Although electric vehicles have now moved well beyond their initial “gee whiz” phase to become a widely accepted and rapidly growing segment of the automotive market, people still have lots of questions about them. Let’s dig into our mailbag – or more accurately, our inbox – and address a few of the more common items we get asked about.
- What are the different types of EVs? An All-Electric Vehicle, or AEV (also referred to as a Battery Electric Vehicle, or BEV), is completely electric and has no gasoline engine. It runs entirely on an electric motor powered by its batteries. A PHEV, or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, has a gasoline engine as a back-up to its batteries.
- What’s the driving range of an AEV vs. a PHEV? Many popular mid-priced AEVs, like the Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Kona and Tesla Model 3 have a driving range of about 250 miles on a full charge (although the luxury Tesla Model S has a range of 373 miles). PHEVs have longer ranges because of their back-up gasoline engines. The popular Chevy Volt, for example, gets a combined 420 miles on a full charge and a full tank of gas.
- What are my options for charging? Many EV owners charge their cars overnight in their garages by plugging them into a standard 120-volt electric outlet, while some choose to install a 240-volt Level 2 charger for faster charging. Public charging stations, some of which are free and others which charge a fee, are usually Level 2 or Level 3 – also called DC Fast – which can fully charge some vehicles in about 30 minutes.
- Will I be able to find charging stations on long trips? There are currently more than 23,000 Level 2 and DC Fast public charging stations across the country, with more than 5,600 of those in California. The charging network is expanding rapidly as government incentives and a growing number of EVs on the road encourage the installation of new stations. Apps like PlugShare and ChargeHub can help you pinpoint the location of stations on your travels.
- Are rebates available for EVs? The federal government offers a tax credit of up to $7,500. Many states offer rebates or other incentives, such as California’s rebate of up to $4,500 through its Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. Some local governments provide additional financial benefits, such as the $1000 AEV / $500 PHEV rebate Electric Vehicle Incentive Program offered by the Monterey Bay Air Resources District.
The important thing to keep in mind is that EVs are here to stay. With more EVs rolling off the assembly line every day, more manufacturers entering the market and more charging stations coming online, EVs represent a technology whose time has come.