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.”

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
28 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
28 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

From entertainment to education, if you know the tricks, you can save big.

Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You
Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You

Streaming TV might sound like the antidote to sky-high cable bills, but cutting the cord is easier said than done.

6 Types of People Who Can’t Count on Social Security
6 Types of People Who Can’t Count on Social Security

If you fall into one of these groups, don’t assume that you will receive benefits.

Never Buy These 19 Things Online
Never Buy These 19 Things Online

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

7 Small Appliances You Don’t Need — and What to Use Instead
7 Small Appliances You Don’t Need — and What to Use Instead

Here’s how to get the job done without blowing money — or losing counter space.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease
Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

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

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

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.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them
15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security
Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security

Growing numbers of seniors are paying taxes on their Social Security benefits, but you might be able to avoid this fate.

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.