Electric vehicles: Is it time to make the switch?

With electric cars becoming more common, should you get one too?

Electric vehicles (EVs) have been around for a while now, but only in recent years have they become more mainstream. With the rise of climate change concerns and the need for sustainable transportation, more people are considering switching to electric. 

But with different alternatives out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Are EVs truly worth the investment? What are the climate benefits, and how do they compare to gas-powered cars? How do we navigate the political landscape surrounding EVs? And what should we consider when purchasing an EV? We’ll take a deep dive into the world of EVs and answer these questions and more.                                                                               

Electric vehicle options 

There are a few different types of electric cars to consider. The most common ones are Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). Each type has pros and cons, and it’s important to understand these differences before deciding.                               

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs)                                             

BEVs are fully electric vehicles that rely entirely on a battery for power. These vehicles have no internal combustion engine and are powered solely by an electric motor. BEVs have become increasingly popular recently as battery technology has improved and charging infrastructure has expanded.



  • They have a limited range. While newer models can travel 300 miles on a single charge, this range can be reduced in colder weather or when using features such as air conditioning or heating. 
  • Charging infrastructure is still limited in some areas, meaning long-distance travel can be challenging.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)

PHEVs combine an electric motor with an internal combustion engine. These vehicles have a smaller battery than BEVs and can operate on gasoline when the battery runs out of charge. PHEVs are an attractive option for people who want the benefits of electric power but need the flexibility of a gasoline-powered car.


  • They are flexible. These cars usually use electric power for short trips and then switch to gasoline for longer distances. This means PHEV owners can take longer trips without worrying about charging infrastructure. 
  • PHEVs typically are less expensive than BEVs, making them a good option for budget-conscious buyers.


  • They have a limited electric range. Most PHEVs can only travel around 20-35 miles on a single charge before switching to gasoline power. This range can be limiting for people who frequently travel long distances and want to limit their emissions.
  • PHEVs can be less efficient than BEVs, meaning that their operating costs may be higher.

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)

FCEVs use hydrogen fuel cells to power an electric motor. These vehicles are less common than BEVs and PHEVs but offer some unique benefits.


  • One of the biggest advantages of FCEVs is their long range. These vehicles can travel up to 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, making them a good option for long-distance travel. 
  • FCEVs produce zero emissions, so they are an attractive option for people concerned about the environment.                                                                                                            


  • They have limited availability and currently have limited infrastructure for refueling.
  • FCEVs can be more expensive than BEVs or PHEVs, making them less accessible for budget-conscious buyers.                                                                                                                                                           
Electric vehicle
An electric vehicle is attached to a charging hose during a 2021 display at Washington’s Union Station before a news conference on White House efforts to increase spending to support EV production and usage. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Political and environmental aspects of electric vehicles

The electric vehicle industry is not just driven by consumer demand. Political and environmental factors play a significant role in the growth of the industry. Governments worldwide have been implementing policies and incentives to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.                           

In the United States, for example, the federal government offers tax credits of up to $7,500 to purchase new electric cars. Some states offer additional incentives, such as rebates or free parking for electric vehicles. These policies have helped to make electric vehicles more accessible for consumers and have contributed to the industry’s growth.

The environmental benefits of electric cars are also significant. In the U.S., transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and electric cars can help to reduce these emissions.       

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the emissions from an electric vehicle are significantly lower than those from a gasoline-powered vehicle. Additionally, electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions, meaning they can help improve air quality in urban areas.

Kamala Harris tours electric vehicles
Vice President Kamala Harris (right) talks with Mahl Reddy, CEO of Sema Connect, an electric vehicle infrastructure company. They were next to a charging station in Maryland’s Prince George’s County Brandywine Maintenance Facility in December 2021. While charging infrastructure has expanded, it is still limited in some areas. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Things to consider when buying an electric vehicle   

If you’re considering buying an electric car, there are several factors that you should consider. These include range, charging infrastructure, battery life and cost.

  • Range: The range of an electric vehicle is one of the most important factors to think about. If you frequently travel long distances, you’ll want a vehicle with a longer range. However, a shorter range may be sufficient if you primarily use your vehicle for brief trips around town.
  • Charging Infrastructure: While charging infrastructure is expanding, it can be limited in some areas. Before purchasing an electric car, consider the availability of charging stations in your area and along your typical travel routes.
  • Battery Life: Over time, the capacity of the battery will degrade, meaning the range of the vehicle will be reduced. Consider the warranty on the battery and the expected lifespan before buying.
  • Cost: The cost of an electric car is of course an important factor. While electric cars can be more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicles to purchase, the operating costs are typically lower. When comparing the cost of electric vehicles, consider the total cost of ownership over the vehicle’s lifespan, including fuel costs, maintenance and repairs.


Electric vehicles are an exciting and rapidly growing segment of the automotive world, offering an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles. Whether you’re a first-time EV buyer or just curious about the technology, it’s important to know the different types of electric vehicles available and the pros and cons to consider. Understanding these factors will let you make an informed decision about whether an electric vehicle is right for you.