The transition to electric vehicles (EVs) has begun. That’s according to the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index, a survey of Americans’ driving habits and attitudes, which found that nearly half (46%) expect to acquire an EV within the next five years. Whether they’re driven by environmental motives, high gas prices or new automotive technology, drivers are increasingly shifting to EVs — so what do they need to know before they get behind the wheel of their first plug-in vehicle?
Gas savings are in the future — but be mindful of the power bill.
The price of gas is undoubtedly the biggest pain point for drivers of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles today: 76% of drivers say fuel prices have a major-to-moderate impact on their daily driving habits. Switching to electric is the obvious solution, and for most drivers (58%), saving on gas is the biggest motivation behind the move.
To maximize those savings, new EV drivers should turn their attention to their power bill. Look for opportunities to save money by charging during off-peak hours or by signing up for community electric programs.
Reconsider driving habits.
For many, their first EV may not be their primary vehicle. Many drivers may still use an ICE vehicle for longer journeys or while waiting for the charging infrastructure in their community to improve. As you get to grips with your first EV, your habits may change, including choosing a different grocery store because it offers charging stations, or combining errands in a single outing instead of making multiple trips.
And you wouldn’t be alone. While 66% of drivers surveyed in the Gauge Index said they would use an EV, only 45% said it would be the vehicle they drive every day.
Adjust your driving style.
EVs are known for their instantaneous power delivery, thanks to the absence of gear rations and torque values that eclipse their ICE counterparts. They’re also quieter, thanks to the absence of an ICE powertrain, which means road noise increases, especially on highways. And range is everything: The more dynamic they’re driven, the sooner they’ll need to be plugged in.
As a result, new EV drivers may find themselves adjusting how they handle the vehicle, perhaps with a lighter right foot and a greater appreciation for smoother driving.
Learn about different maintenance needs.
Nearly half of Americans (48%) said they would conduct their own vehicle maintenance at home to save money. But EVs may not offer that option, as they often require specialist mechanical care from the dealers’ own service locations.
EVs require different kinds of maintenance and at different intervals than traditional ICE vehicles. To adjust, you should stay up to speed on when and where you should take your vehicle for regular maintenance to keep it in top shape.
Understand why specific EV tires are preferred.
Another difference between gas-powered vehicles and EVs is the demand on the tires. EVs perform best when equipped with tires that are specially developed to withstand added weight from battery packs, provide traction for faster power delivery, reduce rolling resistance for maximum range, and minimize road noise for a more enjoyable driving experience.
Yet a Gauge Index survey earlier in 2022 found only a quarter of Americans (26%) believed that EVs require custom-made tires, and more than three quarters (78%) believed that EVs could use the same tires as ICE vehicles.
With so much of an EV’s performance and comfort relying on specially designed tires, it’s crucial that you look for tires designed from the ground up to meet the demands of your new vehicle. After all, that’s where the rubber meets the road.