Buyers Guide & Tips

The electric vehicle/car (EV) is a relatively new concept in the automotive industry. Although more and more companies have now based their entire model of cars around being proactively using electricity, it isn’t uncommon to find those that offer hybrid vehicles which work off both electricity and petrol. There are some that also use hydrogen as a power-source such as the award-winning Toyota Mirai.  

An electric car such as the Tesla Model S Plaid (in the title graphic), is a great way for you to not only save money but also help contribute towards a healthy and stable environment. Cars produce a lot of carbon emissions that are ejected into our natural atmosphere, leaving us vulnerable to things like pollution and greenhouse gases. In order to positively help the environment we live in, an electric car is a great step forward.  

Buying an electric car also enables you to receive government subsidies for being environmentally conscious. Although you may end up paying more for your vehicle, the positives greatly overshadow the negatives. These are the two sides to consider during the purchase of an electric vehicle. 

EVs get their power from rechargeable batteries installed inside the car. These batteries are not only used to power the car but also used for the functioning of other parts of the car. Electric cars have more batteries than regular petrol/diesel engine cars. It’s the same kind of batteries that are commonly used when starting up an engine. The only difference comes in the fact that in electric vehicles, they have more of them which are used in powering up the entire vehicle. 

Advantages of an Electric Car 

An electric car can be a great way for you as a consumer to save a lot of money on fuel. However, there are so many different reasons why you should invest in an electric car in this modern-day age of technology. And with that, let’s take a look at some of them: 

1. No fuel required 

Electric cars are entirely charged by the electricity you provide, meaning you don’t need to buy any fuel ever again! Driving fuel-based cars can burn a hole in your pocket as prices of fuel have gone up to an all-time high (it’s even more painful for us that have crude oil, yet – paying through the nose for refined petroleum products). 

An average car owner pays quite a lot to drive a fuel-powered vehicle, whereas many electric cars run on lesser amounts when all costs are factored in as electricity is largely less expensive than petrol. And if most people charge their cars in the garage installing a few solar panels, that price can get cut even further, offering savings on powering your entire home as well.  

With electric cars, this cost of petrol each year can be avoided. 

2. More convenient 

An electric vehicle is easy to recharge, and the best part is you will no longer need to run to the fuel station to recharge your car before hitting the road! Even a normal household socket could be used for charging an electric car. 

3. Savings 

These cars can be fuelled for very low prices, and many new cars will offer great incentives for you to get money back from the government for going green. Electric cars can also be a great way to save money in your own life. 

4. No emissions 

The biggest advantage of an electric vehicle is its green credential. Electric cars are eco-friendly as they run on electrically powered engines. They do not emit toxic gases or smoke into the environment as it runs on a clean energy source. They are even better than hybrid cars as hybrids running partly on fuel produce emissions. You’ll be contributing to a healthy and green climate. 

5. Popularity 

EVs are growing in popularity. It is nearly three times as efficient as a car with an internal combustion engine, therefore – owning one offers a lot more ‘efficiency”. With popularity comes all new types of cars being put on the market that are unique, providing you with a wealth of choices moving forward. 

6. Safe to drive 

Electric cars undergo the same fitness and procedures test as other fuel-powered cars. An electric car is safer to use, given their lower centre of gravity, which makes them much more stable on the road in case of a collision. 

In case an accident occurs, one can expect airbags to open up, and electricity supply cut from the battery.  

This can protect you and other passengers in the car from serious injuries. They are even less likely to explode in the absence of any combustible fuel or gas. Albeit we’ll need a different method to put out fires from EVs due to cell arrangement as it can still get hot, leading to another fire erupting days later as experienced with the few EVs that have been involved in crashes. Worthy of note. 

7. Cost-effective 

Earlier, owning an electric car would cost a bomb. But with more technological advancements, both cost and maintenance have gone down. 

The mass production of batteries and available tax incentives further brought down the cost, thus, making it much more cost-effective to purchase and own one. 

8. Low maintenance 

Electric cars run on electrically powered engines, hence, there is no need to lubricate the engines, anything related to the combustion engine requires a ton of maintenance tasks that are usually associated with a petrol- or diesel-powered engine. 

Other expensive engine work is a thing of the past when dealing with EVs. Therefore, the maintenance cost of these cars have come down substantially. You don’t need to send it to the service station as often as you do for a standard fuel-powered car. 

9. Reduced noise pollution 

Electric cars put a curb on noise pollution as they are much quieter. Electric motors are capable of providing a smooth drive with higher acceleration over longer distances. But as with all things in life, every solution creates more problems. The “lack” of noise has created its own special problem since pedestrians (who are now more distracted than they’ve ever been in history thanks to mobile phones and headsets) crossing can’t hear an oncoming EV leading the governments in these countries to enact new laws that require EVs to play sounds as they drive. Funny, isn’t it? 

10. Battery life and cost 

Batteries are an integral part of an electric vehicle. Most electric vehicle batteries are made up of lithium, and their costs are improving every year. 

The full capacity of a lithium-ion battery cell should be good for 300 to 500 cycles. A good battery could last you up to ten years. And with improving technologies, the cost of these batteries is expected to come down even further. 

