8 Reasons an Electric Car Can Fit Your Lifestyle

A Girls Guide To Cars | 8 Reasons An Electric Car Can Fit Your Lifestyle - Clarity Featured

You don’t need to install a “special charger” at home, though you may want to have one.

First off, I think we need to clear the myth that you need a special outlet to own a plug-in electric car. You don’t. You can plug an electric car into a household outlet, which most people have inside their garage, or on the side of the house or building. If you’re in a parking garage, you’ll need to check to see if you can use the outlets in the garage or if there is one close enough to your parking spot.

Where to Charge Is Just the Start of Knowing if an Electric Car is Right For You

As prices come down, incentives go up and more people are considering an electric car, they are starting to look pretty good. Add to that the lack of tailpipe emissions, the reduced cost of fueling your car and the idea that someday you might be able to charge on a solar grid or another “free” source, and it’s pretty intriguing.

Then consider all the great features and technology in electric cars. They are packed with the best new tech, from digital keys to navigation that calculates battery range, traffic and more to guide you to a charge station. And many are filled with sustainable materials that draw more from the recycle bin than natural resources.

But back to charging: Many buyers are updating homes with a Level 2 charger when buying a fully electric car. Some people are lucky enough to have Level 2 charging at work and only need to charge during the time they’re there.

I think the bottom line about whether or not an electric car or plug-in electric vehicle can fit your life is having a look at the resources and logistics around you. Is your city EV-friendly with local stations? Ask your friends who may already have an electric car in your community about their experiences, or do some local research before deciding if an EV is right for you.

Then, you’ll need to consider how you drive, where you drive, the convenience of different charging options, the type of charging any car you’re considering can accept, whether or not you can take advantage of incentives and more.

Related: Electric Cars in Winter: What You Should Know

Kia Niro Electric Car

The Kia Niro Electric Car looking ready for anything in the city. Photo: Connie Peters

Charge Three Different Ways

Charging times can vary depending on things like temperature, your current level of battery charge and your battery capacity. You have three options to choose from.

Household: Your typical 110v outlet works to charge a car. Really. It’s slower than other levels, but it works.

Level 2: 208v/240v charging can be installed at home, or you can use them at local stations. Just check plugshare.com for stations near you! Plug-in hybrid: 1-4 hours to be fully charged on Level 2. Battery EV: 4-8 hours to be fully charged (from 0 to 100%) on Level 2. Most stations are free to use.

DC Fast Charging: DC Fast Charging stations (not including Tesla Supercharging) are slowly being offered at a charge as they are significantly more costly to build and set up. They charge a fee for charging but can charge up to 80% of a battery charge in approximately 20 minutes. Across North America, these are becoming more common at fuel stations.

With the Kia Niro EV, you can even use the Kia UVO system in the vehicle to help you locate local Level 2 and DC Fast Charging stations in your area while you’re on the go.

There are also plenty of mobile apps that will help you locate your nearest charging station.

Read all about the Kia Niro EV and what I loved about it here.

Kia Niro Electric Car Plugs In

The Kia Niro is a full EV that you can plug in at home. Photo: Connie Peters

Know Your Electric Cars

There are a few different types of electric vehicles: plug-in hybrid electric, and pure battery-electric. Know the difference when you shop. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) electric has a gas-powered backup. A battery-electric (BEV or EV) has just the battery.

Read all about the Honda Clarity and what I loved about it here.

8 Reasons an Electric Car Can Fit Your Lifestyle

Kia Niro Touchscreen Battery Monitor

The Kia Niro battery monitor on the display. Photo: Connie Peters

1. We’re Just Driving Around the City

This isn’t going to be our road-trip car. It’s for commuting and city driving. The Kia Niro has a documented range of up to 385 KM or 239 Miles. Honestly, though, I had a 460-496 KM range on most days I drove it.

If you are just going for a one-vehicle household but will take occasional road trips requiring a gas minivan or truck, you can always rent one!

