How to use an electric car

In all honesty, up until recently, I’d never thought about driving, much less owning an electric vehicle. I’ve known people who’ve owned electric vehicles – actually it was the strange, but rich guy at the office you’d find in the good parking spot charging his car all day. It seemed cool, but a little extra for my taste.

How to use an electric car

Well, things have changed. Remember my Niro Road Trip back in December where I got to experience the all new Kia Niro PHEV? Well, I later got to experience it for myself right at home! What I love about this car is that it’s actually a plug-in / hybrid and a perfect introduction to the electric vehicle lifestyle, which I have to admit, started to make me feel pretty cool. With the Niro Plug-in Hybrid, it’s really the best of both worlds. You get the great Kia Niro gas mileage (average 500 mpg) for long road trips, but then you also get the option to drive electric for your day to day tasks. And speaking of perks of driving an electric vehicle, here are just a few more things to consider before buying an electronic vehicle:

What You Need To Consider Before Buying An Electric Car

Charging at home

Before you buy an electronic vehicle you need to consider the ability to recharge your car. When I received the Niro PHEV, there was a handy charging plug in the trunk for me, but I was advised against simply plugging into the same outlet I use for the lawnmower. Charging an electric car may requires a little planning in advance or an electrical installation at your home.

How to use an electric car

An electronic vehicle can be charged at home using a 120 V power outlet or 240 V from an upgraded electric circuit at home. When you use a fast charger, the battery of Kia Niro Plug-in can be fully charged after a little over 2 hours. However, it is important to remember that fast chargers that use high current require a dedicated supply of power that should be installed by an expert. After you have fully charged your Kia Niro Plug-in, you can drive it for about 26 miles before it runs out of charge and will begin to start using the gas supply. If you work somewhere that has an electric car charger, you can easily just plug it in while you’re at work. Additionally, there are apps you can download on your smartphone that will show you nearby charging station locations.

Note: Your car doesn’t have to be on to charge it and the charger actually locks into the vehicle and is only released with your key nearby.

New or used vehicle

Every car buyer is always faced with the decision of either to buy a new or old vehicle. As the popularity of new electronic vehicles continues to rise, we will likely experience a growth in the used vehicles market. Buying
a new electronic vehicle is pretty much straight forward. However, if you have decided to go for a used electronic vehicle, there are special features you need to consider such as the battery life. Other common things to consider
include mileage, worn out tires, and up to date licensing paperwork.

How to use an electric car

The resale value

This is an important factor to consider. Like most car owners, you might want to sell your car one day so that you can buy a new one. Knowing how to determine the resale value of your electronic car is crucial. Unlike petrol and diesel cars, the resale value of electronic vehicles is somehow complex. Before you buy an electronic vehicle, you should consider the possible depreciation that may impact the resale value. For example, the number of miles you drive your electronic car may reduce its battery life, which may impact its resale value. This is because vehicles require expensive batteries which potential buyers will point out they need to replace.

Pros of owning an electronic vehicle

  • No gas cost (if the car is electric only). The only cost you will incur is electricity bill if you’re charging at home. I’ve been told the cost for charging at home doesn’t come out to be much more than your bill from Christmas lights, but I can’t confirm that.
  • Electronic vehicles don’t damage the environment because they operate on clean energy. Because, yes, we care about the environment!
  • Electronic vehicles have few movable parts, which reduces maintenance costs. (more on that below)
  • Last, but certainly not least – TAX Write-offs! Several states offer various financial incentives to buyers and owners of hybrid and electric vehicles, but the Federal IRS tax credit is for $2,500 to $7,500 per new EV purchased for use in the U.S. (size of the tax credit depends on the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity). You can learn more about these incentives and view those for your state HERE.
  • More Incentives – in addition to the federal and state rebates, incentives include things like special parking areas, insurance discounts, and HOV lane exemptions in certain states (the NJ Turnpike, NY Long Island Expressway and CA highways are included).

