it will be easier, but it is not the most practical way. On the other hand, you have to get a licensed contractor, and at the moment some of these people are hard to find.

Some vehicle types are also not yet available in fully electric versions, such as pickup trucks and vans. The supply chain issues that plague all automakers are also reducing the availability of electric vehicles in general at this time.

However, there are big changes coming in electric vehicles, as well as infrastructure in Maine. Electric pickup trucks will hit the market soon, Siegel said, and more chargers are expected to come online in remote areas of Maine.

Efficiency Maine offers point-of-sale dealer discounts of $ 2,000 for a battery-electric vehicle and $ 1,000 for a plug-in hybrid, with higher discounts for qualified low-income customers on electric vehicles. opportunity. The federal government also offers a tax credit of up to $ 7,500 for certain electric vehicles.

Only certain cars are eligible for certain bribes and only certain retailers participate. Visit the Efficiency Maine website to see if your dealership and the car you are considering qualifies for the incentives.

Other than that, buying an electric vehicle is not much different from buying a conventional vehicle, researching the type of car and the features you want.

“A car is a big investment, so it’s worth taking a lot of consideration and doing a lot of research, but luckily there is a lot of research on electric vehicles,” Caldwell said. “We are really going in the right direction.


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