Tesla Model X

Driving an EV inspired me to take a Tesla electric car for a test drive. Photo: Connie Peters

2. I Have a High-Speed Charger Up the Street

Check plugshare.com to see where your local Level 2 charging stations are. Depending on your City, Province/State, you may be surprised how readily available they are. If you’re considering a Tesla, those are different charging stations, so search for Superchargers in your area to see how accessible it would be for you to have one.

Phev Honda Clarity

Honda Clarity is a plug-in hybrid. Photo: Connie Peters

3. The Range Can be Significant

I’ve heard it on social media and from friends, people want longer range, they’re worried about cold winters affecting charging and range (it does) and taking a simple road trip to the cabin.

Maybe a PHEV is a solution for you – you can get the Niro in a PHEV (plug-in electric) version with a backup gas motor with a 560 mile or 853 KM range. Keep in mind that these only have a small battery range, meaning if you’re doing longer trips you’ll need to pay for gas, but you have the benefit of the overall range. The battery-only range is about 26 Miles or 42 KM.

The Honda Clarity (read all about it here) is also a plug-in hybrid with a full range of 340 miles/547 kilometers, so you have the benefit of range with a gas engine to take you further without worrying about getting stranded without a charging source.

Kia Niro Ev Trunk

The Kia Niro Electric Car has plenty of cargo space. Photo: Connie Peters

4. Save Money

Who doesn’t like to save money on gas? The cost of charging an electric vehicle versus using gas fuel is approximately half! That said, if I were to have used the free charging station up the street from my house this week, I wouldn’t have used any of my own electricity, so it would have been zero versus using gas. It’s all about your usage, where and how you charge and how far you’re driving.

Related: BMW’s range of electric and plug-in electric cars

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Are you looking for a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or full EV? ?: Connie Peters

5. You’ll Get Rebates

Yes, that means you’ll save even more money. Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for State or Federal rebates. In Canada, there is a $5000 federal rebate plus varying amounts by Province. In the US, the IRS tax credit is $2,500-$7,000 depending on the price of the car, and various other factors. Your State may have additional rebates. This brings down the initial upfront cost of the vehicle, making it more affordable to get into an EV!

Plus, in some places (British Columbia being one) you may apply for a rebate to install a Level 2 charger in your home. Check with your local hydro provider and government programs.

Kia Niro Interior

The Kia Niro driver cockpit is spacious and comfortable. Photo: Connie Peters

6. Regenerative Braking Helps Charge your Battery While You Drive!

When you apply the brakes, you capture the kinetic energy of deceleration to charge your battery on the go. Plus, steering wheel-mounted paddles allow you to adjust regenerative braking levels, meaning if you use the paddle while slowing, you are charging more.

Related: Would you rather spend money on gas or that fab new outfit?

Honda Clarity Gear Shift

The Honda Clarity digital gear shift is modern. Photo: Connie Peters

7. Fewer Maintenance Expenses

Electric vehicles do cost more than gas because of the technology. However, they cost less over the long term in the overall maintenance and charging versus gas.

You may have heard, “no oil changes, no service appointments.” Of course, you’ll still need to replace your tires every few years and have other regular maintenance costs like checkups with your manufacturer.

8. Advancements in Infrastructure and Technology

Every year, automakers are releasing new lines of hybrids and electric vehicles. It’s essentially a competition between automakers to see who can make the best, most efficient and reliable electric vehicle to win over consumers. Technology is advancing and will only continue to get better. Even if an electric vehicle doesn’t seem accessible to your lifestyle now, you might find one that works for you a couple years down the line. Plus, the infrastructure for EV chargers across cities and states is growing.

Read more about the Kia Niro EV here and the Honda Clarity PHEV here!

We fell in love with the Kia Niro EV over the week, and are considering a fully electric vehicle for our next family car, stay tuned!

Disclosure: I was provided the Kia Canada Niro EV and Honda Clarity PHEV for one week to facilitate this review.

A Girls Guide To Cars | 8 Reasons An Electric Car Can Fit Your Lifestyle - Ev

Connie Peters is a mother of 3 girls in suburban Vancouver, Canada and has been an online entrepreneur since... More about Connie Peters