Should a Low Mileage Driver Buy an Electric Car?

Should a Low Mileage Driver Buy an Electric Car?

Last Updated on February 9, 2024

One of the biggest questions people have is whether or not it’s worth buying an electric car if you only drive short distances. Maybe its because you live in an apartment with only side street parking with no charging stations. Should a low mileage driver buy an electric car?

Whatever your concerns might be, the short answer is yes, an electric car might be right up your alley even for short distance drivers.

Consider today’s electric cars have a range of no less than 250 miles on a single charge. That means if you drive less than 39 miles round trip a day, a single charge will last over a week and a half.

What’s even more encouraging is the availability of charging stations is growing fast–with well over 5,627 fast-charging sites in the nation right now. This should put your mind at ease if charging an EV at home is not an option. Chances are if a charging station isn’t available yet locally, it may soon be.

Let’s break down few commonly asked questions short distance drivers have when considering an electric car.

Do Electric Cars Lose Charge When Parked?

When you leave your electric car unused for too long, the charge will dwindle. The energy drain can be minimal or even non-existent depending on how much you drive and what features your vehicle has. Green Car Reports an electric car battery pack can drain by as little as a few percent of total battery capacity per month.

Also take into consideration a variety of environmental factors that can effect the charge of the battery. Cold temperatures can reduce an unplugged EV’s range by as much as 20 percent.

Can I Own an EV Without a Home Charger?

Live in a condo or apartment and are wondering if a electric car is a viable option for you? The answer is yes! You can still own an EV without a home charger. Sites such as PlugShare provide tools to locate the nearest charging station.

Another option is joining a charging network to find public stations that are open and free. Chargepoint, EVGo and Blink all have online registration systems where you can opt into one of their many plans depending on how much charge time is needed.

Can I Charge an Electric Car Using a Home Plug Socket?

Yes, a normal home plug socket will work but it’s not recommended. It may take days to reach a full charge with only a home plug. The ideal outlet for charging an EV is a 240-volt outlet.

The average costs for an electrician to install a 240-volt outlet is approximately $300. This of course depends on the location you want the charger to be installed.

Vehicle reliability research tool.

Does Your Employer Offer Workplace Charging?

Employers are now starting to offer free charging stations as a perk to help support EV ownership. Even if you are unable to charge at home, charging while at work is a great option. With a typical workday of eight hours, this is more than enough time for an EV to fully recharge.

If your employer does not offer EV charging, ask if they would be willing to consider it. There are a lot of great resources available to help educate employers on the benefits that come with adding EV charging stations.

How Long Do Electric Car Batteries Last?

Electric car batteries on average will last at least 8 years or 100,000 miles before needing a replacement. In fact the large majority of auto makers warranty EV car batteries for 100,000 miles. Their are even some estimates electric car batteries could last up to 20 years before needing a replacement.

There have been some safety concerns over EV battery fires, but electric vehicles are actually less flammable than gas cars.

Final Thoughts: Should a Low Mileage Driver Buy an Electric Car?

So if you are asking the question–should a low mileage driver buy an electric car? Yes it’s a great option. As detailed above, many of the most common concerns around EV ownership are being answered. What’s your main concern with EV car ownership? Tell us in the comments below.

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5 thoughts on “Should a Low Mileage Driver Buy an Electric Car?

  1. Avatar
    Odie Kivarkis
    October 31, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    I am a retired owner of a used Nissan leaf and I drive less than 1000 miles per year and yet I have to pay $251 for license sticker renewal! Is that fair?

  2. Avatar
    February 23, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    Thank you for this article! I drive infrequently and mostly just around my town. Then about 4-6 times per year, I drive to the beach or to visit relatives 60-140 miles away. I’ve had problems with batteries going dead on gas cars as they sit in the driveway. Today’s gas cars seem to be built with huge vampiric battery drains that can drain the battery in 3 days. I’m not the only person with this experience. Even electric cars have a 12v battery so they can use standard off-the-shelf components but (at least with tesla) the 12v battery is trickle charged through the Lithium-Ion battery plugged in to the charger–so the car won’t go dead in the driveway. My question: do all electric cars trickle charge the 12v like the tesla? Is that the way all pure-electric cars are designed?? I’m trying to decide on my next car.

    1. Christopher
      February 23, 2023 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Ellen,
      No, not all electric cars trickle charge the 12V battery in the same way as Tesla does. While Tesla vehicles have a charging system that constantly monitors and charges both the high-voltage battery and the 12V battery. However other electric cars may use different methods to maintain the 12V battery.

      Electric cars can sit unused for long periods of time, but one of the main concerns with leaving an electric car unused for an extended period is the potential for the battery to degrade. Lithium-ion batteries, which are used in most electric cars, can lose capacity over time if they are not properly maintained. To mitigate this, it is recommended that you keep the battery charged between 50-80% and avoid letting it fully discharge or stay fully charged for extended periods. Most electric cars have a feature that allows you to set the charge level to your desired percentage.

      Worth mentioned that, both gas-powered and electric cars can sit unused for long periods of time. But they require different considerations and maintenance to ensure that they remain in good condition.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Avatar
        J-P Davis
        February 13, 2024 at 7:13 am

        Thank you for this article. I work mostly remote and maintaining the health of the very expensive battery is a definite concern. Recently had a conversation with a car salesman that said he would discourage low mileage/infrequent drivers from buying a hybrid. His reasoning was that the battery needs to be cycled to stay healthy and driving it only a few days a week was not good for the system.

        1. Christopher Rossen
          Christopher Rossen
          February 13, 2024 at 4:03 pm

          Thanks for the input to this article J-P.

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