Are Electric Cars Worth It? - Pros and Cons | Metromile (2022)

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you may have your eye on an electric vehicle (EV). Maybe you want to reduce your environmental impact or simply save money on gas — or you just like the look of the new Tesla and you’re sold. But then you hear that nagging voice, “Are electric cars worth it?” Before deciding on going fully electric or not, you want to understand the benefits of electric cars. Read on to review electric cars pros and cons to help make your decision easier.

Are Electric Cars Worth It? - Pros and Cons | Metromile (1)

Benefits of electric cars

f you’re wondering are electric cars worth it, it’s key to understand all the benefits of electric cars. Owning an electric vehicle has its perks, so let’s review.

You can save a lot of money

Have you ever lamented about how high the cost of gas is while at the pump? Imagine those days are gone. Instead of filling up your gas tank each week and feeling like it’s taking a good chunk of your discretionary income, you could save a lot of money by going electric. When you have an electric car, you no longer need any gas to fuel your car.

Instead, you need electricity which is much more affordable. According to Energy.gov, you could reduce costs by 50% by going electric when compared to gas. You can even use their nifty eGallon tool to compare the costs of driving with gas versus electricity. For example, in California, it shows that the cost of gasoline is $3.73 per gallon compared to $1.86 for electricity.

Being able to cut your costs in half is remarkable for your budget and can reduce your overall spending, freeing up money to put elsewhere — like savings, debt, or even a fun hobby.

Electricity is renewable

The thing about gas is that it’s a finite resource as it uses oil to create gas. Oil is a natural resource. Given everything going on with climate change, it’s important to take a harder look at natural resources and the way they’re being used.

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That’s why electric vehicles are an attractive alternative. Unlike gas which can technically run out, electricity can be renewable. It’s possible to get electricity in renewable ways such as through wind or water powers or even solar energy.

Renewable energy is on the rise as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted that usage reached record highs as of 2020, making it 12% of energy consumption. According to the EIA website, “The electric power sector accounted for about 60% of total U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020, and about 20% of total U.S. electricity generation was from renewable energy sources.”

You can lower greenhouse gas emissions

One of the major benefits of electric cars is the fact that you can reduce your environmental impact. Regular vehicles that use gas greatly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as of 2019 transportation makes up 29% of greenhouse gas emissions, effectively the largest contributor next to electricity (25%), industry (23%), commercial and residential (13%), and agriculture (10%).

Electric cars don’t have an exhaust pipe to create greenhouse gas emissions. That’s not to say there is no environmental impact.

If you use coal or natural gas to power electricity, it can leave carbon pollution. If you use one of the more natural ways listed above, you don’t contribute to carbon pollution.

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The EPA does state on their website, “Even accounting for these electricity emissions, research shows that an EV is typically responsible for lower levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) than an average new gasoline car. To the extent that more renewable energy sources like wind and solar are used to generate electricity, the total GHGs associated with EVs could be even lower.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the national averages for annual emissions per vehicle is 11,435 pounds of CO2 equivalent for a gasoline vehicle whereas for all-electric vehicles it is 3,774 pounds of CO2 equivalent which represents 3x less CO2 than gasoline vehicles.

You can take advantage of tax credits

Another major perk of owning an electric car is the tax credits you could qualify for. According to the U.S. Department of Energy website, you could get up to $7,500 in tax credits. Your car must be all-electric or plug-in hybrid and made in 2010 or later to qualify.

Tax credits are more effective than deductions at lowering the amount you pay in taxes as they’re dollar-for-dollar. Meaning, if you owed $10,000 you could effectively lower your tax bill up to a maximum of $7,500 and only pay $2,500.

It’s important to note that the tax credit is only available up to the limit. So if your tax bill is only $2,000, you can receive the credit for up to $2,000 and the rest won’t help your tax situation any further. Deductions lower your taxable income which can lower how much you pay in taxes but is not dollar-for-dollar.

Less maintenance is required

When you have a regular car, you need to fill up the gas tank regularly and also change your oil at regular intervals. All of that can add to the cost and time it requires to maintain the car. When it comes to considering electric cars pros and cons, this is a huge benefit. On top of that, there may be fewer repairs needed as well.

