Pump or Plug | Shelter Insurance®

Giving Up the Pump for the Plug


People say unplugging makes it easier to relax, but when it comes to cars, plugging in is gaining popularity. Are you considering an electric vehicle (EV) for your next car? It’s an environmentally-friendly choice that could be a good fit for you if you live close to work and near a public charging station. Check out these pros and cons of going all electric.

The Upside
EVs might be a great way to cut your transportation costs—no gas station stops, no oil changes, no transmission issues. Your brakes may even last longer! Worried about affordability? Check with your tax advisor as federal and state tax credits might help you get a $30,000+ EV for around $20,000, on average. You still have to pay for the electricity to charge the car, so keep that in mind when deciding to switch.  Estimates vary from an additional $20 to $80 per month on your electric bill. Compare that to what you spend on gas. On top of all that, there are no exhaust emissions and they’re quieter than gas-powered cars, yet they generally accelerate like they have gas-powered engines.

The Downside
EVs could be a good option for you if you don't have a long commute, but if you live in a rural or suburban area and have a longer commute, you may want to look into a hybrid or a gas-powered car that gets good mileage. The reason is simple—you can drive about 60-125 miles between charges on average in an EV depending on the make and model, and when it's very cold or very hot outside, you can lose up to 25% of that range. Turn on the heat or AC, lights, windshield wipers, etc. and you lose even more. Here are some things you can do to increase your battery's range:

  1. Simple maintenance: Making sure your tires are properly inflated, fluids are at the appropriate level and your air filter is clean can extend the life of a charge.
  2. Don't take the long way home: Choosing the shortest route to get where you're going can make a difference as well.
  3. Lose the weight: Carrying heavy cargo or a lot of people will drain the car's battery sooner than if it's just you and light cargo, like groceries.

Finding public charging stations can also be a challenge for EV owners. Since it takes a while for the car to recharge, getting one installed at home is the way to go, but that can cost you a pretty penny. Another good option is to have an outlet installed similar to the outlet you plug your clothes dryer into. Charging with this type of outlet takes 8-12 hours.

The overall life of an EV battery is also a concern. It varies, but can be as long as ten years. Replacing the battery costs thousands of dollars, but by the time you need one, you could be ready for a different car.

Before you make a decision, consider these pros and cons. Depending on where you live and work, an EV could be a great choice for you!

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