We are in the early days of a more drastic change than most of us have ever seen. Only the rise of the Internet can be compared.
It’s no exaggeration to say that much of the global economy, much of global politics, and much of your daily life has been shaped by the internal combustion engine (ICE). The wars revolved around who had access to oil. Fortunes have been made and lost building the roughly 2 billion ICE cars – 1.3 billion still in working order. And many of us feel a deep romance tied to the vehicles we’ve owned.
All of this must go. Quick. Electric cars are the future. No matter what Autotrader editor Brian Moody says about gasoline vehicles, with each passing day, electric vehicles become the present.
The change will not be linear. Studies already show that it is accelerating. As more of us see electric cars in our neighborhoods, more and more of us imagine ourselves in them. Recent research from our parent company, Cox Automotive, shows that more than a third of new car buyers are now considering a hybrid or electric car.
So when should you take the leap? Here are five reasons to do so the next time you buy a car.
1. They are inexpensive to operate
Electric cars are more expensive initially. But once you park one in the driveway, the savings start to show.
While gasoline prices have increased this summer, electricity prices have remained stable. This left some electric vehicle owners smiling outside the gas station.
But the savings from electric vehicles are not limited to the cost of refueling. Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than ICE cars. There are no spark plugs or timing belts to change. There is no transmission fluid to drain. You can even skip oil changes.
To be fair, we have to point out that recent changes to federal tax incentives have left the actual cost of buying an EV in question. The $7,500 federal tax break on most electric vehicles helped offset the higher purchase price. Currently, manufacturers are scrambling to meet the new requirements to help their buyers qualify.
But a key requirement of any good car purchase is that it offers predictable costs over time, and the mechanical simplicity of electric vehicles will reset everyone’s expectations of the cost of driving.
2. They’re fun to ride
If you haven’t been in an electric car yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. America fell in love with speed a long time ago and electric cars are fast. Surprisingly fast.
Last year Kia 000270,
announced an electric sedan, the EV6 GT, with a 0-60 time of less than 3.5 seconds. Just a decade ago, this kind of off-line speed was only available to owners of exotic cars with quarter-million-dollar sticker prices. In the age of electric vehicles, you can get supercar speed in a Kia.
You’ll meet drive purists who insist that EVs just don’t feel right and yearn for the days of mechanical and pneumatic steering linkages. But we’re going to let you in on a dirty little secret – even most of today’s ICE-powered cars use electric power steering. Even the current Porsche 911, the icon of steering feel, uses the same type of electric power steering as an electric vehicle.
See: The new electric Nissan Ariya: how does it feel to drive?
3. Many concerns about electric vehicles are exaggerated
But what about charging networks, you’re probably wondering by now. Shouldn’t you wait to go electric until public chargers are as common as gas stations?
Well, do you have a gas pump at home?
Almost certainly not. But you have electricity at home.
As America goes electric, charging stations aren’t going to appear at every gas station. They don’t need it. Americans are just going to make a mental shift to refuel at home.
Department of Transportation statistics show that the average American travels less than 30 miles a day. The shortest range electric vehicle on the market has more than three times that range.
And yes, charging on long road trips is boring right now. But with three states (California, Massachusetts and Washington) already committed to banning ICE car sales by 2035, charging networks will expand.
See: Thinking of an EV? Here’s your guide to buying an electric car.
4. You will eventually
These ICE bans also raise an important point: you will eventually have to buy an electric car. Gas-powered vehicles are on the way out.
It will be decades before they are truly rare. But you’re probably going to be driving your next car for a long time. The average vehicle on US roads is over 12 years old. Buying an ICE-powered car doesn’t just mean choosing to drive one now. That probably means choosing to ride one for a decade or more.
Many top automakers claim they won’t even sell ICE-powered cars in a decade. Some have promised to stop producing them altogether, often by 2030. Others have said they will build them in small numbers within a decade. But hardly any automaker says it will produce a mostly ICE lineup for much longer.
You have the choice between going electric now or later. Why be the last in your neighborhood?
See: What California’s gas-powered car ban could mean for you, even if you don’t live there
5. Finally, climate is an emergency
Not convinced ? Turn on the news.
Almost a third of Pakistan is under water as we write this. Tens of millions people have been displaced. The American West is parched, with rivers drying up and apocalyptic fires spreading every summer. Heat waves in China have disabled hydroelectric dams and left millions without power.
Earlier this summer, parts of the Middle East hit a wet bulb temperature of 95 degrees F. What, you ask? A temperature at which humans can die in the shade with infinite drinking water after just six hours. At that time, the US National Weather Service’s “heat index” is 165 degrees.
See: Step up response to climate change now or expect more drought and heat, weather group warns
The Environmental Protection Administration says transportation emissions are now the single largest source of pollution in the United States. Even power plants don’t do as much damage as we do with our gas-powered cars.
And no, that’s not entirely up to you. It’s about policy makers and the industry. They are starting to respond, finally, by putting more electric car options in front of you.
Take one. You’ll save money, enjoy the ride, and feel better about being part of the solution.
This story originally took place on Autotrader.com.