Electric Vehicle Basics

From vehicle types and tax incentives to charging options and driving range, there are a number of things to consider to help you get plug-in ready.

About EVs

Electric vehicles use batteries to store the electrical energy that powers the motor. EV batteries are charged by plugging into an electric power source. They can also be charged in part by regenerative braking, which generates electricity from some of the energy normally lost when braking.

Driving Range: Currently available EVs can travel 60 to 100 miles on a single charge, depending on the model. Range will vary depending upon driving/charging habits, conditions and battery age.

Benefits of EVs:

  • Better fuel economy
  • Lower emissions
  • Lower fuel costs
  • Increased energy security
  • More fueling flexibility

Available EVs: A number of EV models are available or are in development from a variety of automakers. The U.S. Department of Energy's Vehicle Buyer's Guide features a comprehensive list of vehicles that are or will be available in 2012.

Cost: EVs are typically more expensive than similar conventional and hybrid electric vehicles. However, the cost can be offset by fuel cost savings and tax credits or other incentives.

Charging

There are a few types of charging equipment for EVs, each of which is classified by the maximum amount of power it can provide to the battery. In determining your charging needs, consider your driving habits, the type of car you would like to buy, and the amount of time you will typically have to charge your car.

Charging Option

Use

Charging Time*

Level 1

Requires a 120-volt AC plug that can be used with a standard wall outlet. Most EVs will come with a Level 1 cord so that no additional charging equipment is required.

10-20 hours

Level 2

Requires a 240-volt AC plug and requires installation of a charging station. Ideal for overnight charging in homes.

4-6 hours

DC Fast Charging

Requires a 480-volt plug. While quick charging is a new addition to the public charging infrastructure landscape and not widely available, it is the most convenient for travelers.

Less than 30 minutes

 *Charging time will vary depending on battery type, vehicle and how depleted battery is before charging.

Resources

 

 

Apply for Incentive

Apply for Free Night Charging

Find a Public Charging Station