Better performance

Electric cars tend to be much quieter than gas vehicles. That noise reduction can improve performance and quality of life and lead to a smooth ride on the road. Electric vehicles tend to be more energy efficient in stop-and-go traffic as well and electric motors actually react faster than mechanical engines. All of these factors combined make for a better performance and experience as both a driver and passenger.

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Downsides of electric cars

Now that you know the benefits of electric cars, it’s time to consider the cons as well. Here are the most common downsides of electric cars.

Electric cars can be pricey

Though you can benefit from the cost savings on gas, there’s no doubt that electric cars are more expensive than standard cars to buy. In some cases, thousands of dollars more.

But Business Insider recently discovered that there is a new group of EVs priced at $35,000. Additionally, Axios noted that electric vehicles are more expensive to buy but not to own. Due to lower maintenance costs it may all even out. But just be aware that you could pay a higher sticker price.

Charging can be a lengthy process

When you have an electric vehicle, you can’t just go to the pump and get on your way. You do have to charge your vehicle for it to work properly. Depending on your make, model, and year, your EV could take between 4 and 20 hours or more to charge. Having a charging station in your home can certainly help, but you need to make sure you budget for that time to adequately charge your vehicle.

You can’t go as far or as long as gas cars

A major downside to owning an electric vehicle is that you can’t go as far or as long as you might want. Electric vehicles can typically go between 60-100 miles when fully charged, but many modern EVs may get up to 250 to 350 miles per charge. Compare that to up to a maximum of 400 miles on a single gas tank (depending on car and efficiency), it’s a notable difference. Going on a road trip is less ideal in this scenario with an electric car.

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Finding a station can be tough

If you don’t have a charging station at home, you’re at the mercy of public charging stations. While some cities may have plentiful options, not every place does and it can all depend. The lack of stations in your area could present a challenge if you’re in a bind and need to go somewhere. Be sure to do research about charging stations in your neighborhood and what options are available.

Car insurance premiums may increase

Another downside to consider is that car insurance premiums may be higher with an electric vehicle. The website ValuePenguin found that electric vehicle insurance premiums were 23% higher than regular cars. Part of that is due to the fact that electric cars can be more expensive. So if something were to happen to you, it may cost more to repair.

Electric cars pros and cons

ProsCons
You can save a lot of moneyElectric cars can be pricey
Electricity is renewableCharging can be a lengthy process
You can reduce your environmental impactYou can’t go as far or as long as gas cars
You can take advantage of tax creditsFinding a station can be tough
Less maintenance is requiredCar insurance premiums may increase
Better performance

Are electric cars worth it?

If you’ve been thinking of buying a new car it’s natural to wonder, are electric cars worth it? The benefits of electric cars are generous and pretty clear cut but you also want to know about electric cars cons as well. It may cost more to buy and insure your car, but you’ll likely make up some of that with reduced costs on fuel.

If you are thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle, chances are you don’t drive much or are actively looking to drive less. Pay-per-mile auto insurance can be a good fit for you and help you lower car insurance costs.

You can see if pay-per-mile car insurance is right for you with Metromile. Download the Metromile app and take a Ride Along™ trial for free. For about two weeks, you’ll drive like you typically do (you should keep your existing insurance policy to keep covered during the trial). After, you’ll see how much you could save if you switched to a usage-based insurance policy.

Drivers can also save up to an extra 15% off their initial Metromile auto insurance quote if they show they’re a safe driver during their Ride Along™ in select states.

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Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

FAQs

Is there a downside to electric cars? ›

These disadvantages include finding charging stations, charging times, higher initial costs, limited driving range, and battery packs can be expensive to replace.

What are 3 disadvantages of electric cars? ›

Disadvantages of owning an Electric Vehicle
  • The range of an electric car depends on its battery. ...
  • Recharge Points. ...
  • Battery repairs or replacement can be expensive. ...
  • EVs cause pollution and e-waste. ...
  • Low number of electric cars available to choose from. ...
  • Reduction in government grants. ...
  • Missing out on the driving experience.
28 Mar 2022

What are the main problems with electric cars? ›

EV owners have experienced chronic problems with the display screens, exterior door lights, failing temperature sensors, mismatched paint, and seals and weatherstripping. It's not just that these problems occur, but that they occur at a higher rate than with conventional vehicles.

