6 Signs You Paid Too Much for the Wrong Electric Car

Fremont, CA, USA - Feb 28, 2020: A car carrier trailer loaded with new Telsa electric vehicles parked by the roadside near Tesla Factory in Fremont, California.
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The electric car market is heating up, with new models, styles and features included every year from a variety of carmakers. You might be in the market to buy an electric vehicle (EV) yourself, thinking that with a little bit more money spent on the car itself that you are getting the most mileage for your buck in what you’d pay in gas costs. However, that’s not always the case.

“To avoid overpaying for the wrong electric car, it’s essential to conduct thorough research, read reviews, compare different models and perhaps even rent or test-drive a few options before making a final decision,” said John Ellmore from Electric Car Guide.

What are some signs you might have paid too much for the wrong electric car? Here’s what some automotive experts had to say.

Insufficient Range

Ellmore said that the most obvious sign the electric vehicle isn’t cost efficient is that it does not provide the necessary range for daily commutes or frequent journeys — “a clear sign might be if the range isn’t meeting your needs.”

“Constantly being worried about running out of battery or having to make extra stops just to recharge can be a real pain for drivers,” Ellmore added.

This is especially true for any drivers or EV owners who do not have a home charging station, instead relying on other locations to refuel their vehicle.

Make Your Money Work for You

“When you use an electric car daily and find yourself charging it from, let’s say, 20% to 80% frequently, you’re definitely juicing up your car more than you would with a traditional gas car,” said Steve May, founder of Number Plates 4 You Ltd. “If you’re able to charge at home, it’s not that big of a deal. But if you’re often depending on paid chargers away from home, it can be quite a hassle.”

Poor Warranty Coverage

One of the top selling points for buying an EV is the reputation for having lower maintenance costs compared to other vehicles with standard internal combustion engines. However, if you purchased an electronic vehicle that doesn’t offer a competitive warranty or comes with high maintenance fees, this could be a red flag that the deal you got was a bust.

“One of the most critical aspects of many electric vehicles is the comprehensive warranty, especially for the battery, which is one of the most expensive components,” said Ellmore. “If your EV has a warranty that is noticeably shorter or less inclusive than similar models in its price range, it could be a sign you didn’t get the best value for your money.”

Poor Thermal Management System

In extreme temperature changes, electric vehicles’ batteries tend to be more sensitive to change and therefore, more unreliable.

“A good electric car will have an effective thermal management system to keep the battery at an optimal temperature, ensuring efficiency and longevity,” Ellmore explained. “If your EV’s battery suffers from efficiency drops in extreme cold or heat or the lifespan of the battery seems compromised, this might be an indication of a subpar system, suggesting you might have overpaid for the vehicle’s real quality.”

Make Your Money Work for You

Slow Charging Time

How long is it taking you to charge your EV — an hour? Half a day? All night long? If your EV takes a longer time to charge compared to other cars in a similar class, that might be a clear sign you overpaid for a lackluster vehicle. 

“Modern EVs, especially those at a higher price point, should come equipped with fast-charging capabilities,” Ellmore said.

Lack of Features or Outdated Technology

If the car lacks features or technology that are standard in other EVs of the same price range, this might be a sign that one didn’t get good value for their money.

“For the amount spent, if your electric car lacks the technological features or comforts that are standard in similar models or price brackets, such as advanced driver-assistance systems or a comfortable interior, you might need to reevaluate your purchase,” said Patryk Doornebos, the owner of Car Triple.

This includes not just features related to infotainment and comfort. It also encompasses vital aspects of the vehicle, including the battery management systems, regenerative braking efficiency and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Faster Depreciation of Value

It’s well known that a vehicle, electric or not, drops significantly in value the moment it is driven off the lot. But if you check the current value of your EV and the dip seems higher than what you might expect, chances are it’s because you paid too much money for it.

“Electric cars, like all vehicles, depreciate,” Doornebos said. “However, if your car’s value drops significantly faster than comparable EVs in the market, it might be a sign you overpaid. This rapid decline might be due to factors like inferior technology, build quality or less efficient battery systems.”

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