With many of us grappling with months of high prices at the pump, it’s no wonder that 36% of people recently polled by Consumer Reports said they plan to buy or lease an all-electric vehicle (EV). Hundreds of thousands of prospective EV owners have pledged to make their next car electric. If you’re ready to go electric today, after talking to an EV owner – what’s your first step?
1. Consider your driving habits.
Do you live in an urban area where you routinely take short trips (the average daily commute is only around 30 miles) or will you need a vehicle with a greater range? This will impact what type of EV you’re looking for: an older EV model (typically with a smaller battery capacity) or a newer model with an extended range. (The Hyundai Ioniq 5 can go more than 300 miles on a single charge!)
2. Map out your accessibility to charging infrastructure.
In the Consumer Reports poll, 61% of those responding they were not planning to get an EV cited charging logistics as a barrier, while 52% pointed to costs. Many EVs can charge using a common 110 volt electrical outlet (the same type of outlet you’d plug your toaster into), but it will take longer to charge the battery. Faster charging options cost more to install, but give greater certainty you’ll get into a car with a fully charged battery.
Charging infrastructure now is widely available in many cities across the country in shopping centers and other areas where people tend to drive and leave their cars for long periods of time. More workplaces are even jumping on the charging infrastructure wagon to encourage employees who may want to return to the office. You can also have a Level 2 charger installed at home for even faster charge times—it runs on the same power as your dryer—but requires an electrician to install. Many dealers can help you find an experienced local electrician to help.
3. Check your insurance coverage.
With any large, long-term purchase, you’ll want to protect your EV whether you are leasing it or outright buying it. Calling ahead to check auto insurance rates will give you a full picture of any potential changes in coverage amounts, deductibles, or other unanticipated costs. While you’re at it, confirm with your homeowners or renters insurance carrier of any changes that might occur to that policy should you install a charging system.
4. Check for incentives to cash in on all of the benefits of EV ownership.
Many states offer their own financial incentives – in addition to the federal rebate – for EVs. Remember, the federal government also offers up to a $7500 rebate on most models to EV drivers when they purchase the vehicle – and that’s money that can go toward insurance, charging infrastructure, or buying a car with even more range.
5. Review your past three months of electricity bills.
While you’ll no longer be at the mercy of the world oil market prices, you’ll still need to fuel up your EV. Being aware of your current electricity rate will give you a sense of the long-term savings after the upfront installation costs. Also think of the time you’ll save not taking those trips to the gas station and charging up at home—that’s time and money you get back.
6. Plan your trip to the DMV.
Most U.S. states treat electric car purchases no differently than a traditional fossil-fuel-powered purchase. Whether you get your car in or outside of the state you live in, the DMV of your home state will want the following information. Tip: if you buy from an auto dealer, they do all of this for you.
- The vehicle’s title
- A record of the odometer mileage (if the vehicle is less than 10 years old).
- A smog certification (check with your state – no tailpipe might mean no smog test)
- Applicable state and EV fees and a use tax.
7. Start Shopping
It is a seller’s market for EVs right now with most models being very tough to come by, but that shouldn’t stop you from jumping into the test drive process. Start by contacting local dealerships to see if they carry the model or meet the criteria of the type of EV you’re looking for. If they don’t have a model currently on the lot, ask if they anticipate a delivery or get their recommendation for who to contact next. You can also search car sites like carmax.com, edmunds.com, or carvana.com to learn more about inventory in your area and where you’ll soon drive off with the EV vehicle of your dreams.
8. Can’t get your hands on an EV?
You can still sign the pledge to make your next car purchase electric and become an ambassador for electric vehicles to drive public adoption and bust misconceptions. Already signed it? Send the link to a friend (or teenager and soon-to-be-driver) who should join you.
Remember, at the end of the day, an electric vehicle is still just a car—it’s just a better car that is more fun to drive, saves you money, and has zero tailpipe emissions.