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Asking For Help: Time To Buy a (an Electric) Car

Updated on December 3, 2014

Why am I Going with an EV

Let me count the ways:

  1. I love the quiet driving experience
  2. I generally only drive 10-20 miles
  3. I don't take long road trips
  4. I'm close to major forms of transportation
  5. I keep hearing about EV sales
  6. Federal Tax Credit of $7500
  7. Supposedly less maintenance
  8. Eco-friendly
  9. Makes me cool and hip
  10. Why not?

I'm Out There (in the Marketplace)

I'm going through a big transition in my life. I've moved lots of times, and have done the urban thing, as well as the suburban thing, and have decided to save rural living for the next decade or two.

I won't bore you with all the details as people move all the time because of jobs, relationships, or family members' needs. But once I saw the reality of all the changes coming up, there probably has never been a better time for me to have started writing on Hubpages and meeting this community. Obviously I'm still new to the HP family and have only started to connect with you, but given the opportunity, I have decided to ask for help.

I'm in the marketplace for a car, well specifically, an electric car. And I need all the help I can get to make the right decision. And rather than leaning on the car salesperson or online reviews, I figured some of you must have an EV, so please help me.

EV Chevy Volt

EV Chevy Volt
EV Chevy Volt | Source

My Expected Driving Experience

I've been able to get by without a car for years being near the city. I've hopped on buses, caught the subway and called up the taxi service when needed. But now that I'm moving further out and to a new neighborhood, I will need a car. Here's what I'm looking at:

  • 25 miles to the nearest big city
  • 30 miles to the local sports team
  • 30 miles to the big concert location
  • 15 miles to a great downtown area with boutiques and restaurants
  • 10 miles to the mall and some chain restaurants I will frequent
  • 5 miles to grocery store
  • Less than 5 miles for the pharmacy, hospital, and local schools

Based on an expected round trip distance of 60 miles (+- 10) I realized that I had the option of going with an electric car. I've done some homework on range, and range anxiety, but feel like 60 is probably well within the reach of a decent EV.

I've looked at non-EVs of course, and after looking past the unattractive hybrids and the vanilla family sedans, I also crossed off SUVs and sporty cars.

I need great gas mileage, I'm not driving far, and so I'm leaning electric.

EV Nissan Leaf

EV Nissan Leaf
EV Nissan Leaf | Source

EVs on Sale

The other part of the equation of course is the deal. After all, I am Deal For A Living. Duh~

First things first, buying an electric vehicle with a range of at least 60 miles seems to qualify for the $7500 federal tax credit. So while I think electric vehicles are probably a little overpriced up front, if we take off the $7500 then it's a lot more doable.

For example, take the Chevy Volt:

Starts at $35k - $7.5k federal tax credit = $27.5k before additional sales and promotions.

While doing some research on and reading through local incentives, I saw more good news. One EV I'm considering (Ford Focus Electric) has a $6,000 cash incentive on top of the regular federal tax credit. The Volt has 0% financing so if I decide to go that route, then I won't be paying thousands in interest. And the cute little Chevy Spark EV had a combination of cash back and low APR. It seems like I can't go wrong!

Chevy Spark EV Review

The Prime Suspects

Right now my EV short list looks something like this:

  1. Chevy Volt
  2. Nissan Leaf
  3. Chevy Spark
  4. Ford Focus Electric
  5. C-Max Energi
  6. BMW i3
  7. Mercedes B-Class Electric

In a perfect world, those bottom two would be higher on the list but price is a big concern. The same of course would apply to the Tesla Model S and the Cadillac ELR. Of course if I win the lottery then I'll have to redo this list into something like this:

  1. Tesla Model S
  2. BMW i8
  3. BMW i3
  4. Cadillac ELR
  5. Mercedes B-Class Electric
  6. Fiat 500e
  7. Chevy Volt
  8. Nissan Leaf

One can dream, right?

My EV Future

My EV Future
My EV Future | Source

Which EV should I get?

Which EV should I get?

See results

Analyzing my Top 3

After a few test drives and a healthy amount of research, here's my thinking behind my top 3:

3. Chevy Spark

The torque-weight ration of the Chevy Spark is incredible, which promises fun driving. I've had cars in the past that barely registered anything unless you went pedal to the metal, so having a vehicle with some pep is high on my priority list. Also, since I don't need a large vehicle, I don't want to pay for one either. The federal tax credit takes the biggest bite out of the Spark because of the lower sales price, and it qualifies for the CA state incentives as well. Really great bang for the buck.

But, it doesn't look great... heck, it doesn't look good. If I'm generous, then I can say it's cute. If I'm honest, the looks are almost a dealbreaker.

2. Nissan Leaf

Buying a 3rd year version of new technology has to be safer than being the early adopter, right? That's a big reason why America's most popular EV is #2 on my list as of right now. It's smooth on the roads, predictably slow and has enough range for my needs. It looks OK and the price is right for an honest-to-goodness 5 seater.

But, it's unexciting. When you're staring at $30k+ for a car (before the federal tax incentives, of course) you want to be really proud of the way your car looks and performs. I shouldn't feel the way I felt when I got my first used Chevy Beretta.

