Electric cars seem to be popping up everywhere these days, but many don’t necessarily understand how they work. If you’re trying to decide if an electric vehicle is the right option for you, there are a few key things you need to know that might make the decision a bit easier.
All electric car ads mention driving range. The driving range is how far the vehicle will go on a full charge. Many offer a range of around 70 miles or more on a single charge, making them a great option for those who have a commute that is around 30 miles, which is the average.
For those who plan on traveling with an electric car, there are concerns of the battery dying. However, the growing number of charging stations available makes that likelihood much less. According to the US Department of Energy’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station locator, there are 28,649 charging outlets and 11,444 electric stations throughout the United States – and this doesn’t include private stations.
Electric cars run on batteries, which means they will eventually need replacing. The good news is that most carmakers have an eight-year warranty on the batteries. The bad news, however, is that the replacement cost can range from around $5,500 to $34,000 or more depending on the type of electric vehicle you choose.
One of the most important considerations for electric cars is the overall energy efficiency they provide. While an electric car utilizes around 80 percent of the energy stored in the battery for powering the car, a gas powered vehicle battery only offers up around 14 to 26 percent.
If you aren’t quite ready to embrace a fully electric vehicle, you can always opt for a hybrid. This type of vehicle combines a combustion engine with an electric motor. The car can drive part of the way on the electric power, yet switches to the gasoline engine when the battery is drained. Some of the higher-end hybrids have engines that alternate between both sources to allow for charging and conserving fuel at the same time.
Electric cars offer many benefits, for both drivers and the environment. However, you will need to determine if this type of vehicle will meet your needs.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 5 Essential Things to Know About Electric Vehicles and was authored by Valerie Johnston.