BUYER’S GUIDE: Tips for Buying an Electric Car

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Chevy Volt

The time has come to purchase your next car and you’ve decided to go electric. It’s an appealing choice with plenty of benefits, but there are big differences between your old gas guzzler and your fancy new electric.

There’s a lot to figure out from which car to buy and where to buy it to how you’re going to keep it charged. Don’t let the process overwhelm you. Follow these tips for buying an electric vehicle and you’ll have a new car parked in your driveway in no time.

Shop Around

This might seem obvious, but not everyone thinks to shop around for electric cars. Your options are far fewer than with a gas vehicle, but the choices increase every passing year. Check out the available models and give them a test drive.


Once you’ve narrowed things down, check with several dealerships to find the best deal. You can haggle over the price of an electric the same way you haggled over the price of your last car. Don’t think you have to pay sticker on an electric.

Check Financial Incentives

One area that is much more complicated when you buy an electric or even a hybrid is incentives. There are the usual incentives offered by dealerships like discounts, rebates, and financing deals, but there are also government incentives on select fuel efficient cars.

What you need to figure out is which incentives are available on the car you’re thinking of buying. There is no one incentive that covers a single model, which is why it is confusing for buyers.

It all depends on where you live. Inquire about city, state, and federal incentives before you buy. Also, make sure those incentives are still valid.

What is available today might not still be available in a few months or even a few weeks. The incentives offered on a given model can change enough to turn the vehicle you think is perfect into one that’s simply too expensive.

It’s worth figuring out the available incentives early in the shopping process. It might save you thousands of dollars to go with a different model and give you a good reason to put certain models at the top of your list.

Searching for an Electric Vehicle? Check out BestRide’s listing search here.

Check Non-Cash Incentives

We all look at the bottom line when we walk into the dealership, but there’s more to buying a car than getting a good price. With electrics, there are incentives that aren’t going to put money in your pocket but add plenty of value to your car.

Like cash incentives, these vary depending on where you live and come in different forms. Some areas give electric vehicle owner special parking privileges at crowded locations like malls or sporting arenas.

Others offer access to carpool lanes even if there’s only one person in the vehicle. This could save you countless hours stuck in traffic. Check with your local government agencies to find out what special perks are available for electric car buyers in your area.

Make sure you ask if they’re model specific. You don’t want to buy a car thinking the carpool lane is all yours only to find out you didn’t buy quite the right car.

Nissan Leaf

Install a Home Charger

One of the perks of owning an electric vehicle is not having to stop at the gas station. The drawback is having to charge it every night so that it’s ready to go when you’re ready to go the next day.

You can plug-in and charge through a traditional outlet, but it’s going to take quite awhile. Plugging in at night into a good old-fashioned three-pronged outlet could have you waiting as much as 20 hours for a full charge.

There are EV charging stations at busy areas like malls, airports, and office parks, but they aren’t as prevalent as gas stations and you can’t rely on them exclusively. They’re shared facilities, which means you could show up and find every EV charger in use for an indefinite amount of time.

Install a Level 2 240-volt EV charger at home so you can fully charge your vehicle quickly and reliably. Make sure you figure the cost of buying one into your budget. They can run as much as $600 for the most durable models.

The more you spend, the more options you’ll get on the unit. Check for features like portability, connectivity, and timed charging. The more features you get the more it’ll cost you, so don’t get carried away.

Also, make sure you install it in the right location. The cable needs to be able to run from the wall to wherever you park your car. Make sure the location is as close as possible to where your park or be ready to pay for a longer cable or an electrician who can run some conduit to make the location close enough to plug-in easily.

Check the Range

Range anxiety is that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that you aren’t going to make it to the next gas station now that the little light has gone off on your fuel gauge. Yes, range anxiety exists even when you drive a gas-powered vehicle, it’s just not as frequent.

Since there are gas stations everywhere, it’s easy to fuel your car in the middle of a trip to make sure you don’t run dry. This is especially important if you’re heading into unfamiliar territory or rural areas where gas stations aren’t as easy to find.

Driving an electric vehicle poses an even bigger problem since there are far fewer places to charge, and when you do find a charger, even the speediest versions will interrupt a trip by hours rather than minutes. Heading out into the middle of nowhere without knowing where the nearest charging station is could spell trouble.

Range anxiety is something every electric vehicle owner faces. The best way to avoid that sinking feeling is to make sure you buy a car with a range that will easily handle your daily travels.

You’re not going to find an electric that will take you all the way across the country on one charge, but you can’t do that with a gas vehicle either. Check the range on the electric vehicle you’re considering and make sure it handles the distance you drive in an average day.

Keep in mind, extreme temperatures have a negative effect on driving range as do aggressive driving habits. Take it easy behind the wheel and be ready to charge more often when the weather is unusually hot or cold.

Ready to give up hydrocarbons for electrons? Check out BestRide’s listing of Electric Vehicles here.


It’s nerve-wracking buying a new car no matter how it’s powered. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the idea of moving toward an electric vehicle. Do extra research until you’re comfortable with your choices and confident about which vehicle will work for your needs.

Electric vehicles are gaining in popularity because they offer an alternative that saves money on fuel and helps the environment. Spend a little extra time figuring out what you want and understanding the benefits of EV ownership and you’ll find the perfect electric vehicle to call your own.

Electric Vehicles Available Today

More and more electric vehicles come on the market every passing year. To round out our Electric Vehicle Buyer’s Guide, here’s a guide to all available EVs by manufacturer:

Search for BMW EVs

Search for Chevrolet EVs

Search for Fiat EVs

Search for Ford EVs

Search for Honda EVs

Search for Kia EVs

Search for Mercedes-Benz EVs

Search for Mitsubishi EVs

Search for Nissan EVs

Search for Smart EVs

Search for Tesla EVs

Search for Th!nk EVs

Search for Toyota EVs

Search for Volkswagen EVs