If you’re looking for a new family car, you might be interested in electric vehicles (EVs) for their eco-friendly design. Of course, EVs are different from traditional cars, so there are some considerations you’ll need to keep in mind before signing the dotted line. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of EVs, the factors you should consider, the best family-friendly electric vehicles, and tips for transitioning to the EV lifestyle.
Benefits of Electric Cars for Families
Electric vehicles offer several benefits that can be useful for your family, including:
- Environmental advantages and reduced carbon footprint: Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, if you use renewable energy such as solar or wind, you’ll help further reduce your family’s carbon footprint.
- Cost savings: While an EV’s upfront costs can be a lot, there’s potential for long-term savings. For one, electricity is generally a cheaper fuel than gasoline. Secondly, maintenance costs are significantly lower since EVs lack several parts found in gas-powered cars — e.g., an engine, fuel filter, motor oil, etc.
- Rebate and incentives opportunities: Federal and state incentives help reduce the cost of buying or leasing an electric vehicle. If you purchase a new, qualified electric vehicle, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. To see if there are rebates or incentives where you live, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.
- Safety: Electric vehicles provide plenty of safety for you and your family. Due to the battery’s location and heaviness, an EV provides a lower center of gravity, enhancing stability and reducing the risk of rollovers. Plus, EVs offer several advanced safety features, including collision avoidance systems, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
- Enjoyable rides: For road trips and commutes, gas-powered cars can be noisy and bumpy. On the other hand, EVs offer an incredibly quiet and smooth ride, giving you and your family a more peaceful driving experience.
Key Factors When Choosing an Electric Car for Family Use
When shopping for electric family vehicles, keep in mind these key factors:
Range refers to the number of miles an electric vehicle can travel on a fully charged battery. When choosing a car, it’s important to consider your daily driving distance. If you only drive a few miles a day to drop the kids off at school and run errands, a short-range EV may be suitable for you. However, if you have a long work commute, a long-range EV would better suit your lifestyle.
Charging Infrastructure and Options
Another factor you should consider is EV charging, which includes three options:
- Level 1 charging: Most new EVs come with a Level 1 charger, allowing you to plug your vehicle into a standard 120-volt outlet. While this option is easy and convenient, charging times are slow, typically 3 to 5 miles of range per hour. If you’re driving less than 40 miles per day, a Level 1 charger may be suitable for your needs.
- Level 2 charging: Level 2 charging is much faster than Level 1 charging, providing 25 to 30 miles of range per hour. However, it requires a 240-volt power source, meaning you must hire a licensed electrician to install this charger in your home.
- DC fast charging: DC fast charging is the quickest type of charging, offering up to 250 miles of range per hour. These chargers are only available at public locations, such as rest stops, shopping centers, and office buildings. Additionally, not every EV is compatible with DC fast charging stations, so keep that in mind when shopping for a vehicle.
If your home has a garage, carport, or another location where you can charge your EV, you can easily use a Level 1 or 2 charger to fuel your car. However, if charging your EV at home isn’t possible, public charging stations are your next best option.
Interior Space and Seating Capacity
When it comes to interior space, choose a vehicle that best suits your family’s needs. If you only have one child, a sedan may provide the space and cargo needed to accommodate your lifestyle. However, if you have two or more children, consider getting a crossover or SUV to give your family plenty of space and comfortability. .
Safety Features and Ratings
Everyone wants to keep their family safe, so it’s important to look into the safety features and ratings on various vehicles. Research vehicles are equipped with key safety features such as forward collision assistance, rearview cameras, stability control systems, regenerative braking, and blind spot monitoring. For safety ratings, Kelley Blue Book is an excellent resource for researching highly rated electric vehicles.
Budget and Total Cost of Ownership
According to Kelley Blue Book, the average purchase price for EVs was $53,469 in July 2023, over $5,000 more than their gas-powered counterparts. But as mentioned earlier, the cost of electricity vs. gas, low maintenance requirements, and opportunities for tax credits and rebates help provide potential long-term savings. For more information, check out our EV buying guide and buying a used EV blog.
Top Electric Cars Suitable for Families
According to U.S. News and World Report, the following are the best electric vehicles for families:
- 2023 Kia EV6
- 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5
- 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E
- 2023 Volkswagen ID.4
- 2023 Nissan Ariya
- 2023 Toyota bZ4x
- 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Tips for Transitioning to an Electric Car Lifestyle
Switching from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle can be a bit of an adjustment, but if you follow these tips, you can make the transition seamless:
- Don’t overcharge your battery: EV batteries work similarly to smartphone batteries in that overcharging — i.e., fully charging them to 100% every time — can significantly reduce the battery’s lifespan. A good rule of thumb to follow is to charge the battery to around 80% and wait until the battery reaches 10 to 20% before charging it again.
- Understand your car’s range: Learn more about your EV’s estimated range and how driving habits, temperature, and terrain can affect it. Over time, you’ll become more confident in managing your range.
- Download EV apps: Electric charging stations aren’t as conspicuous as gas stations, so downloading a few apps like PlugShare, ChargePoint, and EVgo can help locate nearby charging stations when you’re out on the road.
- Optimize your home charging: If you can charge your EV at home, take advantage of off-peak electricity rates to help you save on electricity.
From lower maintenance requirements and reduced emissions, to a quieter, smoother ride, the benefits of electric vehicles are undeniable. Making the transition to an EV could be a rewarding decision for you and your family, so consider researching and exploring your options to find a car that suits your family’s needs and budget. Don’t forget that you’ll need auto insurance for your new EV, so consider Mercury for the best-in-class coverage at an affordable rate.