5 Outdated Myths About Buying and Owning Electric Cars

If you still haven’t made the leap from your gas-guzzling car to an electric vehicle — or EV — what’s stopping you? There are a lot of exciting new EVs on the market, from sports cars to pickup trucks, from a wide variety of automakers.

More people than ever are considering EVs the next time they shop for cars — 37 percent in fact, according to Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief at Cars.com who was a panelist at the first annual Chicago Drives Electric event in late 2022.

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A similar survey by Consumer Reports (its largest ever on the topic) found that more than a third of respondents said they’d consider buying an EV if certain barriers weren’t holding them back.

If that sounds like you, we’re here to help dispel some of those outdated myths that might be keeping you from finally going electric.

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Myth 1. EVs Are Too Hard to Charge

Charging an EV isn’t as simple as filling up a car with gas or diesel. That takes just minutes, and charging and EV takes time — and you need a charging station. The most convenient place to charge is at home, but if you live somewhere like a townhouse or condo where that’s not possible, you have to plan to charge elsewhere. That’s not always convenient, but it’s not impossible.

That’s because if you live near a major metro area, it’s easy to find EV chargers. There are currently more than 160,000 chargers in the United States — that number increased more in 2022 than in the three previous years combined. Tesla has more than 1,400 Supercharger stations in the United States and Mercedes-Benz just announced it is creating a network of charging hubs with 2,500 usable plug-in chargers throughout North America.

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Still, the U.S. needs more, especially in rural areas where charging infrastructure can be hard to find. But it will get better, says Sam Abuelsamid, a principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights and an expert on the EV industry.

“The charging infrastructure situation is improving both from an availability and reliability perspective, but it’s still not as good as it should be,” Abuelsamid says via email. “Five hundred thousand new public chargers will be added over the next several [years] through funding from the infrastructure bill.” Abuelsamid is referring to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will spend $5 billion over the next five years on EV charging infrastructure across the country.

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Myth 2. The Range Is Too Short on Full Charge

A big deterrent for buyers is the range on EVs is too short on a single battery charge. That was true when EVs first hit the market, but there have been major advancements in battery life since.

For instance, the 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric has a range of about 258 miles (415 kilometers). The 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5, which has an MSRP of $42,785, can go even further: about 303 miles (487.6 kilometers).

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The Tesla Model S still has one of the longest ranges on the market at 396 miles (637 kilometers). The longest range, luxury electric car on the market, though, is the Lucid Air. When fully charged, it can drive 516 miles (830 kilometers), but that comes with a whopping price tag of $138,000.

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Myth 3. Dealers Don’t Have EVs

The coronavirus pandemic has shown us a lot about how people buy cars — namely that they want more options. Even though some consumers have responded positively to the car-buying process online, Newman says Cars.com’s research found 73 percent of consumers want to test drive and purchase EVs at local dealerships.

That means car salespersons and dealerships need to have EVs on the lots. And they do, technically speaking, but we agree they don’t really “sell” them. And by that we mean market them. The reality is that dealerships don’t do enough to help educate potential buyers about EVs, and the cars tend to be few and far between in dealer showrooms, even when they make up a growing part of brands’ lineups. Sometimes it’s hard for consumers to even find an EV to test drive.

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Abuelsamid says that car shortages of the past few years haven’t always been the fault of dealerships, but they can do more to promote EVs.

“The attitude of many dealers that seem reluctant to push EVs is also a challenge,” Abuelsamid says. “With many new EVs coming to market over the next couple of years and production volume ramping dramatically, automakers are pushing dealers to make substantial investments in EV training, support and equipment, which hopefully will in turn lead to better attitudes from dealers hoping to sell EVs.”

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Myth 4. Electric Cars Are Boring to Drive

First, if you haven’t driven an EV, go drive one then get back to us before you say they’re boring. Because in a zero to 60 mph (zero to 96.5 kph) race, an electric Mustang Mach-E will smoke a gas-powered Mustang every time. That’s because EVs are quicker on the start than their gas-powered counterparts.

“Giving people the opportunity to actually test drive an EV has been shown to be the most impactful thing that converts consumers from EV doubters to intenders,” Abuelsamid says. “It’s very hard to verbally communicate the way that EVs feel when you step on the accelerator, but [getting] butts in seats works virtually every time.”

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Of course, not all EVs are as lightning fast as a Mach-E or Tesla Model S, but they’re all peppier than most doubters expect. And if it’s powerful towing capacity you’re looking for, EV trucks like the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning, 2023 All-Electric Chevrolet Silverado and 2023 Rivian R1T, all pack a mighty punch, too.

Myth 5. EV Tax Credits and Rebates Are Too Much Hassle

It’s true, the available tax credits, rebates and incentives for buying an EV can be complicated. But they’re improving, too. In some states, for example, dealerships process rebates during the time of sale, so buyers save on the purchase price immediately instead of when they file at tax time. This will become the standard process starting in 2024 thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022.

But the Inflation Reduction Act made other changes, too. Some provisions will eliminate many EVs that previously qualified for tax credits. The Act also restricts where their battery components can be sourced.

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There’s sound reasoning behind these decisions, but they don’t make it easier for consumers to figure out how to collect federal and state tax credits and rebates. In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center website lists all available incentives by state to make it easier until 2024.

Almost 60 percent of those surveyed by Consumer Reports said purchase prices were what prevented them from buying an EV. That could be because many EVs are produced by luxury brands like Tesla, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. But some EVs are very affordable, including the 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric, which has a starting MSRP of $33,550.

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