Everything You Want to Know About Electric Cars

Cars can feel so discombobulating. Electric cars even more so. Questions on this subjects are asked on a regular basis and it’s hard to sort through the loads of information available online about the subject and know what’s real.

Five women that are leaders in the automotive industry, technicians and thought leaders have all shared their thoughts on some of your pressing questions. Before long, you’ll have the basics to help you consider whether an electric vehicle is for you.

2019 BMW I3

In this article you’ll learn more about electric cars, maintaining them, things to think about before purchasing electric cars and how long they can actually go on a charge among other things.

The women who’ve so graciously shared their education and expertise are:

Jill Trotta, Vice President of Marketing, Industry, and Sales at RepairPal

Joanna Jana Laznicka, the Founder and Publishing Editor of Helpful Mechanic

Harley Cheyenne McGuigan, Certified Mercedes Benz Technician and Team Leader at Alderson Mercedes Benz

Katie French, Warranty Administrator at Valenti Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM in Mystic, CT

Laurina Esposito, CEO at Women in Porsche & EspoResto

Tesla Model 3

What are the benefits of driving an electric car?

“Electric cars are practical, and fortunately less expensive to maintain. They are still equipped with all of the same creature comforts you would have in a normal vehicle, but you don’t have to worry about leaving a carbon footprint anymore.” Katie

“Electric cars are clean, zero emissions. BUT, depending on your area and how the power for your area is generated the positive effects might be negated by different types of power grids. Also, the waste from batteries is a huge environmental issue.” – Jill

“There are obvious benefits, gas consumption, environmental impact, but I think many people are still under the assumption electric cars means slow. My partner has a BMW i3 and it’s got so much power for being an electric car, while simultaneously saving a ton of $. It’s also lighter weight, making it a lot easier to navigate in traffic. And can we talk about how quiet it is?? You cannot beat that silence (or the ability to hear your music or a phone call) while driving in LA or NY or the like. It’s such a win.” – Laurina

Nissan Leaf

When it comes to maintaining an electric vehicle, what should the car owner keep in mind?

“Like with any maintenance of a vehicle, being judicious is key. While you can definitely plug it in and walk away for the most part, it still requires safe outlets, proper cables and regular check ups to protect the electrical system on board. If it’s a hybrid, it means double duty management. You still have to maintain fluids, check air flow, compression, etc- but also manage that electrical system and take it in for service when it’s Suggested by mileage. Not doing proper maintenance on an electric vehicle means higher potential cost ramifications later. While sticking to regular maintenance now can mean LESS long term Mechanical cost for you down the line.” – Laurina

“Electric vehicles are in many ways a concept automobile still, things go wrong because they are ironing out the technology however they have far less maintenance than a spark-ignited internal combustion engine used in gas vehicles or a compression-ignited systems used in diesel vehicles. For instance, you need fewer oil changes to no oil changes. There is gearbox oil but it doesn’t need frequent changing.” – Joanna

2020 Soul EV

Is maintaining an electric vehicle more expensive then maintaining a regular gas car?

“Depending on make and model and under warranty or not. This is truly a hard question to answer. The makes and models we have owned maintenance costs have been comparable to any other car. Where the saving is for us is gas, it costs us nothing, we have solar electricity and we get 256 miles on a charge for one of our vehicles and 45 miles on our other charge. We also have driven across the country five times and we have not had to pay for gas while doing so because we charge for free.” – Joanna

“It’s less to maintain, but more to repair. That being said, they’re more reliable with less moving parts.” – Jill

Mercedes Benz EQC

Of the electric vehicles available on the market currently, which one would you recommend above others? What makes this vehicle your top choice?

“For an affordable family vehicle, the new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is pretty awesome. If you’re still on the fence about switching to all-electric- this gives you the choice of utilizing the electric option, while still having gas as a backup. They get approximately 80 mpg and are  emissions. Check it out! You won’t be disappointed.” – Katie

“The Mercedes Benz all electric EQC. You’re not losing anything with the electric model as opposed to the normal model as far as creature comforts, and the safety ratings of Mercedes are phenomenal. Lastly, Mercedes Benz offers QR codes for firemen to scan, in the event a eclectic vehicle is in an accident, so they can make sure when necessary to use the jaws of life they will not be cutting a high voltage line. Mercedes really thought about our first responders.” – Harley

“I like the BMW I3. I like the availability of a small gas tank to prevent issues with charging.” – Jill

“Tesla Model 3 is an excellent deal. It has some amazing features for the price. We are very happy with our Tesla S and those of my friends who have the Model 3 love them. I would recommend buying the biggest battery one can afford, however, I would say that rule of thumb for any electric vehicle you purchase.” – Joanna

2019 Chevrolet Volt

How many miles can you actually drive when an electric car is fully charged?

“Depends on the car. Generally in the 60 mile range but some vehicles have up to a 300 mile range.” – Jill

“Depends on the make and model of vehicle. Tesla just announced they are making a 400+ model battery. That means you could drive from LA to San Francisco without charging.” –  Joanna

Tesla Model 3

Can anyone do repairs and maintenance on electric vehicles? What kind of certifications are required?

“ASE L3 covers it. There are companies such as ACDC that do great training for shops.” – Jill

“Nope! Tesla for example requires a ton of certifications both for the shop that’s doing the repairs and for the technician himself. If the shop becomes certified, it also is required to do regular education and updates to training as new tech and vehicles are released” – Laurina

“Yes and No – If cars are under warranty doing your own maintenance and not being a certified mechanic working for the manufacture you will run into problems…” –  Joanna

Smart EQ fortwo

What is the biggest mistake that people make when buying an electric car?

“Making sure their area/home is able to properly charge the vehicle. For example Lubbock Texas only has 2 charging stations. One is at our Audi dealer and the second at Best Buy.” – Harley

“Not spending enough money on getting the largest battery they can. For instance, when Tesla’s came out with the S they have a 40KW and a 60KW battery people who bought them said big mistake they should have bought the 75KW, 85KW or larger.” –  Joanna

Is there anything else you’d like to speak to about electric cars?

“I feel hydrogen is a better alternative. It’s an electric car but charges with hydrogen.” – Jill

2019 Toyota Mirai

I’ve learned so much from these incredible women, and hope you have too. Electric cars may still feel like something far into the future but it’s not! Electric cars are available from over 10 manufacturers in price points ranging from $35,000 to $100,000 +

This article will be the start of a series on electric cars. In the next article, I’ll cover 5 of the least expensive electric car options, how they measure up and if they are the right choice for you. Subscribe here to be the first to read!

Considering buying a used car soon? I’m teaching a class that has been featured in places like the Chicago Tribune and Ask Patty: Certified Female Friendly. This class is taught on a sliding scale starting at $69. Bonus: I’ve partnered with financial superstar Ary Michelle of the Badass Budget Babe to cover the financial aspects of car buying like financing, down payments, interest and more.

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