Buying an electric vehicle: The pros and cons as gas prices remain high

Have high gas prices led to you searching for information on electric vehicles? FOX 32 Chicago went looking for the pros and cons to going with an EV.

"They are shocked by the immediate torque and ability to accelerate," said Brett Smith, the Director of Technology for the Center for Automotive Research.

Smith says electric vehicles are fun to drive and also quiet.

"We’ve had about 120 years of gasoline engine development. We’ve had about 10 years of this generation of battery of electric vehicles," said Smith.

EVs tend to have cool designs and features. The Ford F-150 Lightning can even be used as a generator for your house.

You will have to wait for your electric vehicle. Some dealers are reporting wait times of more than two years.


Let’s go over the cost. While it will save you gas now, it will cost you extra.

"For consumers who often think about what is my monthly payment, not how much am I going to save over time, that first hurdle of it's going to cost me six-eight-ten thousand dollars more to buy, that’s a huge step for most of us," said Smith.

The cheapest electric cars right now are the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf — around $27,000 to $28,000 but there are tax credits.

States have incentives and some cars qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

With electric cars, there is less maintenance and no oil changes but you will spend more — a lot more — time charging the battery instead of paying a visit to the pump.

"If you're the kind of person who is not very good at planning ahead and not very good at remembering to plug in your car, you're going to have some friction," said John Crane, the president of Hawk Auto. He says even the turbochargers will take at least 15 minutes to juice your next 200 miles.

And those batteries? They are finicky. You will lose power in extreme weather, so heads u[ during Chicago’s July heat or January’s frozen tundra.


In addition, if you charge your phone, turn on the radio or temperature control, it will deplete your battery.

"Nothing scarier than grabbing your electric car and thinking you've got 150 miles in range and then you throw the AC on and 10 minutes later you've got 110 miles of range," said Crane.

There are certainly pros and cons to buying electric. More expensive and time spent charging, but fast and less maintenance.

Still, at least for now, EVs seem to be the wave of the future.

"There's 10 states in the union already that by 2030, at least 50% of everything must be electric," said Crane.

Environmentally speaking, electric vehicles have pros, but the materials for the batteries still need to be mined and there’s no good solution for recycling the batteries.

Not ready to go full electric? Our experts suggest hybrids. There’s a lot of options, but at a lower cost and still the freedom of using gas.