Cons of Owning an Electric Vehicle

  • Electronic vehicles have a shorter range compared to petrol cars. As I mentioned, you may only get about 25 mph on an electric charge which generally means you’re charging before or after each trip to work. This is one reason I prefer the PHEV, since once the electric charge runs out, I can rely on gas.
  • Compared to petrol cars which take a few minutes to fuel, electronic cars take hours to recharge.
  • As is the case with the Niro Hybrid and the Niro PHEV, in order to have the efficiency they have, the design structure has to be a little different. I heard this right from the mouth of Kia Niro designer Mike Torpey. So, for example, no lift gate in the trunk in the name of efficiency.

How to use an electric car

There is no doubt that car companies are definitely on to something with the rise of EV’s and truth be told, we can predict that the future of cars belongs to electronic vehicle. Kia Motor Company, for example, has plans to greatly expand their fleet of eco-friendly and electric vehicles by 2020.

That said, driving an electric car is more than just a vehicle choice or an economic decision. It’s about being a part of the EV lifestyle and involves a shift in how we think, act and care for the environment and – in my opinion – an important shift to make.

Have you owned or driven an Electric Vehicle before? Share your experiences in the comments below!

How to use an electric car

People who are thinking about buying an electric car for the first time ever have a lot of questions, which is understandable. One of the most common questions people have is how much electricity an electric car uses.

Saving money at the gas pump is a top motivator for going with a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV). However, if the electricity consumption of a PEV is significant your monthly bill from the utility provider could be noticeably higher. You can calculate an estimate by using your kilowatt-hour rate and determining roughly how much electricity an electric car will use. Here’s how.

Calculating Electric Car Electricity Use

Gas-powered vehicles have the familiar miles per gallon (MPG) measurement. The MPG tells us how far a vehicle will go on a single gallon of gas (or diesel).

Measuring fuel efficiency is a little different for electric vehicles. With PEVs, the distance is measured in kWhs per 100 miles. So, in order to calculate how much electricity a PEV will use on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and the cost you’ll need to know:

The rate you pay per kilowatt-hour

The EVs kWhs per 100 miles rating

Now, let’s break it down with an example. Let’s assume that you pay $0.12 per kilowatt-hour. Your electric car requires 30 kWhs to go 100 miles on a fully charged battery. That would mean it costs $3.60 to charge a depleted battery, which works out to be $0.036 per mile or roughly 1/3 kilowatt-hour per mile (3.3 miles per kWh).

But that’s not the end of the calculation. Now that you know the miles per kilowatt-hour you can determine how much electricity will be used in a month. That depends on how much you drive.

Let’s assume you’re an average driver that drives 13,500 miles a year. That would work out to be approximately 1,125 miles a month. Going that many miles would require 341 kWhs for an EV that gets 3.3 miles per kWh.

In this example, the electric car uses 341 kWhs a month for a total cost of $41 in electricity.

Of course, this is a very straightforward example. In the real world, there are a lot of variables that can affect the electricity usage and rate that is paid.

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Electric Vehicle Electricity Use

How many miles per kilowatt-hour an EV gets is out of the owner’s control, but there are still ways to reduce high usage at home without cutting back on the miles you drive. Below are three simple ways to do just that.

Charge at Public Stations

The easiest way to dramatically reduce electricity consumption at home is by charging up for free when you’re out and about. Right now there are 31,287 electric charging stations across the U.S. and Canada. Before heading out make sure to check and see if you’ll be stopping in an area that has one.

Charge at Night If You Have a Time-of-Use Electric Plan

People that have a time-of-use plan need to be very mindful of when they charge at home. With this type of electricity plan the kWh rate changes throughout the day depending on demand. Generally, rates are lowest between midnight and 6am. Charging during these hours won’t impact how much electricity is used, but it will make a difference on your monthly bill.

Use a Smart AC Level 2 Charging Station at Home

If you’re going to invest in an at-home charging station, AC level 2 charging equipment may be the best option. Level 2 equipment comes with smart features like a charging timer and data collection. These features make it easier to charge up when it’s cheaper and get a better idea of how far you’re driving on a given day.

The Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) is a great resource for anyone who’s considering an electric car. The center has information on calculating EV electricity use, a charging station locator tool and much more.