Should My First Car Be Electric? It’s the future


Electric vehicles or EVs are taking the world by storm. Although we’re not quite there yet, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before all the cars on the road are EVs. That’s made you consider that maybe your first car should be electric. Is this the best idea?

Electric vehicles make reliable first cars. You don’t have to worry about fuel management, and used EVs can be affordable. Plus, best of all, EVs are great for the planet. However, first-time drivers will have to get used to recharging their cars, and finding a charging station isn’t always easy.

In this article, we’ll talk further about the multitude of reasons to choose an EV as your first car. We’ll also delve into what you need to know before you commit to an electric car, so make sure you keep reading!

Nissan Leaf

6 Reasons Your First Car Should Be Electric

Whether you’re a teenager shopping with your parents for your first set of wheels or you’re a bit older and looking to finally take the plunge into car ownership, here are six reasons we recommend starting with an EV.

It’s Good for Our Planet

Cars have been on the road since the 1880s. Back then, we knew nothing about climate change, but that’s very much not the case today.

Each time you drive a car, its tailpipe releases carbon dioxide as the vehicle burns fuel. The EPA says that in one gallon of gas, the CO2 tailpipe emissions are 8,887 grams. In a gallon of diesel fuel, it’s even worse, as then your tailpipe releases 10,180 grams of CO2.

Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas because it’s the most plentiful.

The average annual amount of carbon dioxide released by a passenger vehicle is 4.6 metric tons, says the EPA.

On top of the CO2, your car also produces emissions in the forms of hydrofluorocarbon, nitrous oxide, and methane, which further exacerbates global warming.

EVs use no fuel, which means their carbon footprint is much lower.

Used EVs Are Reasonably Priced

As we’ve discussed on the blog, the price of a used car comes down to many factors. To recap, those include the age and condition of the vehicle as well as the seller’s asking price.

On average though, a used non-electric car in 2021 costs $25,410, says CNBC. New electric cars start at $30,000, so when you shop used, you can expect the prices to be lower than $25k.

The average price range for used EVs produced from 2011 to 2014 is between $7,000 and $17,000. Of course, we must note again that used car prices are at the discretion of the seller, and that includes EVs.

Why so cheap? Those who buy a new electric car in the United States are usually eligible for a tax credit valued at up to $7,500. That’s no small chunk of change. An EV seller shouldn’t be hurting for cash so bad that they jack up the price of their used electric car.

This very much benefits you, the buyer! 

EV vs Gas Cost Comparision

Nissan LeafChevy MalibuTesla M3
New Price$32,000$23,000$42,000
Range149 miles500 miles263 miles
Insurance$1,500$1,300$3,500
Fuel Cost$1350 (Yr 1) **
$550 (Yr 2)
(0.4c/mile)
$1350 (29mpg .10c/mile)$1755 (Yr 1) *
$550 (Yr 2)
(0.04c/mile)
Maintenance$300$800$300
Total Running Costs$3,150$3,450$5,555 (Yr 2 $4350)

* Year 1 cost includes Tesla home charging kit approx. $1,200

** Year 1 costs include Nissan Leaf home charge kit approx. $800

No Need to Fuel up at the Pump

Tesla charging

As a first-time car owner, you have to become very well-acquainted with your gas gauge. Allowing your fuel levels to reach empty will leave you stranded on the side of the road, frantically calling your parents or friends to bring you a gas can (or the name of a tow truck company).

You still have to monitor your electric usage while in an EV, and range anxiety is a real concern for many drivers.

Inexpensive Maintenance

Of course, when you buy a car–even a used one–you’re not paying for only the car. You have to insure it, and then you have to spend money on its upkeep month after month and year after year. The maintenance expenses can burn a hole in your pocket a mile wide.

EVs aren’t completely maintenance-free, but you have to do a lot less in the maintenance department than with a car that uses fuel. An EV has far fewer parts, which means you spend less money to repair or replace them.

There’s no engine, which is by far the costliest and most headache-inducing part of a standard vehicle. On top of that, you don’t have to deal with oil changes, which is usually a car owner’s least favorite maintenance job.

Reliability

The computerized system that controls your electric car is one you can trust in. The thermal system will keep the components cool to prevent overheating, the electric traction motor allows your wheels to roll steady and sure, and the electric current converter ensures everything in your vehicle uses DC power.

Used cars are not often known for their reliability, but if yours is a used EV that’s from within the last decade or so, you could have a great first car that won’t give you many problems.

It’s the Future

Here’s another fantastic reason that an EV should be your first car. Electric cars are the future. Just like many kids don’t learn how to handwrite anymore because it’s fallen out of style for typing, why learn how to drive a gas-guzzling car when in another decade (or less), most of the vehicles on the road will be electric?

You’ll certainly be ahead of the curve!

3 Considerations to Keep in Mind When Buying Electric

As great as they are for our planet and as economically priced, electric cars do carry with them some potential downsides. Before signing on the dotted line and becoming a proud owner of your first used car, make sure you read this section. 

EV Charging Stations Are Still Not as Common as You’d Imagine

Electric cars, as you could have guessed, run on electricity. That’s why we said earlier that you have to pay attention to how much power your EV has because once it’s out of juice, it’s out of juice.

Unlike gas stations though, which are a dime a dozen, EV charging stations are few and far between. You would think with the rise of electric vehicles that you’d be able to find a charging station on every street, but that’s just not true yet.

We recommend getting to know the charging stations around your neighborhood. As your power levels get low, make a beeline for the closest one.  

Making the Switch from Electric to Fuel Can be a Challenge

Some electric car owners might decide to stick with electric for life. Others though will become curious about what things are like on the other side. Thus, they decide to buy a car that runs on diesel or gas.

You’ll have to expect a lot of changes, and we don’t just mean your fuel source either. You need to learn where your car’s engine is and how other components work that EVs don’t have. You’ll also have to acclimate yourself to the nuances of pumping your own gas.

Well, unless you live in Oregon or New Jersey, the two states where gas station attendants still pump gas for you.

Short Ranges Are a Hindrance

The distance range of an electric car is something else to account for. Some can’t go very far before they need recharging while others can traverse several hundred miles at a clip and then require an electric boost.

The former EV will keep you tethered to your city or town. As a first-time driver, that’s not such a bad thing. Your parents will know you can’t go far because your electric car will run out of power.

For maybe your second EV, you’ll want one that can handle several hundred miles of travel at a time. That’s the only way you’ll ever be able to go on road trips or leave your state in an electric car.

Conclusion

Electric cars make a fantastic choice for your first vehicle. They’re low-cost, great for our planet, easy to maintain, and they’ll someday be the future of motor vehicles. Keep in mind though that short ranges and a paltry few charging stations can lead to difficulties for EV owners!

If you are considering a used electric car or any vehicle, it’s always worth investing just a few dollars to check the VIN number against the vehicle database. An audit with a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit) will guard against Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuilds, Title washing, Vin cloning, and a ton of other uglies.

You may find these posts useful also:

Will a Tesla save me money?

Should I buy a used Tesla?

Is an old car a good first car?

Should my first car be a truck?

Is a Civic a good first car?

Is Volkswagen a good first car?

Is Audi good first car?

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty-five years, and I've worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Landrover, and Jaguar dealerships. My passion is cars. I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of car ownership, including buying advice, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

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