Owning a car is expensive because they require constant maintenance, oil changes, gas fill ups, and tire replacements.

Mount St. Joseph News

This cost has only worsened as gas prices have fluctuated over the summer and inflation has made car care even more expensive.

So, what if I told you there was a way to eliminate the need for some of the worst parts of owning a standard gas-powered car. Just get an electric vehicle!

Of course, it’s far from that simple. Electric vehicles are expensive, far more expensive than the average car a college student may be able to purchase. They also come with a learning curve about how to care for them, and they sometimes require special mechanics who know how to work on the more complex systems. But don’t ignore them for any of these facts. Electric vehicles can save you tons of money and even clear your conscience a little since you aren’t dumping as much pollution into the air.

To better understand reasons to own an electric vehicle, I interviewed Patrick Cafferty, chair and associate professor of Physician Assistant Studies at the Mount. He was more than willing to answer some questions regarding his Tesla Model 3 Long Range that he first purchased it in December of 2018 for around $60,000.

One of my first questions was about charging his car. Charging stations are far fewer than conventional gas stations and thus have given rise to some questions about electric vehicles and keeping them charged.

“First, I can charge in my garage at home from a 110-volt outlet, which provides a charge of about 4 miles per hour,” he explains. “This is slow compared to chargers at the university or at the Tesla ‘Superchargers’ you see in the Meijer parking lot.”

Charging from home in an option for electric cars that people tend to forget. Yes, it may be slow, but it's always available and can give an electric car a jolt overnight to get you to a better charging station. This is definitely a one-up on conventional cars as unless you live at a gas station, you are not going to be able to fill up at home.

“The supercharger will charge at up to 400+ miles per hour whereas the university equipment charges about 25 miles per hour. Depending on your need, one has to decide where to charge,” he said. The University’s EV chargers, located next to the Centennial Field House, charge at around 25 miles worth of charge per hour.

Cafferty made it clear that his interest in electric vehicles was primarily the economic perspective, and that isn’t a bad thing. Electric vehicles can be extremely cost effective and can save owners large amounts of money despite their high initial investment cost,

“While I have a significant upside to purchase, my cost to operate has been very low,” he says.  “My maintenance cost for the first three years was less than $400.  No oil changes, etc.  The comparison for gas prices vs. electric cost for the same ‘miles per gallon’ saves me about $125 per month.”

So, doing the math, he saves around $1500 a year on gas, and that’s with a light ten-mile commute to and from the Mount. So, someone who drives even more can see even more money saved.

As someone who is constantly running around town I know the drain on my bank account can get pretty extreme. Every time I see that charge for around $75-$90 on the pump I envy people who have an electric car. Plus, the no-oil-changes are a nice plus. Especially if you don’t know how to do it yourself and need to take it to a shop.

However, hardly anything above matters if the vehicle you own isn’t nice to drive. So, my final question to Professor Cafferty was this, do you enjoy the car? He answered with a resounding yes!

“I love the car!  It is sporty, very fast, handles well and is simply fun to drive!” he says. A wonderful way to put it, “simply fun to drive!” As that’s extremely important for almost every car owner.

So, if you find yourself needing a new vehicle and a desire to ditch the constant headaches of fluctuating gas prices, consider an electric vehicle! While things are never as simple as how they were described in this article, and electric vehicles do have their own problems and expenses, I don’t think that should discourage anyone from purchasing one. As can be seen in the news all the time, there is a large push to switch to electric, and in the eyes of this writer, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. For better or for worse, electric seems to be the future, so better to embrace it early rather than be left in the dust.