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Considering Going Electric? First Ask an EV Driver

Thinking about purchasing or leasing an electric car? The only way to get the real story is to speak directly to an electric vehicle (EV) driver.

EV owners are the most knowledgeable resources when it comes to questions like how much it costs to charge, what the maintenance costs are, and whether to go all-electric or plug-in hybrid. They love to share their real-world driving experiences, and there are many places to find these willing information sources — even if you don’t know one personally.

The best electric car tips will come from an EV driver in your community. They can tell you if your local electric utility has special rates to help keep your electric bill low when you plug in, or what the costs were like to install solar. If you both live in an apartment, they can share how they got charging installed at their apartment community. They can also describe the availability of public charging stations and how to access them.

Word of mouth

It’s getting easier to find a local EV driver. In September 2021, cumulative sales of electric cars in the United States hit 2.13 million, and word-of-mouth advertising is one prominent reason why EV sales have steadily increased. In one study of 5,000 Tesla Model 3 owners, 99 percent said they would recommend the car to family and colleagues. Such high remarks prove the success of a word-of-mouth model, given that Tesla doesn’t advertise.

If you don’t already know someone who knows someone, there are a few places to find a knowledgeable EV driver. The all-volunteer nonprofit Electric Vehicle Association was founded on the premise of sharing the benefits of driving electric one-on-one in their communities and in a zero-pressure environment. There are 100 chapters throughout the United States, and their events and meetings are free. You can also use public charging locator apps like PlugShare to point you to the closest public charging station — often a grocery store, shopping center, or business parking lot — and meet drivers pulling in for a charge. They’ll often be willing to answer your questions, and you’ll soon realize that hearing these real-life experiences will make you confident that your next car will be electric.

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