Even as little as 5 years ago, electric vehicles were an afterthought for most car buyers in the US. Nowadays though, the electric and hybrid market is experiencing growth like never before. Thanks to more accessibility, better pricing, and growing consumer environmental consciousness, electric cars (and SUVs and trucks to boot!) are becoming more popular on the road than ever before. 

If you’re considering making the switch to electric, you might have several questions about what make and model to go with. As with buying any kind of car, there are a variety of factors to think about to help you narrow down your search. In today’s article, we’ll go over some top-level considerations you’ll want to make before you get too deep into your electric vehicle search. But first, why go electric in the first place? 

Why go electric? 

Aside from the obvious environmental factors, switching to an electric car comes with many benefits. Along with putting out lower emissions and pollution, your electric vehicle will be saving you money over time. According to the Department of Energy, driving an electric vehicle costs 50% less than driving a traditional gas-powered vehicle, thanks to lower maintenance costs and not having to pump gas. 

Plus, depending on what state you live in, you may be eligible for certain incentives. For example, residents of California who own an electric car qualify for up to 7k in rebates thanks to the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. Other states offer similar tax credits and discounted registration fees for eligible vehicles. 

Factors to consider: 

So you’ve decided that going electric is the right move for you – great! Now comes the tricky part. Unlike gas and diesel-powered vehicles, picking out the right electric car for you and your family can require a little more thought. Below, we’ll provide an overview of some of the top considerations you should be thinking about when searching for the right electric vehicle. 

Where you live

Unlike cars that run on gas or diesel engines, most electric cars (other than fuel cell cars) require being plugged in to recharge. If you happen to live in an area with plenty of charging stations, you’ll be more free to pick whatever electric vehicle you like. However, if you live in a more rural area, or in an area with less access to public charging stations, you’ll want to invest in a car with a longer driving range – or potentially think about an electric car that runs on fuel cells. 

Currently, some of the best electric options with the longest ranges include the Chevrolet Bolt EV (259 miles), the Audi E-Tron (204 miles), and the Hyundai Kona Electric (258 miles). 

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Krásný večer! Jsem moc ráda, že mám díky spolupráci s @hyundaicz tu možnost vyzkoušet na ROK jejich novou Kona Electric! 😍Auto je můj hlavní pomocník a využívám ho opravdu každý den, ať už kvůli rychlému přesunu na schůzky, výletům nebo při pomoci s natáčením🥰 Kona Electric je, jak už asi podle názvu poznáte, elektromobil, a je super, že budu moci dál fungovat jako dřív, ale šetrněji vůči životnímu prostředí☺️🌱 Ve stories máte nějaké videjka z dnešního předávání a už se těším, až vám postupně auto víc ukážu! Do komentářů mi můžete zatím psát nápady na jméno – zatím by to byla zase Beruška, ale třeba vymyslíte něco lepšího😅🐞 #konaelectric #spoluprace

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Your climate

If you’re looking at an electric vehicle, it’s important to note that certain climates are more suited to their performance than others. For example, extremely cold weather can negatively affect an EV’s range due to increased strain on the battery. On the flip side, very hot climates can also reduce range. The more you run the AC, the more power is being used. 

Your lifestyle

As of now, a lot of the electric vehicles on the market are cars, and don’t offer exceptional seating arrangements. If you have a larger family and require 5 or more seats, you’ll have a tougher time finding options. 

If you are on the lookout for electric vehicles with seating fit for a big family, check out these rides:

  • Volvo XC90 (a plug-in hybrid)
  • Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
  • Any make within the Tesla Model X range 

Your budget 

Last but not least, you’ll want to consider your overall budget before you start your electric car search. You may be eligible for a federal rebate, though most electric offerings are still on the more expensive side. (Note: that is quickly changing). 

You might be sacrificing range for a better-looking price tag. If you live in an area with plenty of accessible charging stations, a cheaper model might do. We recommend checking out the Nissan Leaf, the Hyundai Kona, and the upcoming Mini Cooper SE. 

Knowing how to choose the right electric vehicle is a multifaceted affair. In my opinion, it’s worth the digging.

Claire Biggerstaff
Claire Biggerstaff is a freelance writer and photographer from Charlotte, NC. Her curiosity leads her to write about a wide variety of topics. On her off days, she enjoys reading Polygon articles, and curling up to a good YouTube playlist.

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    1. great article everything is electric soon !

    2. I would have never thought of the climate affecting range. I’d have to do more research into that aspect since in South Florida it is often pretty hot and the A/C is on almost year-round. My immediate thoughts and questions emerged contemplating if having an EV would be worth it and still have the benefits. I will remember to look into that statement a bit more five years from now when I am car shopping.

    3. I plan on getting a hybrid or all electric vehicle in the near future. Is it too much to ask for a diesel generator equipped all electric powertrain vehicle. Make it chargeable with ability to extend range with a small diesel or propane generator too.

    4. I wonder how other environmental concerns, aside for temperature, can have an effect on the performance of an electric vehicle?

    5. Cool article. The climate aspect is interesting as I live in Florida and its very hot most of the time.

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