ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Electric cars have become quite popular lately. And with gas prices and inflation, it seems like a great way to help the environment and save money in the long term.
But... what happens when the battery needs replacing? And what happens when the replacement battery costs more than the car itself?
For a St. Petersburg family, that is the exact position they found themselves in.
Avery Siwinski who is 17 years old was excited to get a car to drive herself to and from school. Her parents spent $11,000 on a used electric car for her. It's a Ford Focus Electric. The car is a 2014 model, with 60,000 miles.
"It was fine at first," Avery Siwinski said. "I loved it so much. It was small and quiet and cute. And all the sudden it stopped working."
Avery Siwinski had her car for six months before her dashboard started to light up with problematic symbols.
"In March, it started giving an alert," she said. "And then we took it to the shop and it stopped running."
In the midst of the car troubles, the family was dealing with tragedy. In June, Avery's father died following a stage four colon cancer diagnosis. Her grandfather, Ray Siwinski stepped in to try to get the car issues sorted.
"Turns out, this is a pretty common problem for this particular car," Ray Siwinski said.
The car has sat at Ford Auto Nation in Pinellas County for the last few months. Ray said he was able to get a quote on a replacement battery for the electric car.
"The Ford dealership had advised us that we could replace the battery," he said. "It would only cost $14,000."
$3,000 more than what the family bought the car for. And that quote didn't include installation and labor costs, Ray Siwinski said.
Ray shared that Auto Nation offered to buy the car off him, offering him $500 for it.
After weeks of research, Ray Siwinski said there aren't any other options to fix the car.
"Then we found out the batteries aren't even available," he said. "So it didn't matter. They could cost twice as much and we still couldn't get it."
It's an issue he says isn't specific to owners of the now discontinued Ford Focus Electric.
"If you're buying a new one, you have to realize there is no second-hand market right now because the manufacturers are not supporting the cars," he said.
The Siwinski's message to you: do your research before buying electric. They warn, it may cost you far more than you realize.
10 Tampa Bay reached out to Ford Motor Company, asking what customers in this position are expected to do and if the electric car batteries are still being made available for Ford Focus Electric cars. We are awaiting their response.