How To Choose And Buy An Electric Vehicle

Buying or leasing a new or used electric car is a big leap. But purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) isn't as challenging as it once was because automakers, new and old, are flooding the market with new EV options. Soon, there will be an electric car to suit the needs of almost any driver.

Choosing the right electric vehicle is a bit different from buying a traditional gas-powered car or a gasoline-electric hybrid. You need to think more about range and charging than you do with a gas car, and you need to learn the language of electric vehicles.

Know How You’ll Use an Electric Car

At the moment, BEVs are best for people with predictable schedules and driving patterns.

Range anxiety is a real thing, and it describes the worry a BEV driver feels when the battery charge is getting low while driving in an unfamiliar area. While nationwide charging station networks are proliferating, and smartphone apps make it easier than ever to find a charger and pay for the electricity, public chargers still are not as plentiful and reliable as traditional gas stations.

Therefore, if you drive the same route for the same distance most of the time, a BEV easily works with your lifestyle. That is especially true if you’re buying an electric car to serve as a second vehicle.

What Incentives And Rebates Are Available?

Without financial help such as incentives, you'll pay much more for EVs than their gas counterparts. Incentives, which vary from one car to another, might also affect which EV you will choose.

There are three general types of incentives:

  • Cash incentives from your state and local governments and, in some cases, electricity companies.
  • A federal tax credit of $7,500 if you purchase an EV from a qualifying manufacturer.
  • Local perks such as access to carpool lanes, free charging and free parking.

What To Know Before Purchasing An Electric Vehicle

So, you’ve decided it’s time to buy an electric vehicle. There are more electric cars than ever, with 30-plus unique models on sale in the first quarter of 2022 and more coming soon. Compared with a gas-powered car, you’ll have to consider how far you can travel before needing to recharge (range), as well as how to “refuel” an EV, including possible home improvements to support EV charging, how long it takes to charge and where to charge publicly. Not all EVs are created equal in their charging capabilities.

Electric cars remain expensive, too, as many fall into the luxury space and those that don’t often command premium prices, though incentives can help if the car and buyer qualify. The purpose of this buying guide is to supply you with the information to help find the best EV for you, but we lead off with picks derived from owning, driving and reviewing EVs.

Mercedes-Benz's Sleek Electric Concept Car

Mercedes-Benz's latest electric concept car drove 1,008 kilometers — 626 miles — on a single charge of its battery pack, a feat that could signal a future free from range and charging anxiety.

The company said Thursday that its Vision EQXX traveled more than twice the distance the typical electric car sold today can cover between fill-ups, generally 200-300 miles.

The test trounced even the most advanced and expensive battery-powered vehicles on the market. Tesla's longest-range model, the $100,000 Model S sedan, is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency for up to 405 miles of range. The $170,000 Lucid Air, the current range king, has an EPA rating of 520 miles.