EV 101: What to Know When Buying an Electric Car

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This EV 101 guide will cover everything you need to know when buying an electric car—and more. Whether you’re a seasoned auto enthusiast or just considering making the switch to electric, this guide will help you make an informed decision on your next ride.

Sleek, silent and surprisingly powerful, electric cars are taking the automotive world by storm. There’s a lot to learn, so we’re breaking down all the details of electric vehicles, from the different models and price points to driving tips and charging stations. 

What is an electric car?

Revolutionizing the way we hit the road, electric cars have become more than just a trend. Before you dive into the world of EVs, let’s examine what exactly an electric car is and understand the key differences between fully electric and hybrid vehicles.

Fully electric cars

Fully electric cars, sometimes referred to as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), rely solely on electric batteries to propel them. No fuel, no tailpipe emissions, just pure electric power.

The battery pack located in the car’s chassis stores electricity that powers one or more electric motors, delivering a smooth and silent ride. Their zero-emission nature makes them an eco-conscious choice for drivers who want to reduce their carbon footprint (and save money on fuel.)

Hybrid cars

Hybrids combine the traditional internal combustion engine with an electric motor and a battery. These vehicles can seamlessly switch between gas and electric power as needed. There are two main types of hybrids:

  • Parallel hybrids: These use both the gasoline engine and the electric motor to power the vehicle simultaneously or independently. The electric motor assists the engine during acceleration, helping conserve fuel. This is also the most common type of hybrid vehicle. 
  • Series hybrids: In this setup, the gasoline engine serves as a generator to recharge the electric battery, which, in turn, powers the electric motor to drive the vehicle. The engine does not directly power the wheels.

The hybrid advantage? Increased fuel efficiency and reduced emissions compared to standard combustion vehicles. The gasoline engine also gives drivers peace of mind if they’re concerned with charging station availability in rural areas. 

Hybrids are an excellent choice for those who want to dip their toes into the electric waters without fully committing. However, this sometimes comes at the expense of performance when compared to the power of fully electric vehicles. 

Whether you’re all in for the fully electric experience or prefer the versatility of a hybrid, the electric car landscape has something for everyone. Continue reading to explore these options further and find the perfect electric match for your driving style and preferences.

EV models and types available

The availability of electric vehicles has skyrocketed, offering a diverse array of models that cater to every taste, preference and driving need. This has led to a significant growth in consumer demand, with the number of EVs on the road jumping from 22,000 to over 2 million between 2011 and 2021. Let’s cruise through the expanding landscape of EV models and set you up with the resources you need to choose the perfect ride.

Diverse models for every taste

From sleek and compact city cars to powerful SUVs and futuristic sports cars, manufacturers are designing more electric models than ever before.

For eco-conscious drivers, models like the compact Fiat 500e or the energy-efficient Chevrolet Blazer EV offer the perfect blend of sustainability and style. For a family-friendly option, look no further than the spacious interiors of the Honda Prologue, providing ample room for your loved ones while leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

But the electric revolution isn’t just about small, nimble cars. Performance enthusiasts enjoy the power and speed of high-performance EVs like the Tesla Model S which combines electric efficiency with a high-octane driving experience.

Resources for the road ahead

With an ever-growing list of electric vehicles, how do you choose the one that suits your lifestyle? We’ve compiled some helpful resources to guide you through the process:

Best Electric Cars This Year: Our annual roundup showcases the best electric vehicles of the year, featuring the latest advancements in technology, design and performance. 

Best Cars and EVs for Long-Distance Driving: Planning a cross-country road trip or just love the freedom of the open road? We’ve got you covered. Explore our recommendations for the best cars and EVs designed to go the extra mile.

Shipping electric vehicles

Do you have your sights set on a new electric vehicle, but it’s not available in your state or city? You don’t have to compromise or make the road trip to get it. Montway Auto Transport sets the standard for reliable and efficient vehicle transport. With a reputation built on years of excellence, Montway takes pride in being the go-to choice for auto enthusiasts, dealerships, manufacturers and everyday drivers alike.

Our network of qualified carriers, coupled with a team of dedicated professionals, ensures that your vehicle is transported safely and efficiently. Plus, our dedicated team is here to help you every step of the way, from pickup to delivery.

How to ship electric vehicles: Ever wondered about the ins and outs of shipping your electric pride and joy? Explore our comprehensive roadmap to a stress-free transport experience.

What it’s like to drive an EV

While drivers won’t have any trouble getting behind the wheel and navigating an EV, electric cars do have some differences.

Instant acceleration

Unlike traditional internal combustion engines that require a moment to rev up, electric motors deliver torque instantly. Seamless and silent acceleration propels the car forward for a smooth ride.

Dual motors (or more)

Some EVs are equipped with multiple motors, each contributing to a synchronized power supply. This not only enhances performance but also provides unmatched control and stability, especially in challenging driving conditions.

Regenerative braking

Ever thought your brakes could be a source of power? Enter regenerative braking, a game-changer in the world of electric vehicles. When you decelerate or apply the brakes, the electric motor switches roles, becoming a generator that converts kinetic energy back into electricity.

A silent ride

When you ride in an electric vehicle, you’ll notice the absence of the familiar hum of a combustion engine. Electric motors operate with a hush, creating a quiet driving experience.If you plan on taking your EV into harsh conditions or cold weather, there are some more tips you should know. Explore our blog on driving an electric vehicle in winter weather.

Tax credit

There are many factors to consider when choosing an EV for purchase, but to guarantee money back you’ll need to consider factors such as household income and even where the EV and its batteries are assembled. Below is the most recent guidance on getting the most tax credit on your EV purchase. 

