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Electric cars; are they worth the investment?

Photography of a Nissan LEAF®, an electric car, plugged to a power station.

Electric cars seem like a great way to save money and the environment at the same time – but before going green with your new car purchase, check out our list of tips for buying an electric car:

1)   All-electric vs. hybrid. An all-electric car runs purely off of its battery: if you don’t have electricity, you’ll find yourself immobile on the side of the road. Are you ready to jump into the electric revolution 100%, or do you still want to have a gas engine to fall back on? If you need the latter, consider a hybrid: they’re still electric-powered, but have a gas reserve to drive the car and charge the battery on the go.

2)   Where do you live? Major cities, especially those with a culture of valuing the environment, are more electric-car-friendly, while it may be harder for an electric car owner to cut it in a suburb (not to mention a rural area!). If you have some public electric charging stations around you, you might never notice the difference – but check to see how electric-friendly your area is before buying a new car. You can look up car charging stations here:

3)   What are your driving habits? Most electric cars have a top range of around 200 miles. Do you frequently take long car trips? If so, an electric car might not be right for you. But if you need a car to drive daily for short-range trips of less than 50 miles, an electric car could be ideal for you.

4)   How often do you gas up? Charging an electric car isn’t like refueling a gas-powered car. If you’re used to pulling into a gas station, pumping gas for a couple of minutes, and driving away, you might be left checking your watch while your electric car recharges at your home or public charging station. If you think you can learn new habits for charging your electric car’s battery – plugging it in overnight, for example, instead of on the way to and from work – then you might be ready to go electric! But if you value being able to refuel quickly and on-the-go, it might be better to stick with a hybrid or traditional fuel car.

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