ELECTRIC VEHICLE BATTERY INFORMATION
Battery electric vehicle (BEV) vs. gas-powered vehicle:
The initial purchase price of a BEV may be somewhat higher than a similar gasoline vehicle (though look out for tax credits, rebates and other incentives), but most BEVs should cost less to operate. Driving on electricity is cheaper than driving on gasoline, and BEVs have fewer parts, which might mean less maintenance and fewer repairs.
BEV operating costs:
- Though specific savings will depend on gas prices and your driving habits, BEVs cost less to operate than gas-fueled vehicles because electricity costs are equivalent to approximately $1 per gallon of gasoline.
- Electricity prices are typically more stable than gasoline prices. The U.S. electric supply does not rely on imported petroleum.
BEV energy efficiency:
- BEVs convert about 80% of their energy input into moving the car. In contrast, gas-powered cars are only about 20% efficient.
- Most BEVs have a regenerative braking system that captures energy and restores it to the battery when you stop.
- A BEV driven 10,000 miles a year may use between 2,500 and 3,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to charge; that is between $325 and $390 per year assuming an average residential electricity rate of 13 cents.
BEV environmental aspects:
- BEVs run on locally generated electricity and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
- The vehicles have less of a negative environmental impact because of higher efficiency, lower energy consumption and no tailpipe emissions.
- Electricity is not a “fuel” in the same way gasoline is. Cooperatives and other utilities produce electricity from many sources, including hydropower, nuclear, natural gas, coal, and increasingly, wind and solar generation. As the source of electricity gets cleaner, so does the vehicle.
Other items about BEVs:
- BEVs require little maintenance. They have far fewer moving parts than gas-powered vehicles, so less can go wrong. Brake pads last longer because of regenerative braking.
- BEVs are quiet, as there is no combustion noise produced.
- BEVs get better range in stop-and-go traffic than during highway driving.
- BEVs' vehicle inlet and charging equipment are required to be safety tested, certified and listed by UL.
Incentives when purchasing or operating a BEV:
- You could receive a federal tax credit, though the amount depends on the vehicle, manufacturer and your tax liability.
- Some states and cities offer incentives, including access to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and special parking spots.
- Some cooperatives offer special electric rates for charging during off-peak times (such as overnight).
- Some states, cities and cooperatives offer rebates and incentives to offset the purchase of an electric vehicle or charging station.
- To find incentives in your region, visit GoElectricDrive.
Disadvantages of BEVs:
- Long-distance travel in a BEV will require more advanced planning.
- If you need to charge partway through a trip, you will be stopped for longer than had you filled up a gas-powered vehicle.
- It may be difficult to find a charging station when and where you need one. There are, however, apps available that can help you locate places to charge.
There are different levels of charging. How often you charge and where you plug in depend on how far you drive and the charging method.
- Level 1: A standard 120-volt home receptacle on a dedicated circuit will provide three to five miles of driving range for every hour of charging.
- Level 2: A 240-volt connection will provide 10 to 20 miles of range for every hour of charging. Note that this connection must be installed by an electrician who understands BEVs. Some public areas and workplaces also offer Level 2 charging stations.
- DC Fast Charge: DC fast charge can deliver 60 to 80 miles of range in 20 minutes of charging. Used most often in public charging stations, especially along heavy traffic corridors.
Safety features are built into BEVs and charging equipment. The charging cable is live only when it is connected to a vehicle. The charger senses that the connection is properly made before the electric current is turned on. Also, the charger has a ground-fault interrupter (GFI). To prevent shocks, charging stops immediately if even a few milliamps of current leak.
Factors that impact BEV driving range:
- Using heating and air conditioning, as well as running headlights, wipers and the defroster.
- Extreme temperatures, particularly cold.
- Your driving style.
- The type of driving (city vs. highway) – with the benefits of regenerative braking, BEVs perform better in city driving.
Vehicle ownership, whether electric or gas-powered, is a personal choice that should take many factors into consideration. For anyone interested in an EV, it is recommended that you visit a dealership, test drive one, and ask as many questions as possible to make an informed decision.
Source: Touchstone Energy, Advanced Energy