GENERAL ON ELECTRIC VEHICLES
What is Accelerate EV?
Accelerate EV is a one-stop shop for information in electric cars, charging stations and incentive programs. We also post EV-relevant jobs and training opportunities.
What is an Electric Vehicle (EV)?
An electric vehicle gets some or all of its power from electricity rather than traditional fuel sources such as gasoline or diesel.
Are ‘Electric Cars’ and ‘Zero Emission Vehicles’ the same thing?
Yes, many electric vehicles are zero emission vehicles. Hybrid vehicles use gas with much lower emissions than most gas-powered vehicle.
What is the difference between ‘plug-in hybrid’ and fully electric car?
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have plug-in charging capability and may get power from electricity, gasoline, or both. Fully electric cars run only on electricity and must be plugged-in to charge.
There are so many benefits to owning or leasing an EV!
- Charge at home with a 120-volt outlet in the garage;
- EVs cost less to operate and maintain;
- Electricity prices are more stable than gasoline prices;
- EVs’ electric motors provide instant torque resulting in quick acceleration – they’re fun to drive!
- EVs are zero-emissions in all-electric mode and lower lifetime emissions. They’re also quieter, reducing community noise pollution!
Why should I purchase or lease an EV?
Savings! With federal and local tax incentives, some EVs cost the same or less than a conventional car. Lower fuel costs (electricity vs. gasoline) and lower maintenance costs make them much cheaper over their lifetime. You also get preferential parking, home-fueling, discounts on auto insurance, and access to carpool lane. EVs are also good for the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
What should I think about before buying an EV?
- Calculate how far you normally drive each day to evaluate the best EV fit for you;
- Examine your recharging options. Most people will recharge at home but you may need to recharge at your work or other public location;
- Check incentives. Your new EV might be eligible for government rebates or HOV lane perks.
How does an EV work?
A plug-in electric vehicle can be plugged into an electrical outlet or charging device to recharge its battery. Battery electric vehicles run only on electricity, and plug-in hybrids run mainly on electricity with a backup internal combustion engine.
Can I Convert my existing car into an electric or plug-in hybrid?
Yes. There are companies that specialize in converting gas-powered cars to electric. Even your old classic car can be converted!
I drive for Uber and/or Lyft, is an EV good for me?
EVs may have a higher upfront price, but are cheaper to operate. EVs are especially advantageous for drivers who:
- Drive more than 20 hours a week. These drivers benefit the most from EVs cheaper fuel and lower maintenance.
- Drive an older vehicle (2007 or earlier). Older vehicles are more expensive to maintain and may not meet the model year requirements for Uber or Lyft.
Can I store my EV for an extended period of time?
Just like a gas-powered vehicle, you'll need to take extra steps for the hybrid vehicle battery and the auxiliary battery. Check your operator's manual.
COST AND SAVINGS
How affordable are EVs?
EVs will definitely save you money in the long run. New EVs may cost more to buy but the total cost of ownership is cheaper than traditional cars. EVs provide significant fuel savings, reduced maintenance costs due to fewer moving parts, and qualify for a federal income tax credit up to $7,500 on nearly every EV model on the market today. They also come with an additional warranty to cover the battery and associated systems for 8 years/100,000 miles.
Should I purchase a used or new EV?
The cheapest way to buy an EV is the used EV market. Keep in mind that older EV models have a lower range (~100 miles) and a weaker battery. Assess your driving range and charger availability. Also, get a battery inspection from a certified dealer to avoid premature battery replacement.
Should I rent or lease an EV if I drive for Lyft or Uber?
It depends how often you use the EV. There are flexible rental programs that offer an affordable, low-commitment option for trying out an EV. They can be reserved on an hourly or weekly basis without long-term contracts or credit requirements. EV leases typically have mileage limits with overage fees; this can be restrictive for drivers. Check out Hyundai’s unlimited mileage lease program for the Ioniq EV, which is limited to California residents.
Are there incentives for buying an electric car?
Yes. There are incentives at the federal, state, and local levels for PEVs and charging infrastructure. A federal tax credit of up to $7500 is available, with the credit varying on battery size. In California, the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project offers up to $2500 for the purchase of the cleanest new plug-in vehicles, and the Clean Air Vehicle allows you to drive solo in the carpool lane.
How can I calculate the cost to drive electric?
Electric cars require minimal maintenance. You can compare your state savings using the DOE’s eGallon tool. And check your local utilities off-peak or EV charging rates—many utilities offer big discounts for night-time charging. A simple timer can help EV owners take advantage of these great rates. Check out the DOE’s cost calculator for comparisons.
