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5 things you must know before you buy an all-electric car

5 things you must know before you buy an all-electric car
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

If you're thinking about buying an all-electric vehicle, you're not alone. More than 123,000 plug-in cars were sold in the United States last year and 321,000 were sold worldwide. In the U.S., that was an increase of 26% over 2013, and an increase of 133% from 2012.

There's good reason to be thinking about EVs, or plug-in cars. One is that you can save money by charging an electric car rather than filling it up with gasoline, even at today's low gas prices.

Plus, with cars like the Tesla S sporting 259-plus hp and a range of more than 240 miles, you no longer have to sacrifice performance (or stylish good looks) while you're reducing your carbon footprint. A lot of EVs are also high-tech, as Tesla recently proved when it downloaded self-driving features on some of its cars.

Tesla's not the only EV making strides in its tech features. For instance, some 2016 Nissan Leaf's models have a 5-inch display screen with Bluetooth technology, so you can do things like send hands-free text messages. Other models have 7-inch screens, with features to monitor your car's electric charge, and SirusXM Travel Link for weather reports, stock prices, movie listings and locating charging stations.

Perhaps best of all, there are now plenty of options when it comes to buying EVs. There are high-end cars like this year's best-seller, the Tesla Model S starting at $71,000, and the BMW i3 starting at $43,000 (No. 4 best-selling EV). There are affordable cars like the Leaf (No. 2), which starts at just under $30,000, even before you throw in federal tax credits.

Yet, as much as you may want to buy an all-electric car, you have to learn a new set of criteria to evaluate. After all, you're not evaluating it for features like miles per gallon that you normally ask about. So, what do you need to know about EVs before you head to the dealership? Here are five things you must know before you buy an all-electric car.

Next page: What's your EV's MPGe?
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