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Electric Car Buying Guide: Things to Consider Before Buying an Electric Car

Team AckoJul 29, 2021

Electric vehicles are the future of mobility, and we all know how it can have a positive impact on our planet. Cleaner emissions means less pollution, and less pollution means a greener environment. So, electric vehicles have a huge role to play, when it comes to eco-friendly transportation. Currently, there are only a handful of electric cars on sale in India. If you are planning to buy an electric car, and looking for an Electric Car Buying Guide, then this article will provide you with all the information related to electric vehicles.

Buying an electric car can be tricky given the complex technical terms of the EVs. There are a ton of factors to consider before buying an eco-friendly car. From the price of the car to the charging infrastructure, every factor impacts your choice. This article will throw light on the points you should consider before buying an electric vehicle.

Electric Car Buying Guide

Things to Consider Before Buying an Electric Car:

Now that you have decided to buy an electric car, the next step is to choose the right EV for your requirement. Several factors impact your decision making. Buying an electric car is not as simple as buying a conventional petrol/diesel car. Below are the points to consider before buying an electric vehicle:

1. Price

Electric vehicles are environment-friendly, but they are not pocket-friendly! Due to the complex electric drivetrain and expensive battery packs, the electric cars are pricey when compared to their conventional counterparts. Even a small electric hatchback car can cost over Rs. 6 lakh. So, you should keep your budget in mind before deciding to buy an electric car.

2. Incentives And Tax Benefits

The incentives and tax benefits offered by the government can reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles. So, make sure to check on the exact percentage of incentive and tax benefits you get, if you purchase an eco-friendly vehicle. The Government of India also offers some benefits such as reduced service tax (GST) that reduces the price of an electric car.

3. Software Updates

Electric vehicles are equipped with complex powertrain and advanced technology, and the manufacturers often improve the electric cars with the latest technology via rolling out software updates. So, make sure that you get regular software upgrades after buying an EV. Some manufacturers offer free regular improvements to the software, while some charge the owners for the updates. So make an informed choice while buying an electric vehicle.

4. Specifications

Electric vehicles come with a wide range of electric motors and battery packs of different capacities. You need to choose an electric car which has the specifications that match your requirements. An underpowered electric vehicle can be irritating to drive. Go through the technical details thoroughly of the electric car before deciding to buy one.

5. Driving Range

The driving range is one of the crucial factors while buying an electric vehicle. Don’t rely on the manufacturer specified driving range figures. Instead, look for real-life reviews to get an idea about the driving range of the EV in real-world conditions. Typically, an electric car should deliver a driving range of over 100km, which is sufficient for daily drives. High-end electric cars even offer a driving range of over 400km.

Also, Read: Know These 6 Benefits of Electric Cars Over Conventional Cars

6. Battery Life

A battery pack is one of the most important components of an electric vehicle. At the same time, the battery is also one of the most expensive parts of the EV. Replacing a battery pack of the electric vehicle can burn a hole in your pocket. So, always check the battery life before investing in an eco-friendly car. The longer the battery life, the lower the maintenance cost.

7. Charging Infrastructure

The charging infrastructure is still in its nascent stage in the country. You cannot find electric vehicle charging stations as frequently as fuel stations, and it is one of the biggest challenges for EV owners. Currently, major metro cities have adequate charging stations, but everywhere else, the situation is not the same. So, do account this fact before deciding to own an electric car in India.

8. Charging Options

An electric car comes with a wide range of charging options such as fast-charging, standard charging and slow charging. Fast-chargers are expensive to install, and you can hardly find a few of them in your city. Standard and slow charging technique is feasible and can also be installed at your home. Some EVs can also be charged from the electric outlet of your residence. So, do check out the charging options on the electric car, before buying one.

9. Maintenance Cost

Maintenance is one of the important aspects of owning an electric car. Without proper maintenance, the EV may not perform efficiently. Normally, electric vehicles are very easy to maintain, as there are less moving parts in an EV. But in case of a breakdown, the repair bills can cost dearly. Also, the spare parts are very expensive when compared to a conventional car. Also, there are only a handful of mechanics available for EVs, and you have to deal with the manufacturer for any service or repair works.

10. Additional Costs

When you own an electric car, there are several additional costs associated with the eco-friendly vehicle. You have to spend an additional amount of money to get a home-charger, charging station installation, maintenance of charging station and public station charging. These expenses can make the ownership experience quite expensive when compared to a conventional vehicle. So, be aware of these additional costs before owning an electric car.

