How to find and buy the right electric car online

How to find and buy the right electric car online


At present, electric vehicles make up the smallest percentage of the total automotive market, but their popularity is on the rise. Car manufacturers are expanding their range, style, and performance, and recharging is becoming easier and quicker. All of which is helping to fuel consumer’s interest.

Anyone looking for a zero-emission vehicle is spoilt for choice. There is a massive range of vehicles to choose from. They come in all shapes and colors and various body styles. There are also several different price points which means you’ll have no problems finding one to suit your budget.

With so many electric cars to choose from, knowing where to start and what to look for can be challenging. To make things easier for you, we’ve gathered all the information you need in one place.

In this article, we’ll be looking at:

  • Reasons to go electric
  • Different types of electric car
  • What an electric car is like to drive
  • Best Electric Car Selling Websites
  • Things to consider before buying an electric car
  • Specs to consider
  • Top 10 new EV models in the US
  • How to get your electric vehicle home  

Why go electric?

Why to buy an electric car

The most obvious reason is that an electric car produces zero tailpipe emissions. Depending on where you live, however, the source of the electricity you use to power your electric vehicle may produce CO2 emissions. But, if the electricity generated in the area where you live uses relatively low-polluting energy sources, your “well-to-wheel” emission advantage will be far more significant than fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

It’s fair to say that any electric car is only as clean as its power supply. Compare, for example, California’s electric vehicles that can plug into a greener grid with electric cars in China, where coal generates 62% of all power. The US, as a whole, gets around a third of its electricity from coal-fired power, which means your “zero-emissions” vehicle might not be entirely that. It really depends on where you’re charging it.

Another reason to consider swapping to electric is the cost savings. Annual fuel costs for electric vehicles are less than half of those for gas-powered cars. If you want to know how much you could save, there are several online calculators. Here are just a few you might want to try:

Thanks to Tesla, EV cars don’t just make an environmental statement. They are also considered tech status symbols. And if you’ve got some spare cash, there are plenty of small startups currently building ultra-luxury, high-performing electric supercars.

A few additional reasons to make the switch include the more affordable prices, a growing charging station network, and a host of tax breaks and subsidies.    

Different types of electric car

There are two basic types of EV: 

  • All Electric Vehicles (AEVs): This type includes Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles. As well as charging from the electrical grid, both types are charged in part by regenerative braking.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs): This type of EV uses batteries to power an electric motor, has to be plugged into the electric grid to charge, and uses a petroleum-based or alternative fuel to power the internal combustion engine. This type of EV is also called an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (EREV). 

What is an electric car like to drive?

The fact that this type of car has no pistons or noisy combustion means you get to cruise the highways very quietly. They can also be very nippy, and the turn of speed from a standstill might take you by surprise, to begin with. It’s best to take things slowly the first time you take your electric car for a spin.

One characteristic that might seem peculiar to start with is the total lack of noise. That being said, it can prove to be very relaxing.

The basics of driving an electric car are much the same as any other car. It has an accelerator and a brake pedal. But, in other ways, it might seem a little strange if you’re a seasoned driver.

There are some models you drive using just one pedal, for example, the Nissan Leaf. This type of car works because when you lift off the accelerator, the heavy regenerative braking the car uses slows the car down significantly. At the same time, it feeds energy back into the battery. This system does take a bit of getting used to, but there will also be a separate brake if you’d prefer to drive conventionally.

Best Electric Car Selling Websites

When it comes to buying an electric car online there are lots of places to look. To save you some time, we’ve gathered some of them together and made a convenient list. Here are our top five favorite electric car selling websites.

  1. Edmunds: Edmunds is the site to visit if you want a new electric car. Is Price Promise® guarantee takes all the haggling hassle out of buying a new car.  
  2. AutoTrader: This is the go-to website to visit if you’re looking to buy a car. It’s considered by many to be the best website to buy used cars.
  3. CarGurus: use this website to search for any make and model and you’ll get numerous results.
  4. CarsDirect: Many car dealer’s websites in your area will be linked to this site. If you find something you like you submit an inquiry for more details.
  5. eBay Motors: This is a fantastic used car selling site that lets you see what’s available nationwide.   

Things to consider before buying an electric car

If you like the idea of an electric car, there are some things you need to consider if you want to choose the right EV for your needs. Several factors are going to affect your decision. Let’s look at some of the points you need to consider.

  • Price

Electric vehicles are a very environmentally friendly option, but they’re not all that budget-friendly. Compared to conventional vehicles, they can be rather pricey. This is due to the complex electric drivetrain and expensive battery packs. When deciding whether to buy an electric car, keep your budget in mind.

