Overview of Electric Vehicles (EVs)Electric vehicles (EVs) are a “hot item” in the auto world, with many auto manufacturers offering several models. Improved versions are on the near horizon, too, for good reason: Electric vehicles provide environmental advantages and, even though they may carry a higher price tag initially, tax credits and lower operating costs often balance out the initial investment. At Blue Grass Energy, we want to be your source of power and information. Since electric vehicles are rapidly becoming more widely available, we put together this information to help answer questions you might have.
1. Conventional 🌟vehicles have an internal combustion engine; the most common fuels are gasoline and diesel.
2. Hybridܫ vehicles have both a gasoline engine and an electric motor and battery; both gas and electricity power the wheels. The electric motor and battery are designed to improve fuel economy, so less gasoline is used to operate the vehicle. The battery is charged solely by operating the vehicle; no plug-in is required or possible.
3. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehiclesဣ (PHEVs) have larger batteries than hybrids and use both gas and electricity to power the wheels of the car. These vehicles vary in their electric range, but shift to gasoline-only operation when battery power is depleted. These vehicles must be plugged in to recharge the battery.
4. Battery Electric Vehicles🎶 (BEVs) are powered solely by electricity and are recharged by plugging in the vehicle.
Comparison method 1:Comparing electric vehicles to a hypothetical gas-powered vehicle that gets 25 mpg; this gas-powered vehicle would cost approximately $1,320 for gas per year. In this comparison:
- A typical BEV would save $730 in annual energy costs per year; electricity costs would be less than half the cost fuel for the gas-powered vehicle.
- A typical PHEV would save $600 per year when combining the cost of gas plus the cost of electricity to operate the vehicle.
Comparison method 2:Several manufacturers produce both gas and electric versions of the same – or similar – vehicle (Ford has BEV and gas versions of the Focus as well as gas, hybrid and PHEV versions of the Fusion; Hyundai has gas, hybrid and PHEV versions of the Sonata; and Nissan has the Leaf and a somewhat comparable Versa). In comparing the gas vehicles with the electric versions, Touchstone Energy makes these comparisons of products by the same manufacturer:
- BEVs offer the lowest annual energy costs (running $570 to $600 per year). That is a savings of $370 to $490 over the conventional gas-powered “sibling.”
- PHEVs offer reduced annual energy costs of $600 to $800 per year. That saves $300 to $370 over the conventional gas-powered “sibling.”
Other considerations to add into the calculations:
Incentives🅺. for a list of EV Federal Tax Credits. Some states and cities have additional credits or perks for electric vehicles.
Lower maintenance costs.𝄹 Most BEVs have much lower maintenance costs, because of the simplicity of the design and components (fewer moving parts, etc.). PHEVs are more complex, with both gas and electric components, but some maintenance costs can be lower. For example, regenerative braking leads to less wear on the brake system.
Level 1Level 1 equipment may meet your needs if you don’t drive many miles each day. It’s an economical option because you can use the charging cord included with your car. However, it takes the longest amount of time to charge. If you wanted to add 40 miles of range on a typical EV with this charger, it would take about 10 hours.
Level 2Level 2 equipment is faster. It does require a device purchase and installation of a 240-volt plug. Prices can range around $500 to almost $2,000 (and those numbers are changing rapidly) depending upon the features you want or need. With a Level 2 you can charge 30 miles in about 90 minutes. So, if time is of the essence for you, this may be an economical option. Most EV owners go this route.
Level 3Level 3 chargers are typically in public areas because they need larger lines to provide electricity than what normally goes to people’s homes. We’ll talk more about those on page six. ______ Once you decide on which equipment is best for you, it’s time for you to think about location. Is it your garage? For most people, the answer is yes. The site you select will need a 240-volt plug available (or you can have an electrician install it). If you choose to charge outdoors, you’ll need a specifically-designed charger for outdoor use. Next, length matters. Measure the distance between where you will park your vehicle from the site of the charger to ensure the proper reach. Lastly, do you want a hard-wired or plug-in version? If you want to take the charger with you on trips, opt for a plug-in version. It will still require a 240-volt outlet. A piece of advice: whichever type of charger you select, consult a licensed electrician to avoid any safety hazards and headaches “down the road.”
Get to know the chargers – they are your friendAccording to the US Department of Energy, Level 1 charging speed is at two to five miles of range per hour. Obviously, not the best option if you are in a hurry. Or you can charge overnight at many hotels – rest for you and the family during a trip can be a good thing. All EVs are compatible with these chargers. Level 2 charging speed is at 10 to 20 miles of range per hour. Find one of these at a shopping complex or movie theater and enjoy the family time together. All EVs are compatible with these chargers, and Teslas require an adapter. DC Level 3 charging is at 60 to 80 miles of range per 20 minutes. Wow. Now, that’s where you can really get a move on. EVs manufactured by Chevrolet, BMW, Kia, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota are compatible with these types of chargers. Tesla uses its own connector for these stations.
- ChargeHub is basically the same as PlugShare, but it gives you the option to pay for charging using the app. It also offers discounts on EV products, savings calculators and lots of EV content. Find our more at
- Tesla’s app is very advanced. It will show you Superchargers on your route. Other features include luxury components like summoning the car to you, climate control before getting into the car, remote lock, charging progress and more. There’s a reason Tesla is the leader in EVs and their app is no exception. Learn more at .
- You probably already have Google Maps on your smart phone. But, did you know it will also show EV charging stations? You just need to search for them and viola. Find out more at .
- Move along! Once you’ve achieved the amount of charge needed, unplug it so that the next driver can use it. Imagine the frustration of when people “reserve” beach chairs for hours and hours without using them – same concept.
- Check in on the app to indicate that charger is in use. This will help your fellow drivers know to move along to the next available charger.
- Only charge when you really need the miles. Again, no one wants to spoil the fun of owning an EV for a fellow driver.