ELECTRIC VEHICLE OVERVIEW
Today, many manufacturers offer at least one electric vehicle (EV) model, and therefore, there are several plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) options available on the market.
For simplicity, today's vehicles can be sorted into four main categories:
- Conventional vehicles have an internal combustion engine, with the most common fuels being gasoline and diesel.
- 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; it is not possible to charge by plugging in.
- PHEVs have larger batteries than hybrids and use both gas and electricity to power the wheels. These vehicles vary in their electric range but shift to gasoline-only operation when battery power is depleted or in certain other conditions. The vehicles plug in to charge the battery.
- BEVs have much longer electric ranges than PHEVs, are powered solely by electricity and are charged by plugging in.
What is the cost to own and operate an EV vs. a gas-powered vehicle?
While BEVs and PHEVs can have higher purchase prices, they can have lower operating costs. Incentives/rebates for these vehicles may be available as well.
According to an AAA study, owners who drive 15,000 miles in their electric car in a year spend roughly $546 on power, versus $1,255 in a gas-powered car. Electric car owners spent around $0.03 per mile to get their car moving, which is $0.04 less than small sedan owners and $0.05 less than people with small SUVs. For more information about the AAA study, CLICK HERE.
Other considerations to add to the calculations:
- Tax credit: Some EVs qualify for the federal tax credit of up to $7,500, though the specific amount is based on the vehicle, manufacturer and your tax liability.
- Other incentives: Some states, cities and cooperatives offer additional credits or benefits for EVs.
- Maintenance: A BEV might have lower maintenance costs due to mechanical simplicity (e.g., fewer moving parts). PHEVs are more complex, with both gas and electric components, but maintenance costs might be less than gas-powered vehicles. For example, due to regenerative braking, the brake system experiences reduced wear.
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, AAA