What is an EV?

Introducing the Amazing EV

The term “electric vehicles” (commonly shortened to “EVs”) is meant to describe cars and trucks that run on electricity only. In our modern use, however, it often refers more broadly to vehicles that are powered fully by an electric motor (and the battery that powers it) as well as those that rely on a combination of electricity and a standard internal combustion engine (ICE).

Four Types of EVs

BEV
Battery Electric Vehicle
A “full” or “all” electric vehicle powered by a lithium-ion battery.

BEV

Battery Electric Vehicle

PHEV
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Combines a gas-powered engine and an electric motor powered by an on-board rechargeable battery.

PHEV

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

HEV
Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Combines a gas-powered engine and an electric motor powered by an on-board non-rechargeable battery.

HEV

Hybrid Electric Vehicle

FCEV
Hydrogen (Fuel Cell) Electric Vehicle
Features a rechargeable hydrogen fuel cell; with very little infrastructure support as of yet, this is the least common type of EV.

FCEV

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

Charging Up Electric Vehicles

Drivers are quite used to pulling into a gas station to refuel their vehicles, whether they are driving along a highway or through a small town. With the advent of electric vehicles, the way we “refuel” is undergoing a revolution as well.

 

Public charging stations are springing up across the country in major shopping centers, parking garages, grocery store lots, and outside municipal buildings. The U.S. Department of Energy now offers a mapping app to help drivers locate the nearest alternative fueling station. For EV buyers, the option to install a charger at home is an attractive choice.

 

Most drivers, however, won’t need to charge their vehicle every day. Though some may experience “range anxiety” (the fear that they will run out of battery life before they can locate a charging station) when they first begin driving electric, the reality is that today’s EVs can travel 200 to even 500 miles before needing a charge.

Charging Station Types

Level 1

Typically included with the purchase of an EV. Features a 120-volt plug, similar to those used for household appliances. It can take 8-16 hours to reach a full charge.

Level 2

A faster charger level supplied by a 240-volt plug. It takes up to 8 hours to fully charge. Most chargers in public stations use Level 2 charging.

Level 3

Direct-current (DC) fast chargers use up to 500 volts of direct current. It typically takes about 40 minutes to charge most EVs from empty to 80%.

Both Level 1 and 2 chargers use standard AC power. Using a home charger is certainly cheaper than using a charging network, which base their fees on time plugged in or kilowatt hours (kWh) used. The current national average for electric vehicle fuel in the U.S. is $0.15/kWh for light-duty EVs and $0.14/kWh for light-duty plug-in hybrids. For faster charging, the rate is closer to $0.40 per kWh.

Environmental Benefits

Are electrical vehicles better for the long-term health of the planet? There is no simple answer to that question, but research continues and the benefits of EVs over gas-powered cars seem to be tipping in favor of the new, cleaner technology. According to the EPA, electric vehicles typically have a smaller carbon footprint than combustion-engine vehicles, including the electricity used for charging an EV.

 

The simple fact is that governments are embracing the transition away from gasoline-powered engines and there is little that will turn the tide back now. As nations race to combat the effects of climate change, there is hope that EV adoption will be a major component in a greener future.

Key Findings from the EPA:

Key Findings from the EPA:

• Some studies have shown that making a typical electric vehicle can create more carbon pollution than making a gasoline car. This is because of the additional energy required to manufacture an electric vehicle’s battery.

 

• Still, over the lifetime of the vehicle, total greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing, charging, and driving an electric vehicle are typically lower than the total greenhouse gases associated with a gasoline car.

 

• Because electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, they are typically responsible for significantly fewer greenhouse gases during operation.

 

https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles

Economic Benefits

Just as the environmental positives of EVs benefit us both globally and individually, so do the economic benefits. According to research published in January 2021 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [https://news.mit.edu/2016/study-finds-low-emissions-vehicles-less-expensive-overall-0927], electric vehicles were found to easily be more climate friendly than gas-burning ones. Over a lifetime, the report concluded, they were often cheaper as well.

 

Higher upfront costs may seem daunting – especially for consumers browsing offerings from Tesla – but lower maintenance costs and lower charging costs, as compared to gasoline prices, can offset a higher vehicle purchase price over time.

How Savings Can Add Up

• In the U.S., the federal government offers a tax credit for some new electric vehicle purchases. Some states, like California, offer additional incentives.

 

• The director of the Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Chris Gearhart, has said electric cars will become more price competitive in coming years as battery prices drop, and as new technologies to reduce exhaust emissions are making traditional cars more expensive.

 

• Some new EV model purchases include complimentary public charging.

 

• Public electric companies are offering rebates and credits toward EV charging station installation and usage.

How Savings Can Add Up