11 Practical Reasons to Buy an Electric Car


Over the holidays I saw at least two lists dueling it out as to why electric cars may or may not be in your future. Those lists spanned the gamut from “Dude, they’re too expensive!“, to “Oil’s peaking, get off petroleum now!” But, although they brought up some food for thought, what those lists didn’t cover were the practical reasons to consider buying some kind of electric car (pure electric or extended range electric) in the next couple of years.

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’re already well aware that virtually all major auto manufacturers—and tons of small start-ups—are going to introduce some kind of electric car in the next 1 to 3 years. Sure, they will be more expensive initially and, yes, sooner or later we are going to run out of oil… but these points are largely abstract and subjective kinds of considerations.

In my mind the debate isn’t really about whether we should have electric cars or not, it’s about if the electric car fits your lifestyle. Let’s face it, with today’s technology, electric cars aren’t for everybody and, when we’re being realistic, the vast majority of people will still drive gas-powered cars into the foreseeable future.

So, if the electric car doesn’t work for you, no biggie, move on. But, if you’re on the fence about them, consider the following 11 practical reasons to go electric when buying your next car.


1. No More Trips to the Service Department

By removing the engine, exhaust system, emissions controls, and the many other little bits that are traditionally associated with a combustion-powered car, then replacing them with a motor that has one moving part, some batteries, and associated fans and coolant, the chances that you’ll end up in the service department are drastically reduced.

Image Credit: auntylaurie’s Flickr photostream. Used under a Creative Commons License.


2. No More Oil Changes

Due to all the reasons in #1, likely the only major things you’ll need to get regularly serviced on an EV will be a coolant flush and battery change every 100,000 miles or so.

Image Credit: Robert Couse-Baker’s Flickr photostream. Used under a Creative Commons License.


3. No More Gas Stations

Early EV adopters will likely have to wait until a significant charging infrastructure is built up in their area, but until then, everyone who has an electric car will be charging it in their garage. Just like you plug your cell phone or iPod in every night, so to will you do with your car. You may never have to make a trip somewhere to “fill” your car up again.

Image Credit: Marcin Wichary’s Flickr photostream. Used under a Creative Commons License.


4. No More Tailpipe Emissions

No more spewing carcinogens, asthma-inducing particles, toxins and stinky fumes everywhere you go. Those kids waiting at the bus stop will thank you for it.

Image Credit: Corrêa Carvalho‘s Flickr photostream. Used under a Creative Commons License.


5. Spend About $25 on “Fuel” Every Month

This one is based on a US average per kilowatt hour (kWh) charge of 12 cents, 12,000 miles driven per year, and an EV efficiency of 5 miles per kWh. This number could be much lower or higher depending on your driving needs and utility rates, but your savings versus gasoline will scale with those considerations. Also, this assumes a model where you own the battery instead of lease it.

Image Credit: it’s life’s Flickr photostream. Used under a Creative Commons License.

Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.