1. Chevy Volt

It does so many things well, and the proof is in the pudding: Chevy Volt has the higher customer satisfaction of any vehicle. It's a limited-range EV that also runs on gas so I don't have to deal with range anxiety. AND it's a looker as far I'm concerned. A smooth customer on the roads with lots of new tech and futuristic styling...

BUT, no power driver seat. Why? Why? Why? Is it because the power seat would use too much of the battery needed to drive the car? It's nonsense and it's the one chink in the armor for this luxury car starting at $35k.

One Can Dream: ELR

One Can Dream: ELR
One Can Dream: ELR | Source

About DealForALiving

I believe that being frugal and making smart money choices is like any other exercise. As we continue to practice good habits in saving money where possible, finding deals for what we want, and having a good time at it, then we become better at dealing for a living.

I'm committed to sharing my experiences with getting the most out of using credit cards, saving and spending tips, and I might even add a slice of perspective without trying to be a psychoanalyst like some other personal finance folks out there.

Please let me know what you think and if you'd like to hear my take on a specific topic.

Most Sincerely,


PS. I've also started writing on my own site:

Asking For Help

So now you know... I'm thinking about 3 cars in particular and they're all EVs. If you've come across them, driven them, or hate them, please let me know why so I can make the best decision.

These kind of big financial decisions only come along once every 5 years or so, and I need your help. Thanks~




DealForALiving | Source


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I have found a design flaw in the shift lever. Twice I have pincehd my finger on the shift lever. The release button is made so that unless one wraps your entire hand around it but just the fingers it will pinch.Kay Bloom

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      4 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I'd love to have an electric, but at this point, only as a second family vehicle. Until there's more of an infrastructure for electrics all over the country, I wouldn't want to be dependent on one as my only car.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I don't have enough knowledge, either, but when I do decide to boy, I'll likely go with a toyota prius. Birding trips will be a must periodically, which will be further than what you're wanting to do, so I can't go electric.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Can't argue with that - you get terrific mileage in a Prius. If you were a bit closer to the city then the Volt sounds like it might meet your needs well. Thanks for commenting!

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      4 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi, I would have got one of these cars but the range is no good for me as I live in the country and even though I live only 2 miles from town the city is 32 miles form me. Instead I bought a Prius and get 50 miles to a gallon. It has been a great car.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Glad I could help - sounds like a perfect option for your situation.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      You have me thinking about this option. I only need a car to get me back and forth to the grocery now and then. This will work for me. Thanks for the information - very useful.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hmm! Electric cars are not for every individual.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for stopping by Nell! I appreciate you saying hello~

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi, sorry I have no ideas at all about an Electric car, I have only ever seen them on TV, but it's a great idea! Hope you find the one you are looking for, nell

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      It is a sweet car for sure. It's also a lot of car so it's probably overkill for me, but in a perfect world, why not?

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Ooh, I like the sound of white leather heated seats! Sounds like you got a great fully loaded CRV at a great price so congrats! I'm going to wade in slowly I think, and if it takes a few more months of research and test drives then that's what I'll do.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for the encouragement! I've been on the sidelines with electric vehicles as they work out the kinks and now seems like as good a time as any to take the deep dive.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 

      4 years ago from Jamaica

      My favorite pick is the Tesla Model S. I think it is the best built EV hands down.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Thank's for sharing this with us. I don't think i will go electric but one never knows for sure. I just this week bought a Honda CRV and I love it, it's white with leather seats that warm up and a sunroof, got a really good deal. Good luck with your choice and I hope you like it, if not you can always trade it in on something you like.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      4 years ago from Ljubljana

      Electric cars are not the perfect solution and they have to go a long way before they catch the appeal of some classic vehicles, but I believe they are the future of transportation. I hope you'll find your match and write additional review when you'll have some more experience from first hand.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thanks Frank! I need all the good luck I can get.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      hey deal.. im a gas man haven't really even thought about an electric car yet.. good luck :)

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thank you for stopping by annart! Here in the US the electric vehicles are still relatively expensive but federal and state incentives have made them somewhat affordable. I wish it were the same case everywhere else in the world.

      The closer I get to the final decision the more I wanted to just ask my new friends here on Hubpages for advice since we have some really honest and experienced folks with strong opinions.

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thank you for the encouraging words!

    • DealForALiving profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for sharing~ So far it's the best car I've tried that won't cost me both arms or legs...

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      I can't give much advice either, I'm afraid. Here in Britain they're trying to persuade us to buy electric but even with cash incentives they're all still way too expensive and they haven't organised anywhere near enough charge points to make it work - ridiculous!

      I'd go on the usual criteria for buying a car. Is it safe? Is it economical? Is it good to drive? Is it comfortable?

      It's good to ask for help here. This community is kind and supportive and a place where I have made lots of valued friends.

      I hope you manage to make your choice and that it all goes well. Great to support environmentally friendly technology.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wish I could help DealForALiving but I don't have enough knowledge of these cars to offer advice. You have to weigh the pros and cons up for yourself eg. Looks vs grunt vs reliability etc. The Leaf looks better than the Spark, but it sounds like the Volt will be the more exciting to own. I hope you get some educated advice here. Good hub, and I admire your decision to go electric.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image


      4 years ago from Kansas

      My son has his mind set on a Chevy Volt. Not sure I'm there yet.


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