What Is an EV (Electronic Vehicle)? Everything You Need To Know
The automobile is never going away, but the gas-guzzlers currently clogging the freeways and parking lots of America might be on their way out. In the future, electric vehicles might take their place. These revolutionary vehicles run on electric power rather than gas power, so they have the potential to be better for the environment in the long run.
But what exactly is an EV or electronic vehicle? Today, let’s break down everything you need to know about electric vehicles in detail.
Types of Electric Vehicles
There are actually several different types of electric vehicles you can purchase or see on the road. These include:
- EVs or general electric vehicles. These are fully electric cars that get 100% of their power from a battery charged with electricity. They encompass most of the below vehicles
- FCEVs or fuel-cell electric vehicles. These are primarily found in California and run on compressed hydrogen. You fill up the tanks of FCEVs at gas stations similar to those you see for gas-powered vehicles, but this also limits these cars’ availability in other states
- BEVs or battery-powered vehicles. These use only the electric motor/motors for propulsion. Therefore, they don’t produce any emissions through the tailpipe
- HEVs or hybrid electric vehicles. As their names suggest, hybrid electric vehicles get their power from electric motors and from internal combustion engines. They also incorporate technologies such as regenerative braking to store extra energy to recharge the battery over time
- PHEVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. These have cables that can plug into power outlets to charge up their batteries. They also include petroleum-based fuel tanks to power their engines in some cases
As you can see, the electric vehicle market is already pretty complex. As technology develops and becomes more standardized, one or two of the above electric vehicle types may become more common and outperform the others.
Current electric cars from popular automakers include the Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Ford F-150 Lightning EV, Honda Clarity, and the Hyundai Kona EV.
How Far Can EVs Travel?
This is the million-dollar question for many drivers — are electric vehicles worthwhile if they can only drive a few miles before needing to recharge?
Good news: electric car ranges have significantly improved since these vehicles first hit the road a few decades ago. For example, lots of BEVs can travel up to 200 miles or more with a single battery charge. More advanced cars can even go up to 400 miles on a single charge.
Generally, electric vehicles can drive for around 250 miles or so regardless of their designs or weights. Most are also relatively fast-charging. Charge times range between 8 hours and 10 hours or so.
However, the driving range for electric vehicles can vary. Furthermore, running other systems in the car, such as a heater or air-conditioner, lowers the driving range since those systems take power from the shared battery.
Hybrid electric vehicles, since they use both electric battery power and internal combustion engines, can drive further. They use both methods of power depending on which is most efficient or necessary at the time.
Charging Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles of all types primarily rely on charging stations to replenish their battery power. Depending on the vehicle model and type, some electric vehicles can plug into sockets at home or in a garage and recharge that way. Others must use dedicated EV charging stations, which can be found at private homes and at some businesses or parking lots.
At the time of this writing, there are approximately 42,000 electric vehicle charging stations around the country, and that number is growing.
Cost To Charge EVs
Many drivers are hesitant to purchase or adopt electric vehicles entirely because of how much it may cost to recharge them. Naturally, this price can vary heavily from car to car or place to place.
In general, however, charging up an electric vehicle is cheaper than paying for gas in many areas of the country. For example, say that you put 1000 miles on your electric vehicle each month. Each kilowatt-hour of electricity costs $.10. Therefore, charging your electric vehicle at home will be about $25-$33 per month.
In contrast, imagine that you drive an economical car with gas mileage of 30 miles per gallon. You drive the car for 1000 miles each month as well. If the car has a 12-gallon gas tank, you get 360 miles per fill up at the gas station.
Since the average price of gas is about $3 per gallon, you’ll pay $108 to refill your tank three times over a one-month timeframe. As you can see from this example, the cost to charge electric vehicles should not hold you back from purchasing one. Their fuel economy is strictly better than cars that run on fossil fuels or that use gasoline engines.
On top of that, the Department of Energy, EPA, and other organizations have incentives to get more people to switch to all-electric vehicles and reduce tailpipe emissions.
EVs Average Costs
That said, electric vehicles are expensive in another way: their upfront costs. The average price for an electric car is about $56,437. That’s a bit higher than the average cost for a gas-powered vehicle, which is around $46,329.
Therefore, it’s more expensive to buy an electric vehicle initially. Additionally, electric vehicles depreciate more quickly than gas-powered vehicles. That’s because their battery packs lose charge capacity over time and have to be replaced after several years of use. Battery life can also shift depending on the temperature.
In this way, it’s clear that electric vehicles are still too expensive