11. Practical Usability

An electric car is not a practical vehicle, especially in a country like India. It all boils down to your requirements. How much distance do you drive in a day, and what is the driving range of the electric vehicle? It makes sense to own an EV if you reside in a metro city, and all you need is a car to commute to your office. For others, an electric car might not be a practical choice. So, do consider this point before deciding to own an EV.

12. Brand and Model

Currently, there are only a handful of electric cars in the Indian market. So, the choice should not be a difficult task. Hyundai (Kona), Mahindra, Tata Motors and MG Motor India retail eco-friendly vehicles in the country. The options are few, but they belong to different price brackets. So, depending on your budget and requirement, you can choose the right brand and model. Apart from the above-mentioned brands, several other automotive manufacturers are planning to launch electric vehicles in India.

13. After-sales Service and Support

Once you purchase an electric vehicle, the ownership experience can be good or bad depending on the after-sales service and support offered by the manufacturer. Nowadays, most of the EV manufacturers offer several years of warranty on battery packs and also install a wall charger at your desired location. The service centres will have trained professionals to service the electric car. So, always opt for a brand which is offering good after-sales support for a good ownership experience.

14. Electric or Hybrid?

If buying an electric vehicle is not practical for you, then you can consider buying a hybrid car. A hybrid car produces fewer emissions than a conventional car. A hybrid car makes use of a combination of internal combustion (IC) engine and electric motor to run efficiently. The electric motors draw power from the battery packs, which are charged by regenerative braking or by the IC engine. Hybrid vehicles are also reliable when compared to fully-electric vehicles.

15. Used Electric Cars

If buying a brand new electric car is out of range, you can consider buying a used one. Since EVs don’t have a lot of moving parts, buying a used electric vehicle can be a good option. But before buying a used EV do check the remaining battery performance/warranty, condition of the electric motors, condition of the tyres, charging options and the mileage of the car.

16. Cost of Car Insurance

The cost of insuring an electric vehicle is on the higher side because EVs are expensive. The higher the value of the vehicle, the higher the cost of insurance. When compared to conventional vehicles, car insurance for electric vehicles is expensive. So, do consider the higher car insurance cost before opting for an electric car.

17. Leasing an Electric Car

Leasing an electric car can be a good option if you do not plan to own the EV for a very long time. Leasing also reduces the overall cost of ownership as you can also purchase maintenance packages for the lease. You will also avoid the hassle of re-selling the car, as you can return the car after the end of the lease tenure. Nowadays, even car manufacturers offer leasing options, so leasing could be a better option than buying an electric car.

Also, read: Why electric cars are expensive to insure

Specs to Consider While Buying an Electric Car:

An electric vehicle is a very complicated machine with advanced technology and complex electric drivetrain. It is crucial to understand the basic functionality of an electric car before buying one. In other words, you should go through an electric car buying guide to understand the fundamentals of an EV. Below are the important specs of an EV, which you should consider before buying an electric vehicle:

1. Type of Electric Vehicle

First, you need to figure out which type of electric car you want to buy. There are mainly four types of electric vehicles: fully-electric, hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric. A hybrid electric vehicle does not require any kind of external charging, and fuel cell vehicles are still in its nascent stage.

2. Driving Range

Driving range of an electric car is nothing but the distance covered by an electric vehicle on a single full charge. The driving range is a crucial factor while buying an EV as the charging infrastructure is still in its developing phase. You might not find as many charging stations as conventional fuel stations, so it is better to buy an electric car with a good driving range.

3. Type of Battery and Capacity

Modern electric vehicles make use of Lithium-Ion battery packs, which are light and efficient in terms of charging and discharging. You have to also consider the capacity of the battery, which impacts the driving range of an EV. The higher the battery capacity, the better the driving range.

4. Charging Specifications

It’s not only the battery capacity which matters, but the time taken for charging the battery is also crucial in an EV. Usually, an EV comes with charging options such as standard charging and fast-charging. Installing a fast-charger is expensive, but it can charge the battery within a few hours. Normal charging stations can be installed at your home, but it will take a lot of time to fully charge the battery.

