An electric car is any vehicle that is powered by a battery that has been charged by an external electricity source. Electric vehicles have been in existence as long as gasoline-powered cars but have often been more expensive than conventional gas powered cars.
Today, concerns about rising greenhouse gas emissions and a desire to save money at the gas pump have led more manufacturers to focus on fuel efficiency and electric vehicle technology. Since the early 2000s, almost all major vehicle manufacturers released or plan to release an electric or hybrid vehicle.
Consumer Reports, (Jan 29, 2020) Electric Cars 101. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWPvUuq_-wU&list=TLGGOTw-AKYc1aMyMDEwMjAyMQ&t=55s
TYPES OF EV'S
There are three basic types of EVs: hybrids (HEV), plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and battery-electric vehicles (BEV). BEVs are also known as all-electric vehicles (100%).
A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is a combination of an electric motor and a traditional internal combustion engine however it does not plug in to an electric outlet. The primary source of power is gasoline, while an electric motor supplements power to add fuel efficiency. The motor battery is charged through regenerative braking, which generates electricity by capturing the energy that is lost when braking.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a combination of an electric motor and a traditional internal combustion engine, which have larger batteries that can be recharged by plugging into an electric outlet. They can be powered by either gasoline or electricity alone. This back-up fuel option effectively negates range anxiety and can meet a wide range of needs.
A battery electric vehicle (BEV or EV) has an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. The vehicle uses a large traction battery pack to power the electric motor and must be plugged in to a charging station or wall outlet to charge. Because it runs on electricity, the vehicle emits no exhaust from a tailpipe and does not contain the typical liquid fuel components, such as a fuel pump, fuel line, or fuel tank.
AVAILABLE ELECTRIC VEHICLE MODELS
The right vehicle for you will depend on your driving habits and needs. Every year, more EV models hit the market. There are all-electric sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs and pick-up trucks. To see available models here in Pennsylvania, click here.
Courtesy PA Department of Environmental Protection
HOW MUCH CAN I SAVE WITH AN EV?
Although the initial investment may be more, choosing to buy electric can offer big savings over internal combustion engines, especially when considering the total cost of ownership.
EV owners can find savings in the following areas:
Maintenance & Repair
Federal Tax Credits (depending on the model)
Pennsylvania Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant Funds
The consumer who spends $1,200/year on gasoline would likely spend about $400/year on electricity for a comparable electric vehicle.
BREATHE EASY WITH EV'S
Calculate Your EV Carbon Emissions:
EV’s are cleaner vehicles but may still have a carbon footprint. Find the carbon reduction of most EV models comparing your local electric grid mix, the average US electric grid mix and an equivalent gasoline model with the EPA’s Beyond Tailpipe Emissions Calculator.
According to the EPA, only about 12% - 30% of the fuel energy content in a gasoline powered engine is used to move the vehicle. The rest is lost to engine inefficiencies or to power accessories.
Electric motors are more efficient in converting stored energy into propulsion, and electric drive vehicles do not consume energy while at rest or coasting. Additionally, regenerative braking further increases the efficiency of the vehicle, boosting EV’s efficiency to around 80%. Those efficiency savings equate to less carbon emissions and no street level emissions.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES REQUIRE LESS MAINTENANCE
Electric Vehicles (BEV’s) require less maintenance than conventional vehicles because there are fewer fluids to change and far fewer moving parts. EV’s require minimal scheduled maintenance to their electrical systems, which can include the battery, electrical motor, and associated electronics. Because of regenerative braking, brake systems on EVs typically last longer than on conventional vehicles.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) and Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) have an electric motor and a gas motor. Cars with gas motors still require the standard maintenance a regular gas-powered vehicle requires (oil changes, spark plugs and wires, exhaust systems etc.)
No Oil Changes: No engine…No Oil Needed
No Spark Plugs and Wires: No spark needed
for the engine…No need for spark plugs
No Exhaust System: No mufflers or catalytic converters, two expensive exhaust components know for failure
No Emissions Testing: No tailpipe… thus they
do not emit byproducts that need to be tested.
FACT vs FICTION
GOING ELECTRIC WILL RAISE ELECTRICITY RATES
Widespread electric vehicle adoption is actually driving down electricity rates. In an eight year study (2012-2019), Synapse Energy compared the new revenue utilities collected from EV drivers to the cost of energy to charge, grid upgrades and utility charging infrastructure programs. Their findings? EV’s help reduce rates for all customers by using the system more efficiently.
THE GRID CAN'T HANDLE WIDESPREAD EV ADOPTION
With proper management, the grid has the capacity for the transportation sector to be dominated by electricity. Part of this is due to the vast majority of EV drivers charging during off-peak hours (night time) when there is plenty of spare energy on the grid.
EV's ARE DANGEROUS TO DRIVE
As research continues to unfold, electric vehicles prove to be no more dangerous than conventional cars. In fact, they actually benefit public health by reducing the number of pollutants emitted into the atmosphere. Additionally, EV’s have specialized charging ports designed to withstand water intrusions and the most hazardous weather conditions. To date, there has been no issues regarding precipitation and EVs.
THE TRANSITION IS DIFFICULT
Taking the first steps are always the hardest. The biggest difference for new EV owners is typically installing residential charging ports and growing familiar with finding charging stations. The good news is that Drive Electric Pennsylvania is here to provide you with a roadmap for an easy and successful transition.
YOU CAN'T OFF-ROAD IN AN EV
An increasing number off electric vehicles have 4-wheel or all-wheel drive capabilities. Paired with instant torque and zero-emissions, EVs are becoming the preferred off-roading vehicle.
THEY'RE NOT TRULY ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
No matter how the electricity is generated, EVs prove to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half compared to combustion engines. They have zero tailpipe emissions, and can be charged through renewable sources that reduce emissions even further.
IT TAKES TOO LONG TO CHARGE
When using a DC Fast Charger (DCFC), an EV can go from empty to full in a matter of 30 minutes. This means if you’re running short on time you could get roughly 100 miles in just 10 minutes…and just a couple dollars.
EV'S FALL SHORT ON RANGE
Depending on the make and model, EVs can have a range anywhere from 150-600+ miles per charge. While combustion engines average around 350-400 miles per tank, EVs are quickly catching up.