What You Need to Know About Electric Cars

The use of electric cars in this country is still fairly rare. But Arizona is ahead of the curve in this area. Arizona residents registered more than 5,000 alternate fuel vehicles and nearly 10,000 electric vehicles in 2020 alone.

As electric cars become more mainstream, many drivers are trying to find out what owning one would mean for them. If you’re exploring your options, here are some helpful considerations to make before investing in an electric vehicle.

Electric Versus Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

We hear a lot of terms these days: EV, hybrid, plug-in. It does get a bit confusing. When people discuss electric cars, they’re generally considering the first two of these three categories:

  1. Electric Vehicle (EV): All-electric vehicles – also known as battery-electric vehicles – are by far the most common category. These cars must be plugged in to recharge their batteries. Registration of these cars in the U.S. has spiked from 300,000 in 2016 to over 1.1 million in 2020.
  2. Plug-in Hybrid Electric: Their motors are generally powered using two sources: electricity and gasoline. Like EVs, plug-in hybrid electric cars contain a battery pack that can be recharged with a charging cable at an external power source.

These use much less gas than the first generation of non-plug-in hybrid electric cars, in which small electric motors supplemented traditional engines.

  1. Fuel Cell Vehicles: Much less common than the first two, these vehicles are built to generate electricity from compressed hydrogen to power the motor.

Electric Vehicles May Soon Be the Norm

In a recent poll of U.S. drivers, 39% said they will likely consider buying an electric vehicle the next time they’re car shopping. Hoping to curb the country’s reliance on gas-powered vehicles, the president has said half of the cars sold in the U.S. will either be electric or plug-in hybrids by 2030.

That is just a goal, of course. The cars still aren’t widely affordable, but the cost of EVs may eventually come down as more people purchase them – especially with the help of new government incentives.

Tax Credits Take a Bite Out of Electric Car Costs

You may not have to foot the whole bill. A federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for electric cars is valid for the rest of 2021. At $25,500, the average cost of a used EV isn’t affordable for everyone, but the tax credit sure helps. And a much bigger EV tax credit is currently under consideration. Find out if local authorities are offering any incentives where you live.

Charging Stations Are Required

Shopping centers and street corners are common locations for charging stations. Most are open to the public, and some are free, but others charge a small fee. What you pay will depend on your car, how much you drive and other factors – but charging up will still cost less than paying for gas.

Charging options are expected to grow. General Motors plans to donate more than 40,000 electric-vehicle charging stations to underserved areas throughout the country. Use one of these apps to find out about charging stations near you:

  • Google Maps: After entering your destination, select “charging stop” for Google Maps to pull up charging stations along your route.
  • ChargePoint: Upload this global app to find available stations, schedule charging, and receive notifications when your car is finished charging.
  • PlugShare: This app claims to be the most accurate public EV charging map worldwide.

Arizona Offers Privileges for Alternative Vehicles

As residents register a record number of alternative fuel vehicles, they have access to benefits other than reducing their carbon footprint. Alternate fuel and electric vehicles registered in Arizona are eligible for a reduced vehicle license tax, have HOV freeway lane privileges, and are exempt from all emissions testing requirements.

Batteries Bring Potential Issues

Lithium ion batteries – the most common battery found in EVs – are prone to degrade over time. Just like with your phone, the more it’s used, the less capacity for charging it will have. It can take hours to charge up a partially depleted EV battery, which is why some drivers pay to install their own charging station at home. Plus, different batteries have different shelf lives.

There’s not much you can do about these issues. But if you’re considering a used car, you can find out how much degradation has occurred before signing any contracts.

Let Arizona Auto License Services Help with the Rest

Finding the perfect car isn’t easy no matter how it’s powered. Let Arizona Auto License Services help with all your other auto needs, from picking the right auto insurance to getting your title and registration squared away. Visit AZ Auto for more information today!