What are the Pros and Cons of Electric Cars?

Electric vehicles offer a blend of advantages and drawbacks. They deliver emission-free driving, quiet operation, and additional benefits. They also bring challenges, such as limited range and lengthy charging times.

Cost-wise, they remain pricier, with Cox Automotive noting a 10.62% higher average cost than gas-powered cars as of July 2023. The premium cost stems from advanced technology and battery costs.
We’ve put together the pros and cons of owning an electric car to help determine if buying an EV is right for you.

Advantages of Electric Cars

Electric cars offer many advantages over their gas-powered counterparts. These fall into the following four categories:

1. Economic savings
2. Environmental impact
3. Performance
4. Convenience

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
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Economic Savings

EVs save drivers money in two key areas: maintenance costs and fuel.

1. Electricity prices equate to only $1–2 per gallon gasoline equivalent. This means that EV owners can save an average of $700 per year by using electricity as opposed to the fuel required to power an internal combustion vehicle.
2. With no oil changes or exhaust systems to repair, total maintenance costs can be up to 40% less over the life of an EV versus a gas-powered vehicle.

Environmental Impact

EVs have a mixed environmental impact when compared to their internal combustion counterparts. The net effect seems positive, but it’s a good idea to weigh all of the following factors.

EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, which means they do not emit pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and other pollutants that contribute to smog and health issues.
Even when accounting for the emissions created by electricity generation, EVs typically have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline cars. This is because electric motors are more efficient than internal combustion engines, and the electricity grid is being powered by renewable energy sources more than ever before.
By reducing reliance on petroleum, EVs can contribute to national energy security. The United States, for example, still imports a significant amount of petroleum, and EVs can help reduce this dependency.
As the electricity grid becomes cleaner by implementing the use of more renewable energy sources, the life cycle emissions of EVs will continue to decrease, making them even more environmentally friendly.

Performance Benefits

Electric vehicles offer several key performance advantages over traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles:

EVs provide full torque instantly, delivering faster acceleration from 0 mph than ICE vehicles. Their simpler electric motors can utilize 100% of their power immediately.
EV batteries lower the car’s center of gravity, enabling better weight distribution, cornering, and rollover prevention.
Electric motors produce little noise, eliminating the need for loud mufflers and allowing for a quieter, more serene ride.
The simpler drivetrain of EVs requires less routine maintenance such as oil changes. Regenerative braking also reduces wear on brakes.


Owning an EV comes with many benefits, but these three compelling benefits might just seal the deal:

1. Home charging capabilities: EV owners can conveniently plug in and charge at home every night.
2. Pre-conditioning while plugged in: before driving, EVs can pre-condition their interior temperature while still plugged in, ensuring comfort upon departure.
3. Quiet motors: the exceptionally quiet motors of EVs contribute to a peaceful neighborhood ambiance without engine noise.

Disadvantages of Electric Cars

While electric cars offer numerous benefits, they also come with their set of drawbacks.

1. Battery issues
2. Pollution
3. Short travel distance
4. Price

Battery Issues

Batteries are the Achilles Heel of electric cars. Battery tech is getting better, but we've got a long way to go before the following issues disappear.

Lifespan limitations: EV batteries degrade gradually, impacting their ability to retain a charge. This degradation can diminish the vehicle's driving range below its initial specifications. Though advancements in battery technology are enhancing durability, degradation remains a concern.
Charging time: charging an EV battery takes significantly longer than fueling a gas-powered car. The time it takes to charge an electric car varies from less than an hour to 40 (or even more) hours.
Charging availability: The availability and accessibility of charging stations, especially rapid-charging networks, can vary by region, impacting convenience and travel flexibility. Finding a gas station is much easier than finding a charging station.
Temperature vulnerability: extreme temperatures, whether excessively cold or hot, influence the performance and longevity of EV batteries. Frigid conditions can curtail the range, while high temperatures accelerate battery wear.
Replacement costs: batteries constitute a substantial portion of an EV's total cost, making replacements a potentially expensive affair. Although technological advancements are lowering prices, concerns linger about the expenses associated with battery replacements.
Recycling and disposal: proper disposal of end-of-life EV batteries is critical. Implementing effective recycling or disposal methods is necessary to minimize environmental impact and maximize resource recovery.