Will switching to an electric car save me money?
Yes! Electricity is more cost effective, with savings according to your local electricity rates. There are many online tools to explore and calculate your costs, including the U.C. Davis EV Explorer.
What are the main questions to ask myself prior to buying or leasing an electric or hybrid car?
- How many miles do I drive each day?
- Do I have a regular access to charging at home or at work?
- How much are the electricity costs?
- Can I charge overnight with a regular outlet or do I need a faster charging option?
- How often do I travel beyond the electric range?
- Are there charging stations in my local area or travel corridors?
Should I buy or lease an EV?
Over 80% of EVs are leased compared to 30% of gasoline-powered vehicles. EV technology is constantly improving, manufacturers are announcing new models, and price is decreasing. Consumers can take advantage of the short terms of leasing to get the newest technology every two to three years.
MODELS AND CHARGING
Which automakers make EVs?
There are many companies making hybrid or electric vehicles. Tesla, Nissan, General Motors and Ford all have electric cars for sale nationwide, the former two in sizeable volumes. Check out full list of EVs.
Why are automakers building them?
Automakers are responding to consumer demand, new fuel-economy requirements, and zero-emissions mandates from California. The success of the Toyota Prius has made EVs a profitable business model to follow.
How often should an EV’s battery be replaced?
EV batteries are extremely durable, long-lived, and reliable. Replacment during the average ownership period is rare. GM and Nissan fo example offer 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranties for the Volt and the Leaf.
Does the battery have to be drained to zero periodically?
No. While many electronics benefit from an occasionally empty battery, the lithium-ion battery has no "memory effect," meaning they never have to be drained, nor fully charged.
Should I worry about electric shock or fire from the battery pack?
An EV is as safe as a conventional car. The battery is sealed. High-voltage circuits and cables are protected from casual contact and marked so you know where they're located.
What are the benefits of a lithium-ion battery?
Lithium-ion batteries are lightweight, quick to charge, easily recycled, and have a long service life, which makes them perfect for electric cars.
Where do batteries end up?
Vehicle batteries have an excellent recycling record that will get even better with EVs. Plug-in vehicles mostly use lithium ion, which is much more valuable than lead and illegal to dispose in a landfill. Their value will ensure recycling.
PERFORMANCE, SAFETY AND MAINTAINANCE
Should I worry about the range?
That depends on your driving needs and the EV you choose. Most Americans drive less than 35 miles a day. All new EV scan cover that distance between charges. An all- electric vehicle with a range of 80 to 100 miles can easily meet your daily needs. If you want to go on longer trips, a plug-in hybrid is a good choice and can also handle most daily commutes using only electricity.
Are plug-in cars dependable?
Yes, they are very dependable. They last as long or longer than gasoline automobiles with less maintenance. They require no oil changes, tune-ups, or new spark plugs. The motor helps slow the car, recapturing the kinetic energy for the batter and reducing brake usage. Electric motors will even outlast the body of the vehicle. Many automakers offer warranties on the batteries.
Is charging my electric car safe?
Yes, it is safe to charge your EV. They have many safety features and strict safety testing and certification.
How does the performance of an EV compare to that of a conventional gas-powered vehicle?
EVs deliver power to your wheels the instant you step on the pedal. The result is torque and acceleration much greater than a combustion engine. They're also exceptionally smooth, don’t need gear shifting, and don’t shake when idle.
Will EVs need regular servicing like conventional gasoline powered vehicles?
EVs require servicing, but less often. BEVs require no oil changes, while PHEVs require them less frequently than gasoline-powered vehicles.
How do the maintenance costs of a PEV compare to traditional vehicles?
PEVs have no exhaust, no transmission, no oil, or most of the other moving parts in combustion engines. This means fewer tune-ups, lower maintenance costs, and a smoother drive (without gear shifting).
PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
Do electric cars benefit the environment?
Thanks to electricity, EVs are significantly more environmentally friendly than their gas-powered counterparts. They reduce gasoline dependence, greenhouse gas emissions, and smog emissions. Operating on pure battery power is the cleanest option, but even plug-in hybrids have very clean gasoline engines even when running in hybrid mode.
Will plug-in cars lead to more coal plants?
No. The current electric grid’s off-peak capacity for power generation is sufficient to power high percent of commutes new power plants, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. power grid is getting cleaner as renewable energy replaces coal plants.