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Is it Time to Make the Switch to an Electric Car or Hybrid?

Brian Moody, Executive Editor for Autotrader, walks us through some simple steps to take before purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle.

Thinking about buying an electric car or a hybrid? Auto manufacturers are ramping up the models and the selections you have, but what do you need to know before making your purchase?

Answering a few questions before you begin the car shopping process can certainly help. Brian Moody, Executive Editor for Autotrader and monthly contributor to YurView’s Creative Living show, walks us through some simple steps you can take before you sign on the dotted line.

Watch the video segment above, or read the full transcription we’ve provided below. (lightly edited for clarity)

Autotrader, Electric car or hybrid?

Test Driving an Electric Car

Brian Moody, Executive Editor of Autotrader (00:09) – When it comes to buying an electric car, there are a couple things to keep in mind. Electric cars for the most part, they work like a normal gasoline powered car, but they do feel slightly different. So going for a test drive in an electric car is super important before you make that final decision.

electric car

Range, Price and Space

BM (00:26) – But in addition to that, there are a few things to balance. You’re going to have to balance price, range and space. Most electric cars are smaller than, say, the average truck or SUV. So you have to consider those three things if you’re serious about putting an electric car in your driveway.

Autotrader, Electric car or hybrid?

What Are Your Needs?

BM (00:43) – The first thing you have to do is be realistic about how you use your car. And I would advise this of people, even if they’re buying a gasoline powered car, or a hybrid, or whatever it is – figure out what your needs are. Because there’s no point in getting a car of any kind, then getting it home and finding out… oh my gosh, my dog won’t fit or my child booster seat is too hard to put in.

So if you’re serious about a certain kind of a car, whether it’s electric or gas powered, bring your stuff to the dealership and say – I need to really get my life into this car. And let’s just see if that will work or not. That’s one way of doing it.

But also, be realistic about how much you drive every day. If you drive 100 plus miles each way, every day, you’re going to need something that can accommodate that. But if not, you know, something maybe smaller or lesser could work for you.

Electric car or hybrid?

Electric Car or Hybrid?

BM (01:31) – Hybrids are going to be less expensive, and they work more traditionally. So a traditional hybrid, let’s just say the Honda Accord Hybrid. It’s the kind of a car that uses gasoline and electricity, but you never plug it in. You just gas it up and you drive it like a regular car. The engine and the brakes develop some electricity so it uses that in long distance driving or when you’re in a parking lot to get great gas mileage. So hybrids are less expensive. But electric cars can run fully on electricity. You never have to go to a gas station ever again.

BM (02:04) – One of the reservations I have about electric cars and buying them used is that you want to make sure that there’s a warranty. So let’s just say worst case scenario, you buy a gasoline powered car, and the engine or the transmission just completely shot and you didn’t know it. Well, you’re going to be out, you know, maybe the most a couple thousand dollars. Maybe you can use your credit card. It’s not the end of the world.

If an all electric car fails, and the batteries are completely spent, that’s very expensive. And it might be cost prohibitive to repair that car. So make sure that you get a warranty when you buy a used electric car.

Photo Courtesy: Volvo Car Corporation

Best Electric Cars for 2021

BM (02:41) – We have our list of best electric cars for 2021. And we picked 10 cars that we think are the best of the best. And the criteria we set for that is that the car had to have a plug. So we did not include hybrids, other than plug-in hybrid.

There are two different kinds of hybrids – gasoline electric hybrids or a plug-in hybrid, which uses electricity part of the time. Our rules were the car has to have a plug, and it has to be available within the next six months. So we came up with a list that has some, I think really great cars. And if the average person were to drive them, I think they would agree.

For more information, visit autotrader.com.