Can an EV Be Your Only Car?

February 19, 2017 •

Can an EV Be Your Only Car?(Image via Mitsubishi)

Electric vehicles (EV’s) have a lot of appeal. They’re quiet, quick, and most importantly, cheap to run. So why do they make up an insignificant proportion of new car sales?

Trip Planning

The answer is, “range anxiety.” You can drive 300 miles on a tank of gas but the typical EV needs recharging after a third of that. It’s often hard to find places to plug in, and replenishing a depleted battery can take hours. Little wonder motorists have reservations about going electric.

Your EV Options

While most manufacturers offer hybrid versions of their mainstream models there far fewer pure electrics are available. Tesla is a household name but high prices mean they’re only an option for the well-heeled.

Lower priced EV’s include the Ford Focus Electric, the VW e-Golf and the Nissan Leaf. Then for the really budget-minded, there’s the Mitsubishi iMEV. With the exception of the iMEV these all claim ranges just over 100 miles, which is good, but won’t get you from Detroit to Chicago in a day. (Or LA to San Fran or, well you get the idea.)

They’ll also force you to compromise on interior space. Overlooking the Mitsu again, these are five-door hatchbacks that seat four adults. What you lose is cargo room, because batteries take up a lot of space. And you lose yet more space as batteries get bigger for greater range.

The conclusion most buyers reach is that if you go EV you need a second car for those occasional long road trips.

New EV Options

Two new EV’s have made waves lately: the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt. The reason is that both promise over 200 miles of range for around $30,000. They’re also, at least on paper, reasonably roomy. In fact, the biggest difference between the two may be that you can buy a Bolt now whereas we’re still waiting for the Model 3 to launch.

If you can afford only one

If you don’t mind waiting hours to recharge after driving 100 miles, there are electric cars to choose from. Most car buyers want the ability to take a longer trip, though, even if they don’t do it very often. Two hundred miles isn’t enough for everyone, but it’s a substantial improvement. Wait just a little longer and the 300 mile EV will surely be available.