Why You Should Wait to Buy an Electric Vehicle

According to Google Trends, online searches for the phrase “electric vehicle” skyrocketed to record highs in March 2022, encapsulating renewed interest in cars and trucks that run on nothing but electricity. With gas prices encroaching on all-time highs and manufacturers offering more vehicles than ever, now may be the perfect time to buy an EV.

Or is it?

Much like other products and services that have recently been launched, there are downsides to being an early adopter of EVs. From technology arguably still in the beta phase to high initial costs of ownership, here are the best reasons to wait to buy an electric vehicle.

Our National Charging Infrastructure is Still Incomplete

There are over 150,000 gas stations in the United States. Conversely, there are only a little more than 30,000 public charging stations, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

While the average top-off at the gas pump is estimated to take less than 5 minutes, charging up an EV to its maximum battery capacity can take hours, according to Kelley Blue Book. So long trips suddenly become exercises in patience for people accustomed to the convenience of taking just a few minutes to fill their gas tank.

Whereas visiting a full gas station with a line of cars waiting their turn seems tedious, it pales in comparison to the EV equivalent: if you need to charge your battery and every charging port in the station is in use, you’re out of luck.

For EV owners, the phrase “range anxiety” has been coined to represent worry that their vehicle’s battery will run out before reaching their destination. In fact, according to Google, “range anxiety is often cited as the most important reason why many are reluctant to buy electric cars.”

Help is on the way, although it’s just another reason to wait to buy an EV at the moment. In February 2022, the Biden administration announced plans to commit $5 billion to build out a proper nationwide charging network, with the project aiming to finish in 2028.

It’s a Leap of Faith

Automobiles as we know them have been around for nearly 150 years, dating back to the Benz Model 1, the first gasoline-engine-powered vehicle ever produced. The technology behind these vehicles is established and perfect. On the other hand, buying an electric vehicle now can be regarded as a leap of faith into the unknown.

Make no mistake about it: only a tiny segment of Americans buy fully electric vehicles. According to a study by LMC Automotive, EV sales made up only 2.6% of the overall U.S. automotive market in 2021.

While the underlying technology and theory powering electric vehicles aren’t new, modern EVs certainly is, and that means things that drivers perhaps take for granted will no longer be accessible.

For example, your trusted mechanic most likely won’t have the capabilities to service your new EV, leaving you at the mercy of your manufacturer or dealership. You will also have to face increased home energy costs if you install an in-home charging station. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, based on the nationwide home average of $.13 per kilowatt hour, filling up a 200-mile-range EV battery from empty will cost owners $9.

Perhaps most importantly, you will have to accept that you may be a beta tester for much of the driving technology promised by companies like Tesla, such as autonomous driving. This obviously can be a benefit you enjoy, of course – but to enter the world of EV ownership can require a leap of faith.

EV Repairs Are Costly

While maintenance over time for an electric vehicle is low due to fewer moving parts capable of wear and tear, actual repairs are more costly. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that EVs generally are comprised of 15,000 components, half the amount found in gas-powered vehicles. But according to analytics firm WePredict, the average repair cost for an EV is $306, compared to $189 for a gas-powered vehicle. Much of this is due to more expensive components, and technicians must service EVs at dedicated repair shops approved by their manufacturer.

EVs Are More Expensive

Although there are obvious advantages of owning an electric vehicle, the truth remains that EVs are simply more expensive.

According to Car and Driver, the cheapest car for sale during the 2022 model year is the Chevy Spark, starting at $14,595. The cheapest EV is the Nissan Leaf, starting at $28,365 – a nearly 95% difference in price. If you’re looking for safe, reliable transportation – and who isn’t – gas-powered cars offer similar warranties, features and looks for a fraction of the price.

Simply put, EVs are outside of many drivers’ budgets.

Tesla No Longer Eligible for Tax Credit

EV buyers love Tesla. Of the approximately 148,000 EVs sold in the U.S. in Q4 2021, 72% were Teslas. However, due to its overwhelming popularity, Tesla has lost one of the most significant consumer advantages of buying an electric vehicle: the $7500 federal tax credit.

The credit will phase out when a manufacturer sells 200,000 vehicles. This means that unlike EV offerings from Nissan, Ford, and Stellantis, buyers looking to purchase a Tesla will be unable to take advantage of a U.S. government-provided tax credit.

While there are fantastic EV options available from other manufacturers – sadly, the reward for being a Tesla early adopter is no longer viable.

Electric vehicles are here to stay. In fact, the U.S. is most likely looking at a future where EVs will be the primary mode of personal transportation. States like California, for example, have taken steps to ensure that the sales of gas-powered vehicles will stop.

In November 2020, governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring all new cars and passenger trucks sold to be electric vehicles by 2035.

Hopefully by then, the nation’s charging infrastructure will be fully operational and accessible, the technology behind these vehicles will be fully matured, and the costs will come down. These things will pave the way for EVs to become fully integrated into our lives, just like gasoline-powered vehicles have for the past 150 years. But until then?

It would probably be best if you waited to buy an electric vehicle.

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