Electric vehicles are better for the air we breath, and they're more efficient over their lives than equivalent gas vehicles, emitting fewer greenhouse gases even when powered by sources that aren't very clean. That's not to say EVs are perfect - there is still work to be done to make EV manufacturing more efficient, to improve the supply chain, reduce dependency on hard-to-source materials and to better recycle batteries. There are many bright minds working on these issues, but the bottom line is that right now, EVs are not only the better choice for the environment but the EV that you buy today will get even better for the environment as you own it, thanks to improvements to the power grid that gives it energy.
There is a lot of misinformation out there, so if you're interested in this topic we'll go more in-depth and list our sources in Lesson 6: Myths and Misconceptions.
Since pure EVs don’t have an engine, interior dimensions can expand and allow more room for occupants. The same can be said for storage, where EVs often offer more cargo space than their internal combustion counterparts - many including a "frunk", or a trunk in the front where the engine would normally be.
While this certainly varies by model, EVs have a few inherent characteristics that give them an advantage when it comes to safety, relative to their gasoline cousins. The first is simply not having an engine between you and whatever you might collide with, allowing the car to better distribute energy in a collision. Second, with heavy batteries mounted in the floor, EVs have a very low center of gravity, making them less likely to experience a roll-over. Always pay attention to safety scores when buying a vehicle, but we think you’ll find most EVs rank among the highest in their vehicle classes.
EVs have a few characteristics that make them handle surprisingly well. With most of their weight coming from batteries mounted in the floor, these cars typically have a lower center of gravity, and a center-balanced weight distribution - two characteristics that sports cars utilize for their great handling. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword however, since those batteries are pretty heavy and extra weight can work against handling if you’re really pushing it. At legal speeds, EVs feel very composed on the road.
EVs need much less maintenance over their life than gas cars do. There are no oil changes, no transmission flushes, even the brakes last far longer because Regenerative Braking does not cause wear on your brake pads or rotors. With EVs your typical maintenance includes tires (new tires, rotations, alignments), cabin air filters, windshield wiper blades, and inspections.
Keep in mind, this doesn't include hybrids. Hybrids still have gas engines, and so they still need all of those oil changes and fluid flushes. They do use their gas engines less than a traditional gasoline car, which can be beneficial for longevity.
Over-the-air software updates are a revolutionary feature for cars. They’re not purely an EV feature, but EVs tend to take greater advantage of software in their control systems, meaning more aspects of the car can be updated remotely. This means that with some EVs, you can wake up to new features or performance improvements being downloaded to your car!
It happens more than you think: EV charging stations located in premium locations in otherwise crowded parking lots. Plugging-in to top-up your EV can be a quick way to skip the hunt for parking. However, remember to be a good neighbor. If you don't really need a charge, it's best to keep that plug open for another EV that might really need it. Also never plug-in for longer than it takes your car to reach 100% charge. Not only is this inconsiderate for your fellow EV drivers, you may get charged "idle fees" for remaining plugged in when you've completed charging. More on charging fees and plug etiquette in our lesson All About Charging.
It's happened to all of us. You're running late for that important thing, you hop into your car and it hits you: you forgot to get gas last night. Now you have to detour to that gas station and it's going to make you late. Ask anyone who has driven an EV for a while, and most will agree that eventually the thought of getting gas seems more inconvenient than charging. How can that be when charging takes longer? It's because we get gas so frequently. Of course all of this assumes that you're able to charge your car at home, but if you can, the only times you need to think about stopping for "fuel" are the days where you need to drive more miles than the EV range you car has available (typically, hundreds). For most people, that's an infrequent occurrence and when it does happen, stopping after driving for hundreds of miles might be welcomed anyway. Unlike gas, when you stop to charge you don't need to stand there with the car while fueling. Simply plug it in and then go grab that coffee, use the restroom, check your inbox, etc. By the time you're finished, the car may be also!
The relative silence of EVs make them a very serene driving experience. If equipped with One Pedal Drive, you can also navigate heavy traffic with only occasional taps of the brake pedal, using regenerative braking to bring the car to a complete stop without needing to press the brake. This is an odd sensation at first, but many drivers eventually prefer it as a more-relaxed way to creep along during rush hour.
While not all EVs offer this, it is a feature unique to electric vehicles. The feature is called "Vehicle to Load", or V2L. Vehicle to load allows you to use your car's battery to power external devices. This can be really handy powering lights at a campsite, or power tools at a job site. It can also be an emergency backup in a power outage, if you need to power critical devices in your home. You may have read articles about EV owners keeping their lights on and refrigerators running during bad weather events, thanks to the giant energy storage device sitting in their driveway!