Tesla gets most of the headlines lately when it comes to electric vehicles. But there are all sorts of options out there, most of which will be a little kinder to your wallet.
To help drivers sort through the options, Sierra Club just launched an online Electric Vehicle Guide. Whether you’re going all electric or plug-in hybrid, the guide gives details on price, range, driving style and trunk space. A calculator to the side of the guide also finds local incentives, and there’s a link to a manufacturer’s website. It even speculates on whether the car will be around in 10 years.
The tool isn’t a deep dive into any car, but it’s a great starting point. It’s also not the only tool to help drivers understand the benefits of electric cars.
The U.S. Department of Energy just launched the eGallon calculator, which allows drivers to see how much they can save on fuel by using electricity instead of gasoline. An eGallon is the equivalent electricity needed to drive the same distance as a gallon of gas would take you (DOE estimates an average of 28.2 miles). In New York, for instance, a gallon of regular gas is about $3.70, while an eGallon will run about $1.80.
The eGallon can be a bit misleading, however. Electricity rates are more stable than gas prices, and many utilities with EV drivers are offering or considering variable pricing rates to charge the car at night for less.
It also doesn’t take into account free charging at some public places, like Walgreens, or the far lower lifetime maintenance costs of most electric vehicles. A recent study by EPRI, for instance, found that most EVs were within 10 percent of the lifetime cost of regular cars.
While the DOE explains that there are other environmental benefits to EVs, the Sierra Club goes one step further. Not only does the Electric Vehicle Guide give annual oil and carbon dioxide emission savings, it also has a link to the nonprofit’s Solar Homes website to see if solar is a good option for your home, which could help fuel your potential EV purchase.
Sierra Club, which is interested in the success of electric vehicles, is mostly upbeat in its assessment of the field of EVs. One category, “How fun is it to drive?” provides nearly unanimously enthusiastic quotes from car and technology magazine reviews for every car. There could be more fields, such as comfort or cool features; there is also no option for side-by-side comparisons.
Now if only Sierra Club would add in a guide to all the electric-vehicle home-charging stations on the market.