11. Easy driving 

In the world of automobiles, electric cars have the simplest driving method. Commercial electric cars come with a transmission comprising of only one really long gear, and also don’t suffer from the stalling problem as petrol cars do. 

This effectively eliminates the need to add a clutch mechanism to prevent that from happening. Therefore, you can operate an electric car with just the accelerator pedal, brake pedal and steering wheel. 

Another really useful feature is regenerative braking. In normal cars, the braking process is a total wastage of kinetic energy that gets released as frictional heat. However, in an electric vehicle, the same energy can be used to charge the batteries. 

Considering the demand for oil will only be going up as the supplies run out, an electric car will most likely be the normal mode of transportation in the coming future. Companies like Tesla, Nissan and Hyundai offer great electric models with an outstanding number of benefits for people who decide to invest in them. You’ll be saving not only yourself but also your family a huge amount of money.  

The environmental impact of an electric car is zero, meaning you’re reducing your carbon footprint and positively affecting the environment. 

Although evidence of the positives have become very clear, there are also some downsides that each individual needs to consider before they decide to make an electric car their next big investment. 

Disadvantages of an Electric Car include: 

1. Recharge points 

Electric recharging stations are still in the developmental stage. Not a lot of places you go to on a daily basis will have recharge stations for your vehicle, meaning that if you’re on a long trip or decide to visit family in a rural or suburban area and run out of charge, it may be harder to find a charging station. You might become stuck where you are. 

However, until charging stations are more widespread, be sure to have a charging station installed where you live and where you so that you’re assured you’ll be able to charge your EV whenever you need to. 

2. The initial investment is steep 

As EVs are very new, you may be surprised when you take a look at the price for EVs. Even the more affordable brands can be quite expensive as its starting price. And if you’re looking for a luxury option, you’ll definitely be paying even more. Although technology is advancing and the price to produce electric cars continues to drop, you still have to pay slightly more for an EV than for a fuel-powered car. 

3. Electricity isn’t free 

Electric cars can also be a hassle on your energy bill if you’re not considering the options carefully. If you haven’t done your research into the electric car you want to purchase, then you may be making an unwise investment.  We’ve all seen our people online tease the very few owners of Teslas’ in Naija that they’ll still have to turn on their diesel generators when they get home to charge their cars thereby defeating the entire aim of owning an EV. 

Also, electric cars require a huge charge to function properly – which may reflect poorly on your electricity bill each month when you do use the services of an electricity provider. Which is why the best setup for now is to have your own source to derive electricity for charging of your EV(s), and there’s quite a plethora of alternatives that can be explored out there. 

4. Short driving range and speed 

Electric cars are limited by range and speed. Most of these cars have a limited range before they need to be recharged again. You just can’t use them for long journeys as of now, although it is expected to improve in the future. As matter of fact, from various surveys conducted in North America and in Europe – “Range Anxiety” as it has now been termed, is the biggest impediment to owning an EV for prospective buyers. However, as technology keeps on advancing, we’ll be sure to see improvements on all fronts. 

5. Longer recharge time 

While it only takes a couple of minutes to fuel your petrol-powered car, an electric car can take several hours to get fully charged. Therefore, you need dedicated power stations as the time taken to recharge them is quite long. Thus, the time investment and necessary planning puts some people off. 

There are some specialised kits however, that can cut the charging time down. But again, that’s going to be an additional investment. So, consider that too. Also, as stated previously – with improvement in technology, the charging time will inevitably be cut short in future.  

6. Silence as a disadvantage 

Silence can be a bit disadvantage as people like to hear the noise if they are coming from behind them. An electric car is rather silent, and this can lead to accidents in some cases as mentioned before. 

7. Battery replacement 

Depending on the type and usage of battery, batteries of almost all electric cars are required to be changed every 3-10 years and this can be extremely costly when the time comes. As a matter of fact, a man from Finland was told an outrageous amount to change his Tesla batteries and out of anger he opted to purchase some dynamite then proceeded to blow the vehicle up!

8. Not suitable for cities facing shortage of power 

As electric cars need the power to charge up, the cities (we all know of a certain supposedly overpopulated “modern” city at the heart of Western Africa *winks) that are already facing acute power shortages are not suitable for electric cars. And the consumption of more power would greatly hamper their daily power needs. 

9. Lower amount of choices 

The market today for electric cars is expanding, with no signs of slowing down. However, the truth is that there are still fewer options to customise and choose from when it comes to EV as at this moment. 

At the same time, there exists a vast amount of customisation that is already available with traditional cars. This is likely to change over time, but for many people this is going to be a disadvantage. 

10. Minimal amount of pollution 

Electric vehicles are also not 100% emission-free; they cause a little amount of pollution indirectly. The batteries and electricity needed for charging are not necessarily generated from renewable energy sources. Don’t even get me started on the numerous problems the mining of Lithium Ore, Nickel and Cobalt, which are the major components of an EV’s battery – creates on a daily basis especially in countries like Congo where its far-reaching devastating effect is being felt, but little to none of the humongous EV wealth being generated is.  

It is also worth noting that some governments do not provide any form of money saving initiative to encourage you to buy an electric car. And just because there is a variety of factors doesn’t mean they have to be overwhelming. Doing a fair bit of research into different models, and maybe even hybrids will help you make an accurate decision moving forward. Thanks for reading. 

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