EV Basics

We’ve covered a lot of ground when it comes to electric vehicles on this trip but maybe you’re still wondering about some of the basics, like what’s the difference between a hybrid and an all electric vehicle, or how do EVs differ from gasoline cars. Don’t worry we’ve got you covered.

What types of electric vehicles are available?
There are primarily three types:

  1. Hybrid 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.

  2. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (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.

  3. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are powered solely by electricity and are recharged by plugging in the vehicle.

There are many brands and models of electric vehicles. Check out PlugInConnect’s electric vehicle comparison chart to review a options available in the Midwest or visit the Alternative Fuel Data Center’s website to see a list of each model of car from each manufacturer to find the type of vehicle that suits your needs.

How is the maintenance for an electric car difference from a gasoline car?
Electric vehicles require less routine maintenance than your traditional gasoline car. Since there are significantly fewer moving parts in an electric vehicle compared to a traditional vehicle, less ongoing preventative maintenance is needed. They require no oil changes, tune-ups or new spark plugs. Brake life is extended on electric vehicles since the motor is used to slow the car, recapturing the kinetic energy and storing it back in the battery. Electric motors will also outlast the body of the vehicle. Many automakers also offer warranties on the batteries.

What is an electric vehicle like to drive?
Most electric cars deliver instant power from a stop, and they are both smooth and quiet when underway. The driving experience is quite different from a traditional gasoline-fueled car as electric vehicles feel like they glide effortlessly. Of course, driving experience varies and depends on the drivers personal tastes, so we encourage you to conduct your own test drive before buying.

How far can an electric vehicle travel?
On average, plug-in hybrids can travel 10 to 50 miles on electricity before they switch to gasoline. Their gas tanks extend total range to between 300 and 600 miles. Some designs allow the driver to choose when to use electricity or gasoline.

All-electric vehicles can travel farther on electricity than plug-in hybrids, but their total range is limited by the battery size. As battery technology advances and costs come down, vehicle range increases. Most battery electric vehicles available today promise 100 to 240 miles on a charge, and some can travel even farther.

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