Low MaintenanceService centers at dealerships hate electric cars. One can argue that one major reason why car manufacturers never pushed to produce electric vehicles for the masses is because they would take a hit in profits from servicing electric vehicles at dealerships. But with new competitors such as Tesla that don’t rely on profits for servicing their vehicles, automakers have to make a decision to compete or risk being left behind. Service charges to see a mechanic at dealerships and shops will cost you substantially less to almost nothing. Most electric cars just need tires rotated, washer fluid filled, and battery levels checked. By going electric instead of gas, here are some of the items you can kiss good-bye to:
- No transmission issues such as cables adjustments, fluids, and gear slippage
- No oil filters to replace
- No engine oils to remove and replace (oil companies hate this)
- No valve adjustments
- No spark plugs or “tune ups”
- No timing belts to break or replace
- No need to synchronize idle speed and throttle
- No fuel filter or hoses to replace
- No exhaust system to fix or smog
- No need to fill at a gas station. Just plug in and charge at your home while you sleep. Charging your vehicle costs a fraction compared to gas.
Other Considerations: At some time in an electric car’s life, the batteries will need to be replaced. Currently, batteries are costly and run in the thousands to replace. It is estimated that many batteries will last 10 or more years. The question is how much will the battery cost to replace in 10 or so years from now. We can only estimate. With advancements in battery technology and increased production, we can expect the cost to go down and battery quality to improve.
AffordabilityAt first glance, the cost of a new electric car is usually significantly higher than that of its gas equivalent. But when you look at the incentives such as tax credits and rebates, the costs could potentially come down as much as $10,000 or more making electric vehicles just as affordable as gas ones. For example, let’s compare the new Chevy Spark gas and electric models. A gas-powered Spark with an automatic transmission has a sticker price of about $16,000. A similar equipped electric Spark sells for around $27,000. However, you can get up to $10,000 back later by taking a federal tax credit at tax time for $7,500 and a $2,500 rebate from the state of California (check with your individual states on any rebates). After taking advantage of tax credits and rebates, your electric Spark is now costing you only $1,000 more than the gas version ($16,000 gas model vs. $17,000 electric model). Add the savings on routine maintenance and gas costs compared to gas-powered engines and you’re now ahead of the game. Electronic cars have been coming down in price in recent years due to increased production and advancement in battery technology. As more people demand electric cars and automakers ramp up production, expect the prices to come down even further.
Caution: Be aware that not all taxpayers will qualify to get the full $7,500 on an electric car (or $2,500 on an electric motorcycle). To get the full federal credit on your tax return you need to have at least enough calculated tax (after all other deductions and credits have been taken). Don’t expect to hear this key detail from the car dealerships for various reasons. You need to do your own math (or check with a tax professional) before shopping. If you expect your tax return to be similar to last year’s return, you can get a good idea what your credit amount will be. Look at your prior year return on line 55 (line after total credits), Form 1040. The amount calculated on line 55 would be your credit amount (up to $7,500 per car). Keep in mind that any unused credit expires and cannot be carried over to next year’s tax return. If your tax situation this year changes that results in a different return outcome compared to last year, you should speak to a tax expert to estimate how much credit you can take on an electric car.