Environmental Impacts

Despite the lower tailpipe emissions of EVs, their production (especially their batteries) comes at a high environmental costs.

EV batteries depend on non-renewable minerals and resources that must be mined (cobalt, lithium, nickel, etc). Mining destroys natural habitats and pollutes ecosystems.
The production of EV batteries is energy-intensive and carbon-heavy. The production of one battery can release close to 12 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
If EVs recharge with electricity generated by coal (or other “dirty” sources), then their environmental impact is higher, compared to recharging with solar, biofuel, or wind energy.

While EVs have some negative environmental impacts, they typically have a smaller carbon footprint than conventional vehicles over their lifetime. Efforts are ongoing to reduce the environmental impact of EV production and to increase the share of renewable energy in electricity grids, which would further enhance the environmental benefits of EVs.

Range Anxiety

"Range anxiety" is a term that captures the limitations imposed by battery capacity on EV owners. While , most require extensive planning and vigilance to avoid getting stranded. Here are some of the factors that EV owners deal with:

"Range anxiety" is a term that captures the limitations imposed by battery capacity on EV owners. While some EVs have an impressive travel range, most require extensive planning and vigilance to avoid getting stranded. Here are some of the factors that EV owners deal with:

Range: most electric cars have a range of 200–300 miles, well below gas vehicles. This makes longer trips anxiety-inducing and restricts travel to areas with charging infrastructure.
Charging time: electric cars take a long time to charge. Even at a fast charging station, the average EV can take an hour or more—far longer than it takes to gas up a regular car. Road trips involve longer stops and more of them, meaning that it might take significantly longer to reach your destination.
Charging availability: EV owners need to carefully plan trips around charging infrastructure. Some geographies might be off-limits.

Overall, driving with an EV—especially on longer trips—requires more planning, more stopping, and less spontaneity.


While EVs offer fuel and maintenance savings, there are a couple of aspects in which they cost more than their internal combustion counterparts:

Higher initial cost: an electric vehicle costs more. Depending on the specific make and model, an EV can be between 6% and 22% pricier than a comparable gas car.
Depreciation: EVs depreciate more rapidly than gasoline vehicles, meaning that gas vehicles hold their resale value better. When it’s time to get a new car, you won’t be able to recoup as much of your original cost with an EV.

Even with these downside, an EV is often cheaper to own over its lifespan than a gas car. It all depends on the details, such as how long the car is owned, the specific make and model, driving habits, and more.

Questions to Ask a Seller When Buying a Used EV

When you’re buying an electric vehicle from a private seller, asking the right questions may help you dodge a lemon and get the best car for your money.

Reason for selling. Understand why the seller is parting with the EV can reveal important details about its history and condition.
Ownership duration. Ask about how long the seller has owned the EV and offer insights into its past and extent of usage.
Maintenance history. Request details about the EV's maintenance history to shed light on its care and upkeep.
Primary driver and driving habits. Learn about the primary driver and typical driving conditions to highlight potential wear and tear.
Parking conditions. When you know where the EV was usually parked when not in use it will provide insights into its storage environment.
Warranty status. While used cars often lack warranties, knowing if the EV is covered could be advantageous.
Modifications or repairs. Ask about any significant alterations or repairs made to the vehicle.
Availability of service records. Request copies of service records for a comprehensive understanding of its maintenance history.
Title status. Ensure the EV has a clean title, avoiding surprises like branded or salvage titles that may impact its value or reliability.

When you buy your EV on PrivateAuto, you’ll ask these questions via our in-app messaging feature, so you'll never need to give out your contact info.

What are the Best Electric Vehicles on the Market?

The following electric vehicles are frequently cited as best in class.

