Electric Cars: What to Know Before Getting Behind the Wheel

Electric cars are everywhere now, with more and more people making the switch to an EV from their old internal combustion engine runabouts. But what is it like to own one and what should you know before you get behind the wheel? Here is a quick guide to help.

There Are No Gears

Though some manufacturers have experimented with adding gearing to electric cars, the typical EV has no gears; just backwards and forwards. This can take some getting used to, especially if you are used to driving a manual transmission vehicle. You will see the benefits very quickly, however.

The first advantage is that you do not have to change gears at all unless you are parking or need to reverse. This lets you concentrate on the road more. Having only one forward gear means that there is no drop in the rate of acceleration either, which is one of the reasons EVs have a reputation for being quick off the mark.

Range Anxiety Is Mostly in the Mind

In the very early days of EVs, range anxiety was a very real thing. Not only were the battery packs small and could only hold 30 or 40 miles of charge, but there was also little to no charging infrastructure. Now, the average electric car battery can keep going for over 150 to 200 miles on a full charge and there are ever-expanding networks of charging stations.

Going on a cross-country drive is no longer a stressful experience that requires hours of planning and taking a route that goes miles out of your way to find a charger. Most service stations on motorways now have dozens of EV chargers in their car parks and with a full charge, you can do nearly a full day of driving.

There Are Many Routes to an EV

Getting behind the wheel of an EV used to be its very own adventure. There were few suppliers and manufacturers and when you could find one, supply was limited and waiting lists were long. Though you still may have to wait a while if you order a new EV, it will not take a year or more like it used to. There are plenty of options now as well, with most major manufacturers offering at least one EV in their range.

You no longer have to buy either. Leasing EVs is a popular way to join the electric revolution. Check out this online leasing resource that can help you find a car, home charger, and insurance all in one. It is now easier than ever before to start driving an electric vehicle and get yourself set up for home charging. The second-hand market needs to catch up, with few EVs available. This is a part of the EV success story, however.

The Acceleration Can Be Alarming at First

No internal combustion powered car can compete with an EV for acceleration, especially from a standing start. When you have been waiting at the lights and you finally get to put your foot down, the sudden acceleration can come as quite a shock, and takes some getting used to. You do not have to wait for revs or for fuel to be pumped into a cylinder; once you press go, you go.

Very quickly this becomes a new EV driver’s favourite ‘feature’ of their new car. The force you feel in the cabin can pin you to your seat in a similar way to a roller coaster ride at a theme park. It does use up a bit of extra power, so consider accelerating gently away from a standstill when you are driving. You may overdo things and see a sudden drop in your range. Losing a few miles can be a small price to pay for this amount of fun though, just make sure you have a clear view ahead of you.

They Pay for Themselves Over Time

The biggest benefit of owning an EV is the amount of money you save on maintenance and fuel. Though they may cost a little more to purchase, and a tiny bit more to lease, the savings they give you make the investment worthwhile very quickly. Fuel costs are the biggest immediate bonus. Prices at the pump are constantly increasing but filling up from a home charger costs pennies.

Many people do not think about the benefits of the lower maintenance costs of driving an EV, but they can save you quite a lot of money. No oil to change, or filters, is a big regular cost reduction. Tyres represent the biggest saving. EVs recover energy from the wheels as you brake, reducing tyre and brake wear. This can add up to some huge savings over the life of the vehicle, reducing the amount you spend on tyres by more than half.

With all the advantages they have over internal combustion engine vehicles, it is easy to see why so many people are switching to EVs. Have a look at your options next time you are shopping for a new car.