With gas prices at all-time highs and an ever-expanding lineup of electric cars entering the market, you might be considering going electric for your next vehicle purchase. From available incentives to equipping your home with a home charger, there is a lot to know about the electric car buying process. Luckily we have all the information you should know before heading to the dealership.
Types of Electric VehiclesBefore buying an electric car it’s important to understand the types of electric car options you have before deciding which is best for you. Electric vehicles are classified into four main categories.
All-Electric VehiclesAll-electric vehicles, also known as battery electric vehicles (BEVs), have a battery that is charged by plugging into a charging device. BEVs have one, all-electric driving mode, and have driving ranges from 100 to 520 miles. Examples of all- electric vehicles include all Tesla vehicles, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, and the Nissan LEAF.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric VehiclesPlug-in hybrids, also known as PHEVs, include both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. PHEVs can operate in all-electric mode, but can also function as a gas-powered car when the battery is depleted. PHEVs have smaller electric ranges than their all-electric counterparts, and can typically travel up to 40 miles on electricity alone before switching to gasoline. PHEVs are ideal for drivers who have short commutes because they limit gas station fill-ups by not exceeding the vehicle’s electric range. Examples of plug-in hybrids include the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the Toyota Prius Prime and the Hyundai Tucson PHEV .
Hybrid Electric VehiclesHybrid electric vehicles, known as hybrids or HEVs, run on an internal combustion engine and at least one electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. The vehicle runs primarily on gasoline, while the battery is charged through regenerative braking instead of a plug-in charger. The electric motor reduces fuel consumption, particularly at low speeds. The Toyota Prius is an example of a hybrid electric vehicle.
Fuel Cell Electric VehiclesFuel Cell Electric Vehicles, also known as FCEVs, are zero-emission vehicles that use fuel cell technology to power the vehicle. These vehicles are powered by electricity rather than an EV battery and have tanks filled with hydrogen instead of gasoline. FCEVs are primarily found in California, which is the only state that has a network of hydrogen refueling stations. The car’s motor is powered by electricity that is generated through the combination of hydrogen and oxygen. An example of a fuel cell electric vehicle is the Toyota Mirai and the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.
Electric Vehicle Tax Credits and IncentivesMost EV buyers are familiar with the electric vehicle tax credit available to new car buyers from the the federal government. The “Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit”, which was instituted over a decade ago, created a tax credit amount between $2,500 and $7,500 based on a specific qualifying vehicle’s battery capacity. PHEVs qualified for the smaller credit, while all-electrics with long ranges qualified for the larger credit. There was a 200,000-unit limit to how many zero-emissions electric cars a single manufacturer could sell before the credit would phase out and eventually be eliminated. Two automakers, General Motors and Tesla, had already hit this limit in recent years, which meant that buyers of EVs from this manufacturer were no longer eligible.
However, the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has changed the existing rules for the federal tax credit. Notable changes include the removal of the 200,000 limit, extending the up-to-$7,500 credit through 2032, and the addition of a new set of eligibility requirements based on the final assembly location of the vehicle and its battery components to encourage production of BEVs and battery components in North America. New vehicle pricing and adjusted gross income requirements have also been enacted. Another significant change is that used electric vehicles are eligible too. A tax credit on used vehicles, worth either $4,000 or 30% of the used EV’s sales price (whichever is lower) will be available on used models costing less than $25,000.
Refer to our handy guide for more information on new EV tax credits including eligible vehicles.
Average New Car Price for EVsRanked from the lowest price to highest, here is the average new car cost of all the electric vehicles currently for sale in the U.S. market. These average prices reflect the average cost dealers are charging for each model.
