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Taking the Steps to Join the EV World

Posted 01/19/2023

When you make the decision to purchase an electric vehicle (EV), you are joining a growing group of people who are dedicated to lessening humans’ impact on the environment. You are taking a stand against air and noise pollution, and you are conveying your dedication to a greener future.  However, making the transition to an EV is a bit more challenging than something like switching from a gasoline to a diesel vehicle. When you switch from gasoline to diesel, everything is basically the same. There are just a few minor things you need to consider.  When you make the switch from an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle to an EV, it’s entirely different. You have to get used to a whole new way of doing things, but it is worth it - promise.  To help make your switch to EVs smoother, we have a handy little checklist for you to follow. 

Figure out what type of driving you will be doing with your EV

This step should be fairly easy. The type of driving you will be doing in your EV is probably going to be similar to what you do with your ICE vehicle.  If you are strictly a city commuter with your ICE vehicle, then you are likely going to drive that way with your EV. Similarly, if you use your ICE vehicle to regularly commute in the city, but you also love getting out and visiting remote natural places on the weekends, you are probably going to want to keep doing that in your EV.  Knowing what type of driving you will be doing will help determine what type of EV you should get. We’ll add here that if you’ve never driven an EV before, you may want to try renting one for a day or two, if feasible, to get used to it a little bit before you take the plunge. While the driving will be nearly the same as an ICE vehicle, it’s the fueling that you really have to get used to.  Charging your EV can usually occur at locations you are already going to, so you don’t have to go to a specific place just for fuel. Whether at home, work or play most locations can be a charging destination.

Figure out your budget and decide whether you want to purchase a new or used EV (or try something else)

Regardless of what you’re buying, budget plays a huge role. This is especially important for buying a vehicle. While EVs are still generally pricier than their ICE counterparts, the prices are starting to drop and older EVs are starting to make their way onto the market for purchase.  Don’t forget that the Inflation Reduction Act that passed in 2022 extended the purchase incentives (now known as the Clean Vehicle Credit) through to the end of 2032. This can have a significant impact on the purchase of your new or used EV.  To see the full list of requirements, visit the Department of Energy’s website. But, there are alternatives.  If you don’t want to commit to buying an EV, and you also don’t want the long-term commitment of a lease, you may try one of the new vehicle subscription services that are popping up. They tend to have three- or six-month subscriptions for a flat monthly fee that includes your insurance. If that appeals to you, and it’s within your budget, you can try a subscription model instead of outright buying a vehicle.

Research the available EVs that meet your needs

Once you know your budget and what type of driving you’ll be doing with your EV, it’s time to research the available EVs that fit your needs.  If you are planning to take long road trips, you are obviously going to need an EV with long-range capabilities. Or, if you live in an area where the EV charging infrastructure doesn’t have thorough coverage, a plug-in hybrid vehicle may be a better option. These vehicles have a short-range battery for shorter trips and an internal combustion engine for longer trips.  Staying within your budget may be your main concern when buying an EV. For that, you may want to consider the used EV market.  No matter which way you go, take the time to read about all the available EVs and then book some test drives. You can start with a resource like Kelley Blue Book, but a local dealership will also be a good resource for information, as well as the manufacturer’s website. Along with researching specific vehicles, it’s also a good idea to research EV ownership in general. And for that, you can connect with other EV owners.

Join an EV club

Even before you have made your purchase, you can find and join one of the many EV owners clubs out there to talk with current EV owners to get a sense of what life will be like when you own one.  They’ll give you information that the car manufacturers and reviews may not include, like how much cold weather affects battery range or how you may need to purchase a squeegee because you won’t be stopping at gas stations to fill up and clean your windshield.  These clubs can also be a great source for honest reviews from people who have bought and lived with a given EV for a while, so you can get a real sense of a vehicle’s capabilities and limitations.  EV clubs are also a great way to meet new people and they may be involved in advocacy activities to bring more charging to your area or other EV-related activities. 

Get to know the public chargers in your area

The vast majority of your charging (like 90+%) is going to be done at home, provided you can charge at home. If you are able to charge at home and you will not be traveling outside of your vehicle’s range, you may never need to top it up outside of your own home.  If you are going to be traveling outside of its range, or you live in a place, like an apartment, that doesn’t provide charging opportunities, you’ll need to know the places you’ll be able to stop and charge. Memorize the locations of charging stations along your travel routes, know what types of chargers they are, and how quickly they’ll be able to charge your vehicle.  Alternatively, you can download the Blink Charging Mobile App, which will show you all the Blink charging stations available in your area and along your chosen routes to make charging simple. When you first get your EV, you may need to formulate some plans as to where and when you can charge it (if not at home), but as you get more used to it, this will become more natural.  

Have a Level 2 charging station installed in your home

You’ll likely receive a Level 1 charger when you purchase your EV. Sometimes known as “trickle chargers,” these units take quite a long time to charge a vehicle. This may or may not be a problem for you, but if it is feasible and you want to be able to charge quicker at home, you’ll want to install a Level 2 charger, which takes much less time to charge a battery.  The Blink HQ 200 is a smart Level 2 residential charger that can improve your charging times drastically. For example, it can improve how long it takes to charge your vehicle from 30 hours on a Level 1 charger to 6 hours on a Level 2 home charger (depending on your vehicle). Estimate the amount of time it will take you to charge your new vehicle with this EV charge-time calculator.

Make sure your roadside assistance program accommodates emergency charging for EVs

Regardless of how well you plan a trip in an EV, there may come a time when you run out of battery and you need some portable juice to get you going again. For this, it will probably be your roadside assistance provider that you call. You’ll want to ensure they can deliver a quick charge to get you back on the road and to the nearest public charging station. If they don’t accommodate EVs, you may need to switch to a roadside assistance provider that does.  Taking that first step to EV ownership can be a little daunting if you’re not sure what to expect. However, with a bit of research and knowledge, de-ICE-ing and making the switch to an EV can be as smooth as driving one.  Enjoy being part of the future of mobility!

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