– Ben Martens

Don’t Buy an EV

These Tesla Tuesday posts usually talk about experiences with our Model Y and reasons why I’m happy with our decision. Tesla has the highest brand loyalty, but that doesn’t mean I recommend them to everyone or that I’d buy one myself in every situation. So who would I NOT recommend get an electric car?

  1. If you live in an apartment, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a lot of charging options. Landlords are quickly realizing the importance of this amenity, but if I couldn’t charge where I normally park, that would remove a lot of the convenience for me. Even if the complex had a few chargers that people could share, I still probably wouldn’t go for it. I love coming home, plugging in the car, and then ignoring it until the morning when I walk out to a full charge.
  2. If you have expensive electricity, it can change the math a lot. We pay $0.11/kWh hour here in the Seattle area, but in New Hampshire it’s $0.29/kWh! That’s getting close to Supercharger rates which are around $0.45-0.55/kWh. While all of those are still a lot cheaper than gas, it’s a wide range and needs to be part of your math if you’re doing this to save money. Then again, California has the most expensive electricity in the country but they’re also gaga for electric cars so there are more factors at play than just electricity costs.
  3. If you get a new phone and spend the next six months grumbling about how everything changed, this probably isn’t for you. Electric cars usually get the fanciest new tech.
  4. If you’re thinking about getting anything other than a Tesla, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re literally never going to take it on a trip that would require you to charge away from home. The non-Tesla charging networks are unbelievably horrible and I wouldn’t take a road trip if I had to rely on them. If you think I’m exaggerating, watch this fantastic comparison video or the many videos like it. Once all the non-Tesla muggles can charge at Superchargers, this becomes a non-issue, but then we’ll have to see what kind of crowding problems we have and see which of the other companies die off in the shakeout.
  5. If you hate electric vehicles because… just because, then obviously I wouldn’t even be talking about this to you. Multiple times, even in this area, I’ve had some truck get in front of me and purposely “roll coal” to cover me in exhaust. Maybe they still wouldn’t want one if they had more info, but so many people blow off all EVs due to talking points from 24-hour cable news that simply aren’t true.
  6. If you’re an expert car mechanic and you enjoy the work, there won’t be much that you can do on your EV. Being able to do most/all of your own car work also changes the math when considering how much an EV could save you.
  7. If you drive more than 200 miles a day, you probably wouldn’t want an EV. I wrote a long post about choosing an EV with enough range, but the takeaway was to consider the high end of your common daily use case and then multiply that mileage by 1.5 or 2 to get the target EPA range to have stress free drives in all conditions.
  8. If you take a lot of road trips and you don’t want to do any extra planning, an EV is probably not for you. While the car will tell you exactly where to stop and for how long, our trips go a lot smoother when I have tweaked that plan a bit for stops with good bathrooms, restaurants, etc. A long road trip feels like hopping between islands so there’s not a ton of flexibility if you’re trying to be efficient with your time.
  9. If you’re going to do a lot of towing or hauling, a gas/diesel truck is still your best bet. Rivian makes an electric truck and Tesla has something sort of truck shaped coming out soon, but despite what the marketing materials say, you’re not going to be asking a front-end loader to dump a yard of gravel in the back. And even if you could tow your camper with it, you’re going to stop so often for charging (and you’ll have to unhook every time) that it’s silly.

One thing that’s not on this list is “if you don’t live close to a charging station…” The area within 75-100 miles of my house is the area where I care least about charging stations. In fact, I think that living far from a charger could be a good reason to get an EV because you’re probably live away from a city and getting anything (including gas) requires a significant amount of time. Instead, you could wake up every morning to a full charge. The only time I care about public stations is when I’m on a long road trip somewhere.

As I wrap this up, my text editor is complaining about all the uses of “probably” in this post, but I’m going to leave them in because there really are a lot of factors. However, I do think that the list of reasons to not get an EV is shrinking as the years go by. Millions of people are making the switch, but it will take time for to cover everyone’s unique scenario.