|Average Cost of New Electric Vehicles|
|Rank||Electric Vehicle||Average New Car Price|
|1||Chevrolet Bolt EV||$31,214|
|2||Chevrolet Bolt EUV||$35,312|
|5||Hyundai Kona EV||$40,341|
|6||Kia Niro EV||$45,033|
|8||Tesla Model 3||$52,640|
|9||Hyundai IONIQ 5||$53,467|
|12||Mercedes Benz EQB||$61,611|
|14||Audi Q4 E-Tron||$62,008|
|15||Ford Mustang Mach-E||$62,219|
|16||Audi Q4 E-Tron Sportback||$65,099|
|18||Tesla Model Y||$68,060|
|22||Ford F-150 Lightning||$83,134|
|23||Audi E-Tron Sportback||$85,222|
|24||Audi E-Tron S||$94,517|
|26||Audi E-Tron GT||$107,577|
|27||Tesla Model S||$118,494|
|28||Mercedes-Benz EQS (Sedan)||$124,024|
|29||Tesla Model X||$125,264|
|30||Mercedes-Benz EQS (SUV)||$125,529|
|31||GMC Hummer EV||$126,239|
Average Price of Used Electric CarsFor buyers looking for electric cars at a lower price point, here are the average prices for 1-3- year-old used electric cars.
|Average Cost of Used Electric Vehicles|
|Rank||Electric Vehicle||Average Used Car Price|
|1||Hyundai Ioniq Electric||$30,903|
|2||Chevrolet Bolt EV||$31,571|
|4||Mazda MX-30 EV||$36,532|
|6||Chevrolet Bolt EUV||$38,334|
|7||Hyundai Kona EV||$38,594|
|9||Kia Niro EV||$41,859|
|11||Tesla Model 3||$54,897|
|12||Hyundai Ioniq 5||$55,194|
|17||Ford Mustang Mach-E||$62,012|
|20||Tesla Model Y||$67,319|
|22||Audi e-tron Sportback||$72,245|
|24||Audi E-Tron GT||$107,149|
|25||Tesla Model S||$107,608|
|26||Ford F-150 Lightning||$108,075|
|29||Tesla Model X||$115,132|
|34||Audi RS e-tron Gt||$159,603|
|34||GMC Hummer EV||$195,698|
Home Electric Vehicle Charger InstallationAnother important aspect to consider when buying an electric vehicle is how you are going to charge your vehicle. Although public charging infrastructure is improving, the vast majority of vehicle charging is done at home. While people who have chargers at their workplace or in the garage of a multi-unit building might not need a home charger, home charging equipment is necessary for most EV owners. Here are the three levels of EV charging:
Level 1 Charging:Most EVs come with standard Level 1 charging cables that allow for charging from a standard 120-volt outlet. However, these chargers only provide three to five miles of range per hour of charging. To put this charging rate into perspective, it would take 20-40 hours to charge a Tesla Model S, depending on its battery capacity, range and state of charge. A Hyundai IONIQ 5 would take up to 43 hours to charge a depleted battery pack. Level 1 charging equipment can work for plug-in EV owners, but if you want to maximize your vehicle’s all-electric range, it’s not very efficient.
Level 2 Charging:The more common and more practical home charging solution is the Level 2, 240-volt charger, which can provide between 12 and 60 miles of range per hour. Level 2 charging is what’s found in most public charging stations and can also be installed in most homes by a professional electrician using either a 40 or 50-amp circuit, similar to electric home dryers.
A Chevrolet Bolt with 259 miles of range will take about 9.5 hours to charge from zero to 100 percent full on a level 2 home charging system.
Installation can cost between $500 and $2,000. There are local tax incentives and rebates that can help offset this cost, so be sure to research the home charger incentives that exist in your area.
Level 3: DC Fast ChargingLevel 3 chargers, also known as DC fast charging or DCFC chargers, provide the quickest way to charge your vehicle. However, DC fast charging stations are mainly available as public charging stations because they are too powerful and expensive to install in most homes. These charging devices use direct current (DC) energy and require special plugs to connect. Most modern EVs, like the 2022 Nissan LEAF now have standard quick charge ports that enable fast charging. However, many older electric cars may not support fast chargers, which is important to keep in mind if you are looking for a used electric vehicle.
With more and more new electric vehicles to choose from, including sports cars and even pickup trucks, electric car ownership is growing at a rapid pace. And with new incentives, increased battery range to help quell range anxiety, and the value proposition of never having to fill up at a gas station, electric car ownership is a smart choice for many consumers. Whether you want a full electric car, or a plug-in hybrid to help ease the transition, there are a number of quality new and used electric vehicles to choose from.
More from iSeeCars:
- Gas Vs. Electric Cars: Which is the Smarter Buy?
- 25 Best Electric Cars
- Electric Cars with the Longest Range