Should I Buy An Electric Vehicle?

Should I Buy An Electric Vehicle?


An electrified Ford Transit Connect will be available to commercial accounts only later this year.

Electric vehicles are on their way or are already here if you include the $119,000 limited production Tesla Roadster in the mix. The Tesla has been on the market since 2008, but in very small quantities. By the end of this year several manufacturers will be introducing their own EVs including an electrified version of the Ford Transit Connect, the Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolt Volt.

The timing is the same because the grid to power these vehicles is not quite in place and manufacturing of the lithium-ion batteries powering these vehicles is now ramping up.

This past weekend we visited our local “green” McDonalds in Cary, NC, and noticed a pair of charging ports near the entranceway. Our area, metropolitan Raleigh, is one of several places in the country where a charging port station network is being set up. In addition to a home station, these on-the-road charging ports will help EV owners extend their range or at least ensure that they won’t run out of juice.

Should you be an earlier adopter and purchase an EV within the next year? That is a tough call, one I hope to make simpler for you by reviewing the pros, cons and the bottomline of buying an EV now.


  • Rebates of up to $7500 from the federal government are available for qualified EV purchases. Some states, including California, have sweetened the pot and are giving buyers an additional $5000 rebate. Other states are offering rebates, reduced registration or taxation costs and other incentives to help you electrify.
  • Home charging stations are being offered for free or for greatly reduced rates for early adopters. Available in limited quantities, some charging ports shorten the customary overnight recharging to just a few hours.
  • You’ll be doing your part to reduce pollution as some vehicles, including the Nissan LEAF, emit no tailpipe emissions. Somebody has to get the green revolution going, right? Might as well be you.


  • The cost of these new vehicles is very high compared to gas powered cars. For example, the five passenger Chevrolet Volt will cost $41,000 while the five passenger Chevrolet Cruze can be had for less than $20,000 and still get 40 miles to the gallon on the highway. Even with rebates, it could take years—if ever—for you to recoup your cost.
  • These vehicles will be available in limited quantities and not in every metropolitan area, at least not right away. You may desperately want a Chevrolet Volt when it goes on sale, but unless you live in the markets being served from the onset, you’ll have to wait months, perhaps well over a year before one is available in your area.
  • They aren’t as clean as you think. Even with no tailpipe present the Nissan LEAF pollutes. How so? The electric grid these vehicles tap into is powered by coal. Even clean coal technology pollutes, therefore though you won’t see the pollution, you’ll still be adding to it.


Buy an EV if you want, provided that one is available. A big unknown is how well these lithium-ion battery packs will perform under a variety of road and weather conditions. Extensive testing looks promising, but you’ll still be dealing with the first generation of these vehicles. At least you’ll have a strong warranty to offset potential problems.

Adv. — Are you thinking about buying a new car? Secure your loan first, then negotiate your best deal with your salesman. Arrange your own low-rate financing and take the manufacturer’s rebate instead of dealer financing. Visit for loan deals!

Photo courtesy of the Ford Motor Company.


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Categories: Autos Express

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".