1. Tesla's Model 3 is often praised for its long range, high performance, and access to Tesla's extensive Supercharger network. It offers a good balance of range, charging speed, and overall efficiency.
2. Hyundai Ioniq 5: Hyundai's Ioniq 5 has been recognized for its ultra-fast charging capabilities and distinctive design. It also offers a spacious interior and advanced technology features.
3. Kia EV6: The Kia EV6 shares its platform with the Ioniq 5, and is praised for its performance, range, and charging speed. It has a sporty design and a high-quality interior. The Kia EV6 Wind is a popular trim.
4. Ford Mustang Mach-E: The Mustang Mach-E combines the iconic Mustang brand with electric performance. It has been noted for its driving dynamics, range options, and user-friendly technology.
5. Audi e-tron: the Audi e-tron offers a premium interior, advanced technology, and a smooth ride. It's a luxury SUV that provides a balance of performance and comfort.
6. Volkswagen ID.4: the ID.4 is Volkswagen's entry into the electric SUV market, offering a practical range, spacious interior, and intuitive infotainment system. It's designed to be a family-friendly electric vehicle.
7. Chevrolet Bolt: the Chevy Bolt is an affordable option in the EV market, offering a competitive travel range and a compact size that's ideal for city driving.
8. Nissan Leaf: the Nissan Leaf is one of the world's best-selling electric cars, known for its affordability and reliability. It's a good entry-level option for those new to electric vehicles.
9. Lucid Air: Lucid Motors' Air is a luxury electric sedan that boasts impressive range and performance figures, along with a high-quality, tech-forward interior.
10. Rivian R1T: Rivian's R1T is an all-electric pickup truck that offers off-road capability, innovative storage solutions, and a range suitable for long trips.

What are the Most Affordable Electric Cars?

Budget electric cars start in the high-$20K range (new) and go up from there.

Here are the new MSRP prices for some of the more affordable electric vehicles on the market:

Nissan Leaf: starts around $27,400; gets 150 miles per charge and includes basic autonomous driving aids.
Chevrolet Bolt EV: starts around $31,500; the longest-range budget EV at almost 250+ mile range and DC fast charging capable.
Mini Cooper Electric: starts around $33,900; iconic compact model with zippy handling and a 114-mile range.
Mazda MX-30: starts around $34,000; stylish subcompact crossover with a 100-mile range and unique suicide door design.
Kia Niro EV: starts around $39,500; 201 horsepower crossover SUV with 239 miles of range.
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Where is the Best Place to Buy an Electric Car?

If you’re planning to buy an electric car, you have the following options:

1. Buy a new EV from a dealership: for brands that use the dealership model, such as Ford, Nissan, and GM.
2. Buy a new EV directly from the manufacturer: for brands that use the direct-to-consumer model, such as Tesla, Polestar, and Rivian.
3. Buy a used EV from a dealer.
4. Buy a used electric vehicle from a private seller.

If you’re buying new and know which vehicle you want, your choice is made. You’ll be buying from a dealership or directly from the manufacturer—depending on your chosen brand’s distribution model.

If you’re buying used, you’re better off buying from a private party. Here at PrivateAuto, we make the private-party transaction easy and secure. Skip the dealer documentation fee and markup and get more EV for your buck when you transact peer-to-peer on PrivateAuto.

With PrivateAuto Pay, safely and instantly transfer up to 1 million dollars in a private car transaction.

If you already have connected with a seller from whom you wish to purchase your electric vehicle, use our DealNow fast-track deal flow to close the deal. Skip the listing process, send your private DealNow link, and get the deal done.

From instant payments to secure communications, we give you the power to drive the deal on your terms. That’s why we’re the best place to buy a used car (including an electric car) online.
We have a wide selection of non-electric vehicles for sale as well.

Browse our full selection of vehicles for sale by owner.

Electric Vehicle FAQ

Do electric cars have fewer problems?

Electric vehicles tend to have fewer issues thanks to their simplified drivetrains that skip the complexities of combustion. With fewer moving parts, there’s less to go wrong.

EV batteries are the exception. While not prone to malfunctions, their capacity deteriorates over time. Your range decreases the longer you own the EV, and eventually, you’ll probably need to replace the battery.

Will electric cars last longer than gas cars?

Do electric cars need oil changes?

How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle?

What are some EV future trends?

How does the efficiency of electric motors compare to gas engines?