  • Incentives

To help reduce the overall cost of electric vehicles, the government offers incentives and tax benefits. In the US, all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased new in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. The credit amount varies based on the capacity of the battery used to power the vehicle. State and/ or local incentives may also apply. 

  • Software updates

Electric vehicles make use of advanced technology and complex powertrains. Manufacturers constantly work at improving their vehicles and often roll out software updates. When you buy an EV, make sure you get regular software upgrades. Some manufacturers offer this for free, while others charge owners for the updates.

  • Specifications

A wide range of electric motors and battery packs of different capacities are used in electric vehicles. We’ll be looking at different specifications a little further down the page, but for now, suffice it to say that you need an EV that has the specifications to match your requirements.

  • Charging and battery range

How far you’re going to be able to drive on a charge is a crucial factor. Manufacturers will also specify driving range figures, but it’s a good idea to take these with a pinch of salt. It’s much better to look for real-life reviews if you want an idea about the driving range in real-world conditions. Typically, you can expect an electric car to deliver a driving range of more than 100 kilometers. This should be sufficient for daily drives. Some high-end EV cars offer a driving range of 400 kilometers or more.

Electric cars come with a wide range of charging options, including fast-charging, standard charging, and slow charging. You can also charge some EVs from an electric outlet in your home.

Across the US, there are 41,400 EV charging stations, according to the Department of Energy. Fewer than 5,000 of these are fast chargers. Improvements to the charging infrastructure are a priority, according to Biden.   

  • Battery life

One of the most critical components of an electric vehicle is the battery pack. It also happens to be one of the most expensive. If you need to replace the battery pack in your EV, it can burn a hole in your pocket. Always check the battery life before investing in an eco-friendly car. The longer the battery life, the lower the maintenance cost.

  • Maintenance costs

Maintenance is an essential aspect of owning an electric car. If you don’t maintain your EV correctly, it may not perform efficiently. They tend to be easy to maintain as there are fewer moving parts. But should you break down, the repair bills will be costly. Spare parts can also be expensive compared to a conventional car.

  • Practical usability

Electric cars don’t suit everyone. To determine whether it’s right for you, think about how far you drive in a day and where you live, for example. 

  • Brand and model

There is a wide range of electric vehicles currently available in the US. We’ll be looking at the top new models in a few paragraphs.

  • After-sales service and support

If you decide to buy a new electric car, the ownership experience can be influenced by the after-sales service and support you’re offered. Having access to a service center where there are trained professionals is also essential.

  • New vs. used

A brand new electric car might be out of the range of your budget. There is the option of buying a used model. EVs don’t have many moving parts, so purchasing a used vehicle can be a viable option. Before you make your purchase, check the remaining battery performance/warranty, condition of the electric motors, state of the tires, charging options, and the car’s mileage.

  • Leasing an electric car

If you’re not planning to own an electric car for a very long time, leasing one will reduce the overall cost of ownership. It might be possible to purchase maintenance packages for the lease. Leasing also means you can avoid the hassle of trying to sell the car because you can return it after the lease expires.

  • Cost of car insurance

The cost of insurance coverage may be higher than you’re used to. EVs tend to be of higher value. Therefore the cost of insurance coverage will be higher.


Specs to consider when buying an electric car

What to consider when buying an electric car

There’s a lot of complicated technology used in an electric car. If you understand the basic functionality, it’ll make finding the right one a little easier. Let’s look at some of the important specs you should consider.

  • Type of vehicle

We’ve already looked at the different types of electric vehicles available. You need to decide which suits your requirements better.

  • Driving range

The driving range of an electric vehicle is the distance it’ll cover on a single full charge. This factor is important because there aren’t charging stations around every corner. There are not as many charging stations as conventional fuel stations, although the numbers are improving. 

You can find all the EV charging locations by visiting the Alternative Fuels Data Center website. 

  • Type of battery and capacity

Modern electric vehicles use Lithium-Ion battery packs. These are very light and efficient in terms of charging and discharging. The capacity of the battery will impact the vehicle’s driving range. The higher the capacity, the better the driving range.

  • Charging specifications

The battery’s capacity is not the only important factor. How long it takes for the battery to charge fully is also crucial. Usually, there will be more than one option, for example, standard and fast-charging. Charging stations can be installed in your home, but it will take a lot of time to charge the battery fully.

  • Acceleration

When it comes to acceleration, electric vehicles are comparable with internal combustion engines. However, because electric motors can generate instant torque, EVs can accelerate rapidly, although it depends on the number of electric motors and their power.

