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Electric Vehicle information for Atlanta and Georgia

EV basics fact sheet and EV market guide

EV-market-and-basicsThis Electric Vehicles fact sheet (PDF, 250 kB) serves as an intro to EVs. The first page summarizes the cars available on the market now, and the second page goes through the basics of electric vehicles. If you do just one thing while visiting this website, do this: grab this PDF and take a long look at it later.

There are over a dozen plug-in cars on the Georgia market! Everyone knows about the Nissan Leaf because it’s cheap and ubiquitous, and most people know about the Tesla models because of the cutting edge technology and insane performance, but between those two extremes there are now plenty of other plug-in cars to choose from. Click on the PDF to see what they are.

April 2019 update note

This fact sheet gets updated 2-3 times a year. A few highlights from this update:

– The EV grid has been revamped to show 0-60 MPH times instead of horsepower. The power (in kilowatts or kW) of the electric drivetrain is THE differentiator of these cars, but just looking at a horsepower number doesn’t make much sense if you aren’t also looking at the weight of the car. For example, the BMW i3 a very quick car, not just because it has a particularly powerful electric drivetrain, but because it is also an extremely light car. Therefore 0-60 time is a better indicator of how fast the car is. Note that ALL electric cars are very quick, likely far quicker than any gas economy car you’ve ever driven in.

– The EV grid has a new column for “DCFC power”. DC Fast Charging power is how much power (in kW) that the car can absorb when charging at one of these stations. The first generation EVs (well, the non-Tesla ones) all drew around 50 kW, which is OK but still a bit too slow for roadtrip use. With the advent of longer range EVs, faster DCFC stations have come out that offer over 100 kW of charging power — up to 350 kW in some cases! Therefore the car is now becoming the bottleneck. If you are buying an EV, not just leasing, pay attention to this number because you will be living with it for the life of the car.

– The Kia Soul and Niro models are about to arrive! While these are generally low-volume cars intended only for California and other CARB states, we are lucky to be getting them in Georgia because of Kia’s huge factory in our state. The Niro has been getting great reviews and the Soul likely will too. Both offer 200+ mile range and 100+ kW DCFC.

– The Tesla Model 3 is the most anticipated EV of all time and already a wild sales success. Hundreds of thousands of units have been sold, and that’s before the car has even been launched in all of the world’s major markets and with zero advertising. In the USA, thousands of budget-minded fans who were waiting for the $35,000 version on the Model 3 finally got their chance when Tesla launched the “standard range” model at that long-promised price point in early 2019. After the federal tax credit of $7.5k, this resulted in a $27.5k entry price, a startlingly low price for such a massively capable car. However, it didn’t last long, and within two months Tesla was already making moves to quietly discontinue the very cheapest version. Couple that price increase with the reduced federal tax credit that Tesla cars qualify for, the entry price for a Model 3 (after tax credit) has now jumped up to $35.8k, and after June 30th will increase further to $37.6k. If you want a $35,000 Tesla, you probably missed your chance, but the truth is that it was a stripped car and hardly anyone ever actually bought one, instead choosing the “Standard Plus” version that added several features and that is now the effective entry point.

– The Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid EV has finally earned its way out of the fine print at the bottom on onto the PHEV grid. The PP is still difficult to get in Georgia, since dealers generally don’t stock it and so you must special order it. But nationwide it’s selling very well, and that Prius brand has a mindlock on a lot of people, so it’s worked its way up.

– Two “compact SUVs” or CUVs are about to arrive in Georgia: the Audio etron SUV and the Jaguar i-Pace. Both will offer 200+ mile range and 100+ kW, meeting the bare minimum that the EV market now requires, in the luxury SUV package that US buyers love.

I continue to discourage buying any new EV — I still recommend that you lease new but buy used, and this is especially true for the models just launched, which at the very least are having the bugs worked out of them. Further, though, some manufacturers are being dragged kicking and screaming into this electric age, and if you BUY one of their cars you could be stuck with no support after their warranty expires. Lease new, or buy used (bargains). See the leasing page on this website for more guidance.

Some of the car pages on this website (linked on the right side) have detailed information about finding a great value in a used EV. When evaluating a specific car that’s listed for sale, it can be difficult figuring out exactly which options the car is equipped with. The seller may have provided insufficient photos, or some features can only be discerned from photos if you know exactly what to look for. The “used advice” information on the car pages is to help you research specific cars. As of April 2019, I have added used information to the Nissan Leaf page, the BMW i3 page and the Chevy Volt page. I’ll work on a Tesla page next, providing guidance on buying a used Tesla (you sure don’t need another website telling you about new Teslas).

Think about this for a minute … How much are you spending on gasoline in your old car right now? How about for maintenance? (EVs have almost zero maintenance costs.) Now, have you ever actually driven an EV? Prepare to be wowed.