Electric vehicles have experienced steady sales growth over the last decade. Electric cars were once considered a green option but offered very little performance, comfort, or convenience. Automakers have responded to these issues, resulting in many electric vehicles providing some of the most refined luxury appointments, superior technology, and powerful performance.
Today, most manufacturers offer at least one electric vehicle and many hybrid versions of their gasoline-powered lineup. In addition, many car companies have committed to producing electric vehicles, and some have gone so far as to manufacture only electric vehicles.
The technology continues to improve, providing reliability and range, which most drivers cite as concerns. Yet, the question remains. Is an electric vehicle the choice for you? Let’s explore the pros and cons of going electric to help you make an informed decision.
What Is an Electric Vehicle?
Image via Flickr by automobileitalia
Gas-powered vehicles use an internal combustion engine to move the car. An electric vehicle (EV) operates purely on electricity that powers a motor to propel the vehicle. The electricity gets stored in a lithium-ion battery that you can recharge as you use the power.
You’ve probably heard of hybrid vehicles. These hybrids come in different forms, such as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid. A regular hybrid uses a gasoline engine and an electric motor powered by a small battery that recharges as you drive. The gas engine uses the alternator to generate electricity that recharges your battery. The electric motor adds horsepower to the system, which reduces the amount of energy needed from the combustion engine, thus lowering your fuel costs.
A plug-in hybrid uses a gas engine and an electric motor powered by a larger battery that you can recharge by plugging it in at home or a public charging station. This larger battery delivers more horsepower to the electric motor, further reducing the reliance on the gasoline engine. A larger battery also adds range, particularly when the plug-in hybrid offers an all-electric operating mode.
The biggest benefit also happens to be the primary concern of those considering EVs. An EV can only drive so far before the battery drains completely. Most EVs have a driving range that can go well above 200 miles, like the Kia Niro EV that can travel 239 miles on a single charge. Many, like the 2022 Kia EV6, can travel up to 300 miles.
These EVs have enough range for nearly everyone’s daily commute. The concern arises when faced with longer journeys. While there’s a gas station seemingly on every corner, charging stations appear more elusive to the uninformed. However, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can find over 44,000 charging stations nationwide.
When compared to the over 150,000 gas stations in the U.S., the EV charging stations are limited. Yet, this doesn’t prevent you from taking long trips. It only requires a little planning. Before you go, plan your route and search for charging stations along the way. Knowing your driving range enables you to recharge before you deplete your battery.
Most drivers cite fuel costs as one of the primary reasons to switch to an EV. Gas prices currently sit above $3 per gallon in the U.S. Imagine not having to pay $30, $40, $50, or more every time you fill up your gas tank. At these prices, filling up once a week can cost you between $1,500 and $2,500 each year. On average, the cost to recharge an EV battery runs at $350 per year. That’s a considerable saving over gasoline.
Currently, three types of charging options exist. The industry has labeled them Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging stations. You get different charging capabilities at each level. In some cases, your manufacturer will provide you with cords for all three levels.
A Level 1 charging cord uses the same three-prong plug as regular household items. Recharging with a Level 1 system takes the longest of the three levels. On average, you’ll probably get around four miles of range for every hour you plugin. Most EV users don’t use Level 1 charging unless they have to, because of how long it takes.
However, most people’s daily commute doesn’t go beyond 100 miles, and in most cases, far less. So you might not need to recharge at all, but you should. For example, if you work an eight-hour day, you can add around 32 miles with a Level 1 charger over the day. This might suffice if you have a short commute, and remember you probably have well over 100 miles of driving range on a full charge.
Most EV drivers prefer Level 2 charging because they deliver 240 volts of power. When you purchase an EV, you’ll likely get a home charging station that includes a Level 2 outlet. This outlet looks similar to your electric clothes dryer outlet. Therefore, you’ll need a special cord. With 240 volts, you can add up to 25 miles of range per hour.
Many public stations offer Level 2 charging, and you’ll find these stations in surprisingly convenient places. Restaurants, grocery stores, and shopping malls across the country have installed these stations to add convenience to their brand and entice customers. In some cases, they offer complimentary recharging.
A Level 3 recharging station, also known as a direct current fast-charging station, offers the quickest recharge of them all. Level 3 stations can add up to 100 miles of range in as little as 30 minutes. You’ll only find Level 3 chargers at public stations, and these typically charge for the service. As you plan longer trips, you’ll want to see Level 3 charging stations to keep your stop to a minimum. For example, you can fully recharge your EV’s battery in an hour while you stop to stretch your legs and eat.
Electric vehicles have come a long way from where they began. Now, EVs offer a fun-to-drive car that saves you money. They also provide the comfort and convenience features you crave. At Huffines Kia McKinney, we understand what EV drivers want. That’s why we stock an expansive inventory of EVs.
If you’re ready to elevate your McKinney commute with a Kia EV, we invite you to browse our inventory online. Or, for a more hands-on experience, you can stop by our North Central Expressway dealership at any time. One of our friendly, professional salespeople will show you our EV lineup and let you take your favorite for a test drive.