Is it still worth buying an electric car? ›

If an EV is in your price range, and range isn't going to be a problem based on typical journeys, getting an electric car is a great idea. Not only is it cheaper to run, but it's also eco-friendly, usually nippy – and a way to futureproof your transport solution for years to come.

Is car insurance more expensive for electric cars? ›

Generally, electric cars are more costly to insure than conventional vehicles. Because electric vehicles are pricier to both buy and repair, insurance providers charge their drivers more for coverage. That said, the savings you earn on gas and tax incentives might more than make up for your policy's extra cost.

How long will an electric car last? ›

Both of the mandated warranty numbers (8 years, 100,000 miles) for EV batteries far exceed the average ICE vehicle drivetrain warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles. The average lifetime mileage of an ICE vehicle is about 133,000 miles.

Why are people against electric cars? ›

Common Reasons Drivers May Avoid EVs

The most common reasons drivers avoid EVs include fear the battery will run out of charge before reaching their destination, also known as “range anxiety,” fear of too few charging stations, long charge times, and initial higher upfront vehicle costs.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car? ›

The average cost of charging an EV at a commercial charger, from almost empty to almost full, is between $10 and $30. Keep in mind that charging your EV on a road trip—that is, at a commercial charger—costs significantly more than charging it at home.

What happens when an EV runs out of charge? ›

Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent. If you're driving an electric car and it runs out of power, the short and simple answer is this: the car will stop—and you'll need to call roadside assistance to get towed to the nearest charging station.

How well do electric cars work in cold weather? ›

According to AAA's “Cold Weather Can Cut Electric Car Range by Over 40%”, EVs often lose 12% of their range in cold weather, but the loss leaps to 41% with the heater on full blast.

Are electric cars efficient in cold weather? ›

Reality check: Most electric vehicles experience some loss of driving range in cold weather. In Norway — where half of all new cars are plug-ins — tests show that EVs lose about 20% of their driving range and take longer to charge in cold temperatures, according to the Norwegian Automobile Federation.

Should I charge my electric car every night? ›

The short answer to the question is no. In general, you should not charge your electric car every night. It isn't necessary in most cases. The practice of charging an electric vehicle every night can shorten the lifespan of the car's battery pack.

Which electric car is most reliable? ›

  • 2022 Chevrolet Bolt (62) ...
  • 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV (65) ...
  • 2022 Nissan Leaf (78) ...
  • (tie) 2022 Tesla Model 3 (79) ...
  • 4. ( ...
  • 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 (80)
  • 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E (82) ...
  • 2022 Kia Niro Electric (88)
15 Aug 2022

How many hours does it take to charge an electric car? ›

Level 1 chargers can take 40-50 hours to charge a battery electric vehicle (BEV) from empty and 5-6 hours to charge a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) from empty.

Is it worth buying an EV in 2022? ›

2022 is shaping up to be a good time to buy an EV. A combination of increased range, lower prices, and more electric car models than ever before could make buying or leasing an EV a better choice than in years past.

Are electric car tires more expensive? ›

While EV ownership is generally cheaper than owning a gas-powered car over time, EV tires are expensive. You may find the tires on your electric vehicle require replacement more frequently than your experience with your old car or SUV.

How Far Can electric cars go on a charge? ›

Full-electric BEVs today have an average range of 250 miles on a single charge. However, newer models from marquee companies like Tesla and Mercedes can go as far as 600 miles in one charge.

Why do electric vehicles depreciate so much? ›

Why do electric cars depreciate quickly? Due to government incentives, battery replacement fears, and demand inconsistencies, electric cars lose value. You read that right; the government incentives that most buyers put in their 'pro' column are shedding EV value.

Can you plug an electric car into a regular outlet? ›

You can charge your electric car using standard 120 volt(V) home outlets (Level 1), 208-240V outlets like those used by your dryer (Level 2), or dedicated 480V+ public fast chargers (DC Fast Charging). The time it takes to charge using each of these three options depends on your drive and the size of the battery.

Do electric cars lose charge when parked? ›

Electric cars can handle extended periods of inactivity very well, even better than combustion-powered engines, in fact, whose 12V batteries can lose charge, and whose fluids and radiator hoses can become damaged.