EV tax credit qualifications

Choosing an electric vehicle also comes with specific tax credits that can significantly impact your purchase decision. As you look into electric vehicle options, make sure you know the factors that could potentially put money back in your pocket. Things like your income, vehicle type and even where the car’s battery is assembled can all qualify your car for tax credits. 

Household income

One of the crucial factors influencing your eligibility for an EV tax credit is your household income. The federal government extends tax credits as an incentive for adopting cleaner transportation options, but the amount you qualify for varies based on your income bracket. To make the most informed decision, assess your household income against the guidelines provided by the IRS.

Vehicle origin

Did you know that the origin of your electric vehicle and its batteries could impact your tax credit? As the EV market evolves, manufacturers are branching out globally, and the IRS takes note. Understanding where your EV and its batteries are assembled provides insights into your eligibility for tax credits. Stay ahead by keeping track of the manufacturing origins to maximize your potential savings.

State-specific incentives

Your journey into EV ownership becomes even more rewarding when you tap into state-specific incentives. The landscape of state tax credits varies and staying informed about your region’s offerings can amplify your savings. Read more about state tax credit options to uncover additional layers of potential savings in your area.

IRS guidance

For the most up-to-date and accurate information on federal tax credits, consult the IRS guidance on credits for new clean vehicles purchased in 2023 or after. The IRS provides detailed information on the credits available, qualifying vehicles and the necessary steps to ensure you get the most out of your EV purchase.

By understanding the factors that influence tax credits, you can navigate the road to savings with confidence. Your electric adventure is not just about the thrill of the drive—it’s also about unlocking a world of financial incentives that make your decision to go electric even more rewarding.

Charging options and challenges of electric vehicles

Before you hit the road with an EV, it’s important to understand the intricacies of charging. From different charging levels to the challenges posed by the current charging infrastructure, let’s unpack the essentials that power your EV experience.

Understanding EV Charging

Keeping your vehicle charged is one of the most important parts of EV ownership, but there’s more to it than simply plugging in. Watch for our comprehensive EV charging guide that will cover everything from the various charging levels to resources for finding public charging stations. You’ll also find answers to the most common questions about EV charging. 

Challenges in EV charging infrastructure

Despite the growing popularity of EVs, charging infrastructure remains a challenge for new electric car owners. The reliance on Level 1 charging at standard homes can leave new EV owners without the convenience of a widespread public charging network. This is why the need for accessible and efficient charging stations is so important.

EVs and the automotive industry

Electric vehicles haven’t just changed the way we drive, they’ve also transformed how the auto industry operates. As more drivers adopt electric vehicles, manufacturers and industry leaders have had to adapt. Whether you’re in the industry yourself or you just want a look behind the scenes, read on to learn about electric vehicles and the automotive industry. 

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Rural Areas: Charging infrastructure is the backbone of the EV revolution, but what happens when you venture off the beaten path? Explore the challenges and potential solutions to establishing robust charging networks in rural areas.

Ramp Up EV Sales by Understanding Buyers: Uncover the secrets to accelerating EV sales by tapping into buyer behaviors and preferences. This blog dives into the intricacies of understanding the EV market and empowering dealerships and manufacturers to meet consumer expectations.

6 Challenges Facing EV Manufacturers and Shippers: Manufacturing and shipping electric vehicles present unique challenges. From supply chain intricacies to transportation logistics, explore the hurdles faced by EV manufacturers and shippers and how they navigate the road to success.

Rental Fleet Electrification: The Road Ahead: The rental car industry is steering towards electrification. Delve into the evolving landscape of rental fleets, the challenges, benefits and the future roadmap of electrifying the rental car experience.

Direct-to-Consumer Electric Car Sales—the Pros and Cons: Cutting out the middleman in electric car sales has its pros and cons. Explore the dynamics of direct-to-consumer sales, its impact on traditional dealerships and the implications for both buyers and sellers in the electric vehicle market.

Picture of a futuristic car driving on a city highway

The future of EVs

The future of the EV industry is marked by innovation, widespread adoption and transformative changes in the automotive landscape. Key trends shaping the future of EVs include:

Improved battery technology: The ongoing evolution of battery technology is at the forefront of the EV revolution. Breakthroughs in energy density, charging speed and overall performance are expected to enhance the range, efficiency and affordability of electric vehicles.

Greater model variety: As major automakers invest in EV development, the market is witnessing a surge in diverse EV models, catering to different preferences and needs. From compact city cars to high-performance SUVs, the variety of electric options is expanding to appeal to a broader consumer base.

Expanded charging infrastructure: To address one of the primary concerns of potential EV buyers, the charging infrastructure is rapidly expanding. Governments, private entities and automotive companies are collaborating to build a comprehensive network of fast-charging stations, making long-distance travel and daily commuting more accessible and convenient.

Government support and incentives: Governments around the world are increasingly recognizing the environmental benefits of EVs and are providing significant support through incentives, subsidies and policy initiatives. These measures aim to accelerate the transition to electric mobility and reduce dependence on traditional combustion engines.

Integration of smart and connected features: The future of EVs goes beyond just the powertrain. Electric vehicles are becoming smart and connected, incorporating features like advanced driver-assistance systems, autonomous capabilities and seamless connectivity. These enhancements not only improve safety but also improve the experience of drivers and passengers.

Rise of electric SUVs and trucks: While electric sedans have dominated the early EV market, the future sees a surge in electric SUVs and trucks. Major automakers are investing in electric variants of popular SUV and truck models, providing consumers with environmentally friendly options in traditionally high-demand vehicle categories.

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