  • Power and torque

The power of an electrical car is the mechanical output provided by the electrical energy. It is measured in HP or horsepower. The torque is an indication of the EV acceleration and depends on how powerful the electric motor is. You can expect a more enjoyable driving experience if the torque and power figures are higher.

  • Battery warranty

Manufacturers usually provide a warranty of the battery pack in terms of driving distance or the amount of time. Check out how much warranty is provided, because the battery is one of the most expensive components.

  • Energy consumption

You can determine how efficient an electric vehicle will be compared with a conventional car by looking at how much energy it consumes. Energy consumption also determines the vehicle's running costs. Typically, you can expect running costs to be lower than an internal combustion engine.

Top 10 new EV models in the US

1. Tesla Model 3

This is the most popular electric car available currently. Features that make it stand out include brisk acceleration, agile handling, spacious cabin, and first-rate crash test results. Its maximum range is 322 miles, which is more than all other similarly priced EVs. Features that come as standard include a 15” touch screen, a Wi=-Fi hotspot, built-in dashcam, over-the-air software updates, blind-spot monitoring, side collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. 

2. Kia Niro EV

This model first came to market as a gas-powered hybrid but is now also available with an all-electric powertrain. The Kia Niro EV is only available in limited quantities in select states, though the standard Niro hybrid and the Niro Plug-in Hybrid are more widely available. This EV has ample cargo space, impressive handling, a comfortable ride, a high-quality interior, and roomy seats.

3. Volkswagen ID.4

The ID.4 is one of the first all-electric compact SUVs to hit the market. It offers a ton of standard features and a spacious cabin. Using some of the neatest technology allows the car to push the envelope, and it has a generous 250 miles range. Standard features include a 10” touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Smartphone integration, lane-keeping system, forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control. 

4. Hyundai Kona Electric

This model has been around for a couple of years now. It features sporty handling, a nice cabin, comfortable front seats, and fantastic crash test ratings. This model comes with one of the best warranties in the industry. However, its second row of seats is tight for adults, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of cargo space. Standard features include a user-friendly 7” touch screen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and a driver condition monitor.

5. Chevrolet Bolt EV

The driving range of this model beats much of the competition, hands down. Additional features include roomy seats, large cargo capacity, energetic acceleration, and engaging handling. If you want DC fast charging, you’ll have to pay extra. Other niceties include a 10.2” touch screen, smartphone app integration, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and several advanced driver-assist systems. 

6. Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF is one of the best EVs of all time. However, over recent years it’s fallen from favor somewhat. The model was fully redesigned for 2018, and in 2019, the manufacturer brought a long-range model to the market. Features include an expansive interior, excellent cargo volume, peppy acceleration, and confident handling. It comes equipped with an 8” touch screen, smartphone app integration, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. 

7. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

In 2020, the range of this model was increased to 170 miles, which is still on the low end in comparison with other EVs. You get more horsepower with the Ioniq, along with an 8” touch screen, adaptive cruise control, and other driver-assist tech. The front seats are spacious, and the cargo capacity is reasonable enough. However, the rear seats might feel a little cramped for taller people. 

8. MINI Cooper SE Electric Hardtop

This is one of the newest EV entrants. It has less range than any other electric car, but it also happened to be the cheapest. You’ll find this EV fun to drive, and the cabin has a luxury feel about it. There’s also plenty of cargo space, although the rear seats feel a bit cramped. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, Apple CarPlay, a 6.5” screen, navigation, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking.  

9. BMW i3

This is one of the most expensive short-range electric cars currently available. You can add a gas-powered range extender for a few extra thousand dollars, but it only bumps up the maximum range to 200 miles. The car’s build quality is top-notch. The interior is constructed with recycled, eco-friendly, and sustainable sourced materials. Standard features include a 6.5” display screen, Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and heated and power-folding outside mirrors.

10. Tesla Model Y

This is Tesla’s latest model, and essentially it’s a crossover version of the Model 3 sedan. You can choose between two all-wheel-drive configurations: The 316-mile Long Range and 291-mile Performance. Notable features include a 15-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, heated front, rear seats, a built-in dashcam, blind-spot monitoring, side collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

How to get your electric car home

If you’ve bought your electric car online, you might be wondering how to get it home. You’ll be pleased to know it’s a very straightforward process, so you don’t need to worry if you find an electric vehicle that’s located across the other side of the country. To help you understand the process better, spend some time reading our How to Ship an Electric Car article. 

All you have to do is get in touch with a company like SGT Auto Transport, get a quote and make your booking. Your EV will be collected, transported across the country, and delivered to your door.

If you want to know anything about how to ship an electric car, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Phone (864) 546-5038, or use our Live Chat option. 

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