4 Issues That Make Electric Cars Hard to Buy

by AJ Pettersen · 6 comments

With the high price of gas and heightened care for the environment, electric cars seem to fit a perfect niche in the automobile industry. They offer great efficiency and a clean source of energy, but do their benefits outweigh their uncertainties?

From a financial standpoint these cars can save you in the long run. The government currently offers a tax credit up to $7,500 for buying an electric car and they cost nearly $1000 less per year in energy than comparable gas powered cars. Your car will start saving you money within just a few years, but still, other factors may deter you from buying one.

Do You Want to Be a Guinea Pig?


New technology should always be looked at through a magnifying glass. Taking care of the environment and finding ways to save on transportation seems like a win-win for you, but is it too good to be true? Technology is constantly evolving, and things are always getting better. Problems are found and fixed constantly. This may be the case with electric cars. As they become more popular, they will begin to evolve and improve. Do you want to buy in the beginning stages?

Where to Charge?

You may take for granted how readily available gas is. With electric cars it isn’t the same story. With well over 100,000 gas stations available throughout the US and only 734 public electric charging stations available, these new cars certainly can’t add convenience to their list of advantages. Bottom line is that you may be stuck charging them in your garage. How long will charging them take? While spending less than 5 minutes at a gas station usually has you back on the road, electric cars take hours to charge. Out of battery and need to get somewhere soon? You are out of luck.

Batteries Lose Charge

If you have a lithium ion battery in your laptop, you know how frustrating it can be after a few years. A battery that once had your laptop free of external power for hours now tells you it has a 98% charge before quickly dropping to 20% and asking you to find a plug. Electric car batteries are also lithium ion. So if your car starts out offering a range of 100 or more miles, don’t expect that range to stick forever. Don’t expect your warranty to cover you either, as they are only valid for “abnormal” loss of range.

Frigid Temperatures

Electric cars have recently been having problems withstanding cold temperatures. The efficiency of batteries has been dropping as the temperatures do the same. Using the heater in the car can compound this issue even further. You may be able to make it to work and back in the summer, but your car may start having issues in the winter.

To Buy or Not to Buy

Electric cars have undoubtedly opened a door that will have a very positive effect on our environment. The issues they are currently having are troublesome for potential buyers. Unless you are ready to deal with the problems that have been presented, you would be better off waiting for resolutions.

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  • There are many factors to consider, financially and otherwise. We offer a free tool to help people determine whether an electric car is right for them: http://www.befrugal.com/tools/electric-car-calculator/

  • Jordan says:

    I’ve been looking into Electric motorcycles this morning. It seems to be one of the few areas where you aren’t going to pay a huge premium for the green alternative. I realize motorcycles in general are going to appeal to a limited crowd, but these are VERY attractive: http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/zero-s/specs.php

  • Julia says:

    Your points are valid. My husband and I bought a Ford Escape Hybrid in 1996. Did we pay a premium? Yes. Will we see a payback eventually? Probably (we keep our cars forever, but the fuel-cell battery is not guaranteed forever). Would I do it again? Maybe. My husband is very gung-ho about voting with our dollars to support manufacturers who are creating green alternatives. The Hybrid is a nice compromise, because it does use fuel-cell power, but also gas. We live in an area that can get very cold in the winter, and I don’t think the fuel-cell works at all when the temps are firmly below freezing. Our gas milage at those times matches the standard Ford Escape’s milage. All in all, we’ve had no problems. My husband would like an all-electric car next. I don’t see a problem with charging in our garage at night. Most of our trips are within a short radius. However, I don’t like the idea of being down to one car in the winter.

  • Jean says:

    Yea, I have decided to wait for a few more years before even considering an electric vehicle. The technology, although promising, has a ways to go still and iron out many of the issues that you mentioned.

    -Jean

    • AJ says:

      Jean,

      I totally agree.

      • Kaleigh says:

        I 100% agree with this… And not just for electric cars! Anything that’s new and, especially, expensive, I found it valuable to wait until there have been reviews, modifications and lots of debugging before buying to the latest techno-gadgets!

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