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I am not in the market currently, but if I was to purchase an electric car, here are my thoughts:
What’s Your Range?
This is important because some people just do not do well with stress and lack of range could cause said person to spontaneously combust. I recently moved to Midtown Atlanta, Georgia; I work out of Midtown as well. On a quiet day, I probably drive all of 4-6 miles. On the weekends— even if I plan a day full of errands—I am probably not driving more than 60-70 miles.
No Compliance Cars
Compliance cars are a battery-electric vehicleS sold only to keep an automaker in compliance with California’s zero-emission vehicle rules.
As of right now, I would not consider purchasing the following cars:
- Honda Fit EV
- Fiat 500e
- Toyota RAV4
- Ford Focus Electric
- Chevrolet Spark EV
I’m not saying that anything is wrong with the cars above, but they were developed only to meet a state’s regulation. The design, technology and passion that were a part of the car’s creation are not appealing to me.
What Features are Important?
This is not a complicated question, but think about what features in a car are most important to you. Also, think about what you would be willing to sacrifice if budget became an issue.
- Do you need navigation?
- Heated seats?
- A mobile application so that you can monitor your car from halfway around the world?
Electric cars tend to cost more mostly because of batteries and the technology that supports the electric architecture. So, knowing what you can live without may make the final difference in price.
Chevrolet Volt (MSRP $34k): This is an all around solid car. For my needs I would rarely need to purchase gas and I could still drive this out of town if zombies ran us out of Midtown. Chevy put a lot of passion into this car and proved that Chevy could produce something innovative (and tangible). I dig its story and the fact that most of the auto journalists I respect have positive feedback about this car.
Nissan Leaf (MSRP $29k – $35k): This is almost a no-brainer for those who want an all-electric car but cannot afford a Tesla. Nissan has sold a ton of these cars and given federal and state tax credits, purchasing a Leaf is very affordable.
BMW i3 (MSRP $42k – $46k): I am a BMW guy at the core of my soul. I have been driving some form of the BMW inline 6 for the last decade plus. Although the i3 is not a great looker, it drives like a BMW and you are surrounded by all of the creature comforts that make a BMW special. Also, BMW has a loaner program through which you can checkout an X5 for the weekend when you need to drive out of town for those family visits.
Tesla Model S ($70k – $104k): I am really excited for Telsa and I love the Model S. Although it is pricey, it’s the most capable electric car you can purchase. As a tech and car guy, I have enjoyed watching Tesla grow and prove the car industry pundits wrong. The fact that they are constantly improving the car with over the air (OTA) updates and even creating an upgrade package for the out-of-production roadster is a testament to how committed Tesla is to creating wonderful products.
Since Tesla released the Model S with the autopilot feature, I feel like a Model S is worth every penny. If I am not willing to spend all of those pennies, then the BMW i3 would be my next choice.