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Electric Cars: Things to Consider Before Buying

The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) has grown quickly over the past few years, with a 60% jump in EV registration within the first three months of 2022. As of April 2022, an estimated 9,400 electric and hybrid vehicles are registered in Iowa, according to the IDOT. While EVs have a variety of benefits such as reduced fuel and maintenance costs, they have some distinct differences from traditional vehicles and it’s important to do your homework before buying. Keeping these five things in mind can help you make the right decision:

Driving Range
The first thing to consider is the driving range of the car, or how many miles you can go before needing to recharge. When EVs first gained popularity, most models struggled to reach just 100 miles, making long commutes and road trips a challenge. Today, however, a growing number of EVs can go 250-300 miles on one charge, with a few even reaching upwards of 500 miles. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to overestimate your needs as factors such as weather, driving speed and freeway vs. driving around town can all impact miles per charge.

Although the number of publicly available charging stations continues to grow, one of the most convenient aspects of owning an EV is the ability to charge at home. You can utilize level 1 charging using a standard 110-volt wall outlet in your garage, however this can take anywhere from eight to 24 hours to achieve a full charge. If you plan on owning an EV for a while, it may be worth having an electrician install a 250-volt outlet for significantly faster level 2 charging.

It’s also a good idea to see where public charging stations are located if you’re often away from home working, shopping or traveling. Many gas stations and stores are incorporating charging stations into their lots and websites such as PlugShare.com can help you find them.

New or Used
While purchasing a used EV can save you money, it may not be as much as you’re hoping as an increase in demand has led to a decrease in inventory. If you decide a used vehicle is the way to go, it may take some time to find the one you want for a good price. Buying a new car also guarantees it will have the full warranty, longest driving range currently available and a brand new battery. Purchasing new may also qualify you for a federal tax credit and other state-specific incentives not available when buying used.

Insurance Cost
Since EVs are typically more expensive to purchase and repair than regular cars, insurance premiums tend to be higher as well. According to ValuePenguin, insuring your EV may cost up to 25% more than the same car with a fuel-based engine. However, with so many factors such as location, driving record and the insurance company impacting insurance rates, it’s a good practice to shop around for the best deal.

EVs generally require less maintenance than gas-powered vehicles, since they eliminate many of the components that typically require service. The battery and motor may even last longer than the life of the car, but in the event that the battery does need to be replaced, it may cost between $5,000 up to $30,000 depending on the model. Luckily, there are federal regulations in place requiring automakers to cover the battery for eight years or 100k miles, but it’s important to understand exactly what’s covered before something goes wrong.


When in the market for a used car, stop by Carousel Preowned. Carousel Preowned serving Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, North Liberty, Marion, and Coralville, IA, is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. We do our best to ensure your complete satisfaction every time you step into our car dealership. This is why we offer the widest selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs and provide true ease of purchase in Iowa.

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