How much does it cost to replace a battery on an electric car? ›

Experts say electric vehicle batteries typically cost between $2,000 and $10,000 to replace, but some are more expensive. Electric vehicles are growing in popularity worldwide, with sales doubling in 2021 to a new record of 6.6 million, the International Energy Agency said in May.

What do electric cars wear out? ›

The only parts of an electric motor that must eventually wear out are the bearings at either end of the rotor shaft. See all our tips, advice and EV FAQ.

Do electric cars wear out tires faster? ›

Electric vehicles boast instant torque, meaning they accelerate the second you put the pedal to the metal. However, the high instant torque of electric vehicles can also increase wear and tear. In addition to good grip, the rubber compound used for EV tires also needs low rolling resistance.

Will electric cars be the future? ›

Electric vehicles are the future! The manufacturing companies are putting more effort into moving from traditional vehicles to electric cars. There are plenty of benefits to owning an electric vehicle with the right amount of functionality and infrastructure.

Are electric cars cheaper to insure? ›

Unfortunately, electric cars still tend to be more expensive to insure than their petrol and diesel counterparts. They tend to be a bit more expensive to insure primarily because of their higher purchase prices and because there is less available data on them than ICE cars.

How long does it take to charge an electric car at a charging station? ›

Summary. The time it takes to charge an electric car can be as little as 30 minutes or more than 12 hours. This depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point. A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point.

Do electric cars have air conditioning? ›

Yes, electric cars have air conditioning systems just like gas-powered cars, but they will be powered by an electric battery rather than an engine. It should be noted that just like how running your AC on a hot summer day can eat into your gas mileage, the same is true for your electric car's range.

Can you jumpstart an electric car? ›

You can indeed jump-start an EV the same way you can with a gas-powered car. However, the chances of you ever having to do this are rare, thanks to the way the power system in an EV works.

Do you have to pay to charge your electric car at a charging station? ›

Charging costs include a standard connection fee, plus the amount of electricity consumed, multiplied by the chargepoint supplier's or network's electricity tariff (price per kWh). Membership of a charging network may give you access to cheaper rates and could save you money if you use the same network regularly.

Will AAA charge my electric car? ›

EV charging stations are accessible to all electric vehicle drivers through the ChargePoint app. AAA members also enjoy two complimentary hours of charging for their electric vehicles.

Do you need to warm up an electric car? ›

Electric Cars

Heating an electric car drains a lot of the battery — especially in the bitter cold. To conserve battery life, it's smart to warm up your car while it is still plugged in at home to avoid a low battery while out and about.

How do you heat an electric car? ›

Lastly, while a gas vehicle does generate its cabin heat through a very inefficient process, the same is true for most electric vehicles. In a stationary EV, there is little waste heat, so cabin heat is generated by heating up resistive elements, drive stators, or through heated seats or steering wheels.

Does hot weather affect electric cars? ›

According to CNBC, “lithium-ion batteries like the same sort of temperatures that we do”, and perform best at a balmy 70 degrees. EVs lose power under 65 degrees, and lose it quickly under 50 degrees, however, temperatures in excess of 86 degrees also rob the vehicle of power.

How long can an electric car run the heater? ›

And while these batteries are great for powering the motors that move the car, they're not so great for keeping the car warm in cold weather. So how long can an EV run just its heater? Most EVs can only run their heater for nearly two days before the battery is completely drained.

Do electric cars work in the snow? ›

Winter Driving Strategies

Fortunately an electric car's lower its center of gravity and even weight distribution helps bolster its traction on slippery surfaces. Those equipped with all-wheel drive perform even better in this regard.

Can you sit in an electric car while charging? ›

Just like sitting in your car while filling up with gas, you can sit in an electric vehicle. There is a low risk of electrocution occurring when sitting in EVs while charging since they are well-designed to ensure user safety.

How often do electric cars need to be serviced? ›

EVs do require a twice-a-year service check for the vehicle system and tire rotations. These help maintain optimal battery performance and the EV's longevity. EVs in operation for longer than 8 to 10 years and after the manufacturer warranty expires will probably also need a battery replacement at some point.