5. Acceleration of EV

Usually, an electric vehicle is on par with IC engine vehicles when it comes to acceleration. Thanks to the instant torque generated by the electric motors, an EV can accelerate very quickly. The acceleration depends on the number of electric motors and the power generated by the electric motors.

6. Power and Torque

Power of an electric car is the mechanical output provided by the electrical energy, and it is measured in hp. The torque gives you an idea of the acceleration of the EV, and it depends on how powerful the electric motor is. Better torque and power figures make the driving experience enjoyable.

7. Warranty on Battery

A battery pack is one of the most expensive components of an EV. Usually, manufacturers provide warranty on the battery pack in terms of the driving distance or the amount of time. So, always look out for how much warranty is provided for the battery pack.

8. Energy Consumption

You have to consider the amount of electricity consumed by an EV to determine the efficiency of the electric vehicle when compared to a conventional car. The energy consumption also determines the running cost of an electric vehicle. Usually, electric cars have very low running cost when compared to IC engine vehicles.

Is Insurance required for Electric Cars?

The answer to this question is a big Yes! Insuring your electric car is crucial as the value of an EV is very high. Any minor damages to the electric car could attract a handsome repair bill. So, it is best to opt for a comprehensive car insurance policy for your electric vehicle. A comprehensive insurance plan offers third-party and Own Damage coverage. You can buy car insurance online, and you can also compare different insurance plans before making the purchase. Car insurance renewal is also simple as it can be done online without any paperwork.

Conclusion:

Electric cars have a pivotal role to play as far as the future of mobility is concerned. Electric vehicles are eco-friendly, and it is the way to go forward. Buying an electric car can be tricky in the current situation, where the charging infrastructure is in its nascent stage. But if you make an informed choice, by considering all the factors, the experience of owning an electric car will be enjoyable, both for you and the environment!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Choosing an electric car can be a tricky decision if you are not well aware of the fundamentals of an electric vehicle. To make things easier for you, below are some of the most commonly asked questions about electric cars:

What are the things should I know before buying an electric car?

You should know the following things before buying an EV:

>Driving range

>Battery life and warranty

>Fully electric or hybrid

>Charging options

>Charging time

>Maintenance cost

>Charging stations

Is it worth buying an electric car in India?

If you are looking for an electric car for your short daily commutes, then an EV is worth the money as it will reduce your commute costs in the long run. The maintenance cost of an electric car is also less when compared to a conventional car. But EV is not a practical option if you are travelling long-distance, as there is a lack of charging stations across the country.

What factors determine the driving range of an electric car?

The following factors determine the range of an electric car:>Battery capacity>Driving style>Weight of the vehicle>Size of the electric motor

What is the most important component of an electric car?

The battery pack is the most important component of an electric car. It stores electrical energy and powers the electric motors. The battery pack is also the most expensive component of an EV.

How can I enhance the driving range of my electric car?

You can increase the driving range of your electric car by driving smoothly. Avoid sudden acceleration and maximise the regenerative braking while slowing down. You can also avoid the use of AC to enhance the driving range. Lastly, maintaining the tyres in good condition and travelling light can also improve the driving range of your electric car.

Will my electric car loses charge when it’s parked?

No. Under normal conditions, an electric car does not lose charge when it’s parked. Even if the EV is parked for extended periods, the battery will drain by only a few percent, and it will fire up when you need it.

Which is the best value for money electric car in India?

Below are some of the value for money electric cars in India:

>Hyundai Kona

>Mahindra e2O

>Mahindra eVerito

>Tata Tigor EV

>Tata Nexon EV

What happens if my electric car runs out of charge?

If your electric car runs out of charge, it will simply not go any further as electric motors do not get any power from the battery pack. It is not recommended to completely discharge the battery as it may damage the battery cells, and it might affect the driving range in the long run.

Can I charge my electric var via regular household outlet?

Yes, most of the electric vehicles come with a charging cable which is compatible with the regular household outlet. But on the flip-side, charging the electric car through the regular outlet will take a lot of time when compared to a dedicated charging station.

What is the cost of electric car insurance?

The cost of insuring an electric car depends on the value of the electric car insurance plan and add-ons you choose. But given the fact that electric vehicles are expensive, the cost of motor insurance is also on the higher side.

I am planning to buy a used electric car. Is it safe?

Yes, buying a used electric car is safe as there are less moving parts in an EV. But make sure that you check the battery condition and warranty and the mileage before buying a used electric vehicle.

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