Here's Why My Next Car Will Definitely Be an EV

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  • I plan on swapping my Toyota Corolla for an electric vehicle in 2024.
  • Cost declines, low-hassle maintenance, and safety perks make EVs a compelling alternative to conventional vehicles.

Beware the runaway bicycle.

I lease a 2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid because it boasts an affordable price tag, gas efficiency, and a high safety rating. For context, I drive like every pothole conceals a drunk toddler prepared to crawl in front of my car when I'm not looking. Safety is important to me.

When my lease expires in 2024, I expect to swap my hybrid for an electric vehicle. Since Tesla is leading EV cost declines and safety improvements in North America, they're top of mind. The price tag looks expensive, but I'm willing to foot the bill for the perks coming in 2024 and beyond.

The future of EVs looks more polished than the cherry-red hood of my Corolla. Here's why my next car will definitely be an electric vehicle.

Cost declines

This year, the folks at Tesla scribbled over the price tags on their most popular vehicle. A standard Model 3, Tesla's most affordable car, dropped around $4,000 in January 2023 to about $43,000. Tesla dropped the price of its Model 3 Performance by $8,000, a steeper slide.

That's not to say EV prices are trending on a flat, downward slope. If anything, it's more like a spiky mountain range of peaks and valleys. Inflation, supply chain issues, and tax credits have all taken turns yanking the price tag one way or another. But the recent $7,500 EV tax credit has dropped the total cost of EV ownership across the board.

Cheaper batteries have driven down the cost of manufacturing quality electric vehicles. Battery costs decline about 16% a year, and the battery makes up a big chunk of vehicle manufacturing costs -- about 20%-30%, by some estimates. As EV technology advances, the price of today-quality vehicles will likely fall off a cliff. 

Less range anxiety

Range anxiety is a real issue. A colleague who drives a Tesla addressed the hidden costs of electric vehicles, and the fear of being unable to find chargers is one of them. That said, a few things make range anxiety a non-issue:

  • Home charging: I live in a house and am happy to splurge on an at-home charger to charge my EV overnight.
  • Bigger charging network: Tesla has boosted their supercharger network from 1,700 in 2020 to over 4,400 in 2023. Tesla has begun letting other EVs use superchargers, and it plans on doubling its superchargers by the end of 2024.

By the time I consider a new vehicle, there will be more charging options. I'm also fortunate in that I drive little and live in a suburban household instead of an apartment complex. If I want to install a solar roof or home chargers, I can. It's something to consider before purchasing an EV.

Low hassle

Electric cars require less work. They're easier and cheaper to maintain than conventional cars.

Maintaining an EV is cheaper: They have fewer moving parts to screw up. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, EV maintenance costs clock in at about $0.061 per mile, while gas-powered cars clock in at $0.101 per mile. That's fewer trips to the mechanic and a 30% discount on upkeep. 

Fueling an EV is cheaper, too: data pegs the cost of driving a Model 3 Performance at $97/month compared to $238/month for an average midsize car in California. Electricity is much cheaper than gas. EV drivers pocket the difference, saving thousands of dollars.

Auto insurance isn't cheap, though. Insurance companies charge a premium for covering high-price cars. That said, Tesla insurance may help offset that by offering discounts to Tesla drivers. And the best car insurance companies offer drivers the most bang for their buck.

High safety ratings

Teslas are the safest cars out there. In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lauded the Model 3 as one of the safest cars ever built. The current model scores perfectly in all categories, including frontal crash and rollover. Honestly, it's a bit overkill, but it soothes my ever-present fear of being assaulted by a runaway bicycle.

It's difficult to ignore the perks of driving an electric vehicle. So, why do it? Cost declines and better charging make EVs more attractive every year. They're easier and cheaper to maintain than gas-powered cars like my Corolla. Plus, their simplicity makes them safer to drive.

Teslas aren't the only EVs on the market. They might not even be the best value. For example, the best EVs to drive forever might just be the ones that hold onto their value the longest.

If you can comfortably afford the elevated upfront cost of buying or leasing an EV, it's worth considering. EV total cost estimates vary, but trends look positive for drivers. The cars have shifted from protecting the environment to also protecting your wallet, and I'm here for it. 

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