How long does it take to charge an electric car at home? ›

You can expect a home outlet (sometimes called a level 1 charger) to take around 40 hours to fully charge a typical EV. Level 2 chargers decrease time significantly: Most can deliver about 15-25 miles of range per hour, meaning that most EVs can be charged either overnight or during a typical work day.

Why are people against electric cars? ›

Common Reasons Drivers May Avoid EVs

The most common reasons drivers avoid EVs include fear the battery will run out of charge before reaching their destination, also known as “range anxiety,” fear of too few charging stations, long charge times, and initial higher upfront vehicle costs.

How well do electric cars work in cold weather? ›

According to AAA's “Cold Weather Can Cut Electric Car Range by Over 40%”, EVs often lose 12% of their range in cold weather, but the loss leaps to 41% with the heater on full blast.

Is it better to have a gas or electric car? ›

Better energy efficiency — Electric cars are more energy-efficient than those powered solely by gas. The battery of an all-electric vehicle converts more than 77% of energy into vehicle movement; with gas-only vehicles, conversion ranges from 12% to 30%, according to Fueleconomy.gov.

What is the problem with electric car batteries? ›

If EV batteries continue to be made of lithium ion, the primary concerns are: 1) labor practices for mining cobalt; 2) environmental impacts of extracting lithium; 3) sufficient supply of materials for EV batteries; 4) carbon emissions from battery manufacture; and 5) toxic waste from disposal of used batteries.

How long until electric cars take over? ›

Between 2025 and 2030, we will have enough (electric) cars around us to understand where the market goes,” Tal said. “People will not be like today, where many people don't know if the electric car is for real.” There's also the concern that electric vehicles will remain out of reach for the average consumer.

What do electric cars wear out? ›

The only parts of an electric motor that must eventually wear out are the bearings at either end of the rotor shaft. See all our tips, advice and EV FAQ.

How many hours does it take to charge an electric car? ›

Level 1 chargers can take 40-50 hours to charge a battery electric vehicle (BEV) from empty and 5-6 hours to charge a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) from empty.

Do electric cars lose charge when parked? ›

Electric cars can handle extended periods of inactivity very well, even better than combustion-powered engines, in fact, whose 12V batteries can lose charge, and whose fluids and radiator hoses can become damaged.

Do electric cars have air conditioning and heating? ›

Do All Electric Cars Have AC & Heating? All-electric cars have an AC and heating system; their configuration is what differs. For example, Tesla uses resistive heating elements while the Nissan Leaf uses the heat-pump cabin heater.

Is it safe to charge an electric car in the garage? ›

Yes, it's safe to let your electric vehicle run in the garage. In fact, you could straight up take your electric car inside your house and park it in the living room if you wanted to. EVs are like large electrical appliances; they get warmer when you plug them in or turn them on, but they don't emit any toxic gas.

How long will gas cars be around? ›

Cars last around 15 years, so it will take us to 2050 before we get rid of most of the gasoline-powered cars. “Drivers will be willing to wait 10 to 15 minutes to charge their cars so they can drive 200 more miles. But if they have to wait much longer, they will not be happy.”

How much does it cost to charge an electric car? ›

The average cost of charging an EV at a commercial charger, from almost empty to almost full, is between $10 and $30. Keep in mind that charging your EV on a road trip—that is, at a commercial charger—costs significantly more than charging it at home.

Do electric cars need oil changes? ›

Any need for engine pistons, valves, and other moving parts that need to be lubricated, electric vehicle does not need regular oil changes. Electric cars use completely different drivetrains, so you will never have to worry about routine oil changes that are necessary for traditional cars.

How long does it take to charge an electric car at a charging station? ›

Summary. The time it takes to charge an electric car can be as little as 30 minutes or more than 12 hours. This depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point. A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point.

How much does it cost to replace a Tesla battery? ›

Tesla battery replacement cost varies depending on the labor and parts needed. Typically, the most basic battery replacement in tesla costs between $13,000 and $14,000. For the Model S premium sedan, replacing a Tesla battery costs around $13,000-$20,000.

What happens to electric cars when the battery dies? ›

The short answer is nothing, really. Your EV will stop running, and you'll need roadside assistance or a tow, similar to a car that's out of gas.

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