As more and more people get revved up about electric vehicles (EVs), how to shop for one can be a little overwhelming. Should you spend hours and hours doing research or head to a dealership straight away? Does having a make and model in mind make it easier or more confusing? What’s a newbie EV convert to do?
Fortunately, the researching and buying process can be a little less taxing thanks to Southern Company, an Atlanta-based energy company that’s launched a microsite called JoinEVRevolution.com to help folks navigate the murky waters of EV buying.
Click, Click Learn
With easy-to-click steps, finding the best EV for you is a snap, beginning with the REVolutionary Recommender, a quick quiz to get shoppers started. It’s an EV finder tool featuring unbiased vehicle recommendations to determine which models are best suited to one’s lifestyle.
“What are you looking for in an EV?” it asks. The choices are “Luxury. I like the bells and whistles,” or “Something practical.” It then leads folks to answer questions about capacity, cost versus performance and overall size. Given my choices — small with storage space — the system recommended I snap up a Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which starts at $22,995, is fully electric, seats four and gets 62 miles on a single charge. That sounds just about right for my small family with our penchant for bargain shopping.
This sweet tool is simple and streamlined — perfect for folks who need some interactive help shopping for an EV.
So, why does EV shopping matter to an energy company? According to Lincoln Wood, REVolution’s project manager, driving electric helps the United States be more energy-independent by allowing us to import less oil from other parts of the world, providing increased energy and economic security.
Wood wants to help get that message out and play a role in raising awareness about electric transportation and its benefits.
Another boon to shoppers? The cost savings, he says.
“Charging an EV is like using the equivalent of $1.50-per-gallon gas, and you don’t need nearly as much maintenance: no oil changes, tune-ups or other expensive services. The low cost of ownership puts transportation within reach of more consumers, including low-income. Electric transportation is good for society.”
He goes on to say several studies have added it all up and found that EV owners save roughly $10,000 over 5 years compared to traditional gas-vehicle owners.
And that’s not all. The benefits are big and growing, including:
- Federal tax credits and state incentives.
- Special rates from your energy company, especially for off-peak charging at home.
- Free access to many carpool or HOV lanes.
- Free parking and/or charging at some public locations.
- Registration and property tax exemptions in many states.
- No more worrying about fluctuations in gas prices.
- Lower insurance rates in many states.
Ask an EV driver about their vehicle, and you’ll hear them chat up these benefits, as well as gush about how well the car handles, its speed, its responsiveness and its zippy acceleration. In fact, Southern Company believes today’s electric vehicles are leading the way in high-performance driving and that EVs “can compete with — or beat — traditional cars in going from 0 to 60 mph.”
The REVolutionary Recommender is just one of the site’s great features. It also has an EV gallery, where you can sort by make, model, price, range, capacity, etc. Over the coming months, folks can check out EVconcierge, a service that will provide one-on-one support and assistance to EV buyers and owners. It will offer help in finding a dealer who sells the model you want or offer advice on which home charging setup is best for you.
Shopping for an EV doesn’t have to be intimidating; don’t be afraid to ask for help. After all, we’re talking about a REVolution, people.
For more information check out Autotrader’s coverage on Hybrid and Electric Vehicles