Automobile

Is Now the Right Time to Buy an EV?

ev of the yearIs Now the Right Time to Buy an EV?

“I’ll wait till next year.” Stalling on an electric-vehicle purchase has been a tempting strategy since the inception of the modern mainstream EV. Year by year, range increased, charging got easier, and manufacturers rolled out better electric options. But as barriers were removed, so too were early-adopter perks. Tesla stopped giving away free electricity at its Superchargers. GM and Tesla vehicles became ineligible for the federal tax credit. Primo parking spots with Level 2 charging are no longer perpetually empty, awaiting the stray futurist in a Model S. This is the inflection point.

The next year brings a mother lode of new EV models at a time when charging infrastructure is expanding and a $7500 federal tax credit is mostly still in play. Until now, electric powertrains were largely confined to expensive luxury vehicles or gas-econobox conversions that were produced to check a regulatory box. Soon we’ll see a $42,000 Ford with a frunk (the F-150 Lightning) and a 1000-hp crab-walking beast with T-tops (the GMC Hummer EV)—and those are just a couple of the trucks.

In some of these cases, your purchase involves that $7500 tax credit, which was originally conceived to sweeten the deal on vehicles that presented a questionable cost-benefit analysis. But consider the Lightning: Uncle Sam is paying you to buy a 563-hp truck that doesn’t need gas and can power your house in the event of an outage—a.k.a. something you probably very much want anyway. Each manufacturer can sell 200,000 plug-in hybrids or EVs before the tax credit for its vehicles is phased out. With Ford also building the excellent Mustang Mach-E, we’re guessing you wouldn’t want to dally on either of its EVs. Same goes for the Kia EV6, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, and, praise be to Stellantis, the Jeep Wrangler–based Magneto. Fine—that one might be over a year away. But something always is.

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