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Is an Electric Car Right for You?

  • 12/16/2013 4:51:37 PM
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From the sleek luxury Tesla models to the modest Nissan Leaf, electric cars have generated a lot of attention and publicity. But are they right for you?
Here are some points to consider as you mull over driving electric.

Unfamiliar technology
Many midsize sedan drivers may be intimidated by the new technology. And while suburbanites can install home chargers in their garages that will recharge the batteries overnight, this will not be practical for many urban dwellers in high-rise buildings.

Limited range
The Nissan Leaf can go just under 80 miles before a recharge, and many would-be buyers have “range anxiety” about whether they can get to the next charging station before their battery runs out. The Tesla Model S has upped that to 265 miles, but still would be a problem for a long road trip. (As a plug-in hybrid the Chevy Volt can average about 40 miles on the battery and then another 340 miles before needing gasoline).

Slow charging
Home charging takes overnight, but now companies are installing faster chargers that can go from fully depleted to 80% charged in 30 minutes. But you still have to go to the special sites. Nissan is installing such sites in some dealerships, and Tesla is building fast-charging stations starting between San Francisco and Los Angeles and on the East Coast between Washington, D.C. and Boston. Public fast-charging stations also are being built, and there are about 13,000 of them in the U.S.

Tax incentives
In addition to the $7,500 federal tax credit available on most electric cars, many states have tax credits or other incentives. In addition, some states such as California allow electric vehicles to use the faster high-occupancy lanes even with only the driver in the car. That can be a big issue for daily commuters.

Local electricity costs
Electric rates vary greatly by state. States such as Washington with inexpensive hydroelectric power average 6.58 cents per kilowatt hour, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Washington, D.C. In Connecticut, with some oil-fired plants, the cost is more than double at 16.35 cents.
See your Truity Credit Union loan officer to talk about your financing options for any new car.
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