5 Reasons NOT to Buy an Electric Car

Brett Circe clearly recalls the last time he filled up his Chevy sedan. “It was the day after New Year’s,” he says on this crisp February morning. “The last time I was at a gas station was January 2nd.”

Circe pats his Chevy Volt on the hood and smiles. “When you buy gas, you send money to the Middle East, which we don’t want to do no matter how much a car costs.”

And the Volt costs a lot. The mid-sized sedan starts at $40,280 ($32,780 after the $7,500 Federal tax credit) – much more than Chevy’s other offerings, including the Impala ($24,390), Malibu ($21,975), and even Camaro ($22,680).

That’s one obvious reason you might want to wait before driving electric, but there are others.

Watch the video below to meet two electric car owners and see their cars – the Chevy Volt and the Tesla Roadster – in action. Then meet me on the other side for more…

Now that you’ve seen some general pros and cons from the video, let’s get specific…

5 Reasons not to drive electric – yet

1. Unavailable at any price

If you want a Volt, get in line. General Motors says there are 10,000 eager buyers ahead of you. Circe ordered his last September and didn’t pick it up till Christmas.

Steven Siegelaub, who paid more than $100,000 for his Tesla Roadster, says he “fell in love” with the electric sports car when he saw it online. “I ordered it the next day, and it took 2 1/2 years to deliver because it was still in prototype,” he recalls.

And the brand-new Nissan LEAF? Nissan says the waiting list is maxed out at 20,000, and “we will not be accepting new reservations until the next phase begins.”

2. Home in the range?

If you don’t like math, driving an electric car can drive you crazy. “You have a certain number of miles to drive, so you have to pay attention,” Siegelaub says. “You really have to calculate where you’re going.”

Staying in the neighborhood helps. “I’m only about five miles from the office,” Circe says, “so the generator doesn’t usually kick in.” If he drives more than 40 miles a day – the limit of the car’s battery pack – the Volt’s gasoline-powered generator will kick in and charge the batteries, giving it an overall range of more than 300 miles. But the Volt’s nine-gallon tank takes only premium gas, so when Circe does fill up, he’s paying more.

Siegelaub doesn’t have to worry about gas, since the Tesla is purely electric: no generator. So if his battery dies, he’s going to have to get towed to the nearest outlet. Range is about 240 miles.

3. Charge it! Slowly…

According to electric car advocate Plug in America, it costs $2 to $4 a day to charge an electric car. (GM’s website says it only costs $1.50 to charge a Volt, but that cost will obviously fluctuate depending on where you live and the time of day you’re charging.) While that’s nothing compared to the price of gas, it will still take years to offset the extra cost of the car. But before you worry about cost savings, worry about time savings.

“The charge is fairly slow,” Tesla owner Siegelaub says. “It takes eight hours.” While some newer vehicles can charge in four hours, that still could potentially put a crimp in any plans you have to just jump in the car and go for a drive. And for cars like the Tesla that don’t offer a gas-powered generator as back-up, traveling cross-country could make for short driving days.

4. Service without a smile

Electric cars are so new, mechanics haven’t had a chance to become electricians. So Circe, who lives in Florida, better not have any problems – because there are no Chevy dealers certified yet to service the Volt, says Marc Cannon, senior vice president of public policy and communication for AutoNation. And if he’s traveling cross-country and breaks down far from a dealer? Forget about it.

Circe isn’t too concerned. “Generally, a new car doesn’t need a lot of service,” he says before pausing and adding, “Generally…”

5. Sticker shock

We started by mentioning price, so let’s end there: The price of electric cars is shocking. Circe’s Volt was pricey at around $40,000, and Siegelaub’s Tesla cost $100,000. You can find the cost of other electric cars here.

Part of that high price tag is offset by tax breaks: a $7,500 Federal tax credit, as well as credits offered by some individual states. But however you slice it, as with any new technology, being an early adopter is an expensive hobby.

Then there are the quirky drawbacks.

For Circe, it’s the Volt’s interior space. “In this price range, you can get a bigger car,” he says. “And in the Volt, there’s no middle back seat, because the battery runs down the center.”

And Siegelaub? In his six-figure sports car, “The air-conditioning is sharing the fans with the cooling of the battery,” he says, “so when the battery needs cooling, I sweat.”

Concludes Circe: “As with any new computer, phone, or tablet, if you’re the first one to buy it, you’re paying a premium. They’re still working out the bugs, and the next one will be better. If your only motivating factor is money, wait till the price comes down.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
12 Expenses You May Be Tempted to Claim as Tax Deductions — but Shouldn’t
12 Expenses You May Be Tempted to Claim as Tax Deductions — but Shouldn’t

Thinking of trying to deduct a few of these things on your federal tax return? That could be a costly mistake.

8 Things I Always Buy at Costco
8 Things I Always Buy at Costco

From bacon to birthday cakes, here are my favorite deals at the popular warehouse store.

The 13 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate
The 13 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate

Some types of traffic violations can drive your car insurance rate dramatically higher.

Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep
Retiree Households Lose $111,000 to This Social Security Misstep

A study finds 96% of retirees make this mistake when claiming Social Security benefits.

5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement
5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement

Medicare can be confusing. Beware these missteps — which can hike your costs.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021
7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021

Recently, both Social Security and Medicare made some major announcements about benefits for 2021.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk
Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends exiting these stores within 30 minutes.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021
4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

15 Things You Can Get for Free in December
15 Things You Can Get for Free in December

December is here, which means it’s your last chance to take advantage of fabulous freebies in 2020.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.