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Is Now The Time To Buy An Electric Vehicle?

Lured by the potential to permanently leave gas stations and their high prices in the rear-view mirror, many consumers are seriously considering the purchase of their first electric vehicle(EV). Before committing to ownership of an EV, shoppers would be well-advised to ask and answer a set of practical questions prior to signing on the dotted line.

Is now the right time to add an EV to your garage? What are the benefits of owning an EV, which trade-offs should you be aware of, and are there any special considerations for EV drivers in New Mexico?

An electric vehicle recharges in a parking lot

The Pros and Cons of Electric Vehicles

Potential cost-savings, a reduced or completely emissions-free drive, and the fulfillment of long-awaited sci-fi inspired technology have helped lead to the sale of over 2.6 million plug-in vehicles (PEVs) in the USA since 2010. Going one step beyond their hybrid and plug-in hybrid counterparts, fully electric vehicles forgo the gas tank altogether and rely upon battery power alone.

With electric motors powered by large battery packs, EVs do not rely upon conventional technology like an internal combustion engine nor do they utilize the transmission system that we associate with gas-powered vehicles. The omission of these from EVs, and the use of fewer and simpler components, may lead to notable savings on repairs over the lifetime of the vehicle.

The other key benefits of owning and operating an EV are:

  • Recharging typically costs significantly less than gas or diesel refueling
  • Skipping stops at the gas station, and recharging at home instead
  • A quiet ride (both inside and outside)
  • Superior acceleration ability
  • EVs typically include cutting-edge interior design and advanced ergonomics
  • EVs are often rated to be as safe as conventional vehicles

Current drawbacks to purchasing and owning an EV include:

  • Sticker shock – EVs are currently significantly more expensive to purchase than other vehicles
  • Wait times for popular EVs continue to be stubbornly long – you may need to wait until 2023 to get behind the wheel of your Tesla Model Y as one example
  • It currently costs more to insure an EV
  • Limited range demands more pre-planning, especially for longer trips
  • Long recharging times, especially if you’re limited to charging at home with the common 120-volt outlet found in US homes
  • A lithium battery shortage is looming over the EV industry, and is leading some original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to cut back on advanced features

In addition, those living in high-rise condos or apartment buildings will need to consider whether at-home charging is a realistic option. If your particular apartment or condo complex does not provide a convenient vehicle charging option, you may find yourself spending significant time at your nearest recharging station.

A driver with one hand on the steering wheel of an electric vehicle

Beyond Tesla

With almost 70% of new EV sales in 2021 being attributed to Tesla, the company name has become synonymous with EV technology. Its model lineup has been both well-received by owners and well-reviewed by experts in the field, and long wait times confirm both interest and confidence in the brand.

An increased push into the EV space from traditional vehicle manufacturers, however, alongside offerings from entirely new companies, has led to new consumer choices in the EV market. It is also hoped that increased competition can help tackle the high prices associated with EVs as well as extend the range of EVs with advances in battery and other technology.

RELATED: 5 Tesla Alternatives That Won’t Break the Bank

Getting Electrified In New Mexico

Going electric in the Land of Enchantment presents a few unique issues for potential drivers. Weather conditions, rebates and current charging station infrastructure should be taken into consideration before parking your first EV in the driveway.

Climate Control

Dry, dusty and prone to bouts of extreme heat or cold, New Mexico’s climate provides its residents with a true four-season experience. While spring and fall in America’s southwest raise few serious issues for motorists, summer heat and winter freezes can have notable effects upon EVs.

According to a 2014 AAA study conducted with the AAA Automotive Research Center in Southern California, the average EV battery range dropped 57 percent when outside temperatures were held at 20°F. Hot temperatures did not have the same negative impact on range, but were observed to drop the average range from 105 miles to 69 miles at a test temperature of 95°F.

Incentives In New Mexico

Unfortunately, New Mexico lags behind other states in providing financial incentives for consumer purchases of EVs. A federal income tax of $7,500 still applies to buyers in New Mexico but consumers should be aware that this incentive begins to phase out after 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer, a milestone that has already been achieved by GM and Tesla.

RELATED: 4 Automakers Ask U.S. Government to Lift Cap on $7,500 EV Tax Credit

Some New Mexico EV owners can keep an eye out for one particular incentive, however. Power New Mexico and El Paso Electric are offering rebates towards the purchase of a qualifying Level 2 charging station. These efficient charging stations can reduce charge time, and often include wi-fi and other advanced features.

Building Out The Grid

Earlier this year, it was revealed that New Mexico had received $38 million over five years from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for the purposes of building EV charging stations in the state. With an expanding network of charging stations, it is believed that “range anxiety” can be relieved and that confidence in EV ownership can develop further.

Close view of electric vehicle cable inserted into charging port of electric vehicle

Let DNCU Borrow help get you behind the wheel today!

Regardless of what is powering your next vehicle, Del Norte Credit Union is the home of low rates for all rides. Take advantage of competitive rates on new and used vehicles by applying and signing online today, or call us at 877-818-DNCU (3628) to speak with a loan officer.

Looking for information on other types of vehicles, including RVs and powersports? Visit the DNCU Vehicles page for rates information, monthly payment calculators and more.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. For advice regarding your specific financial situation, please consult a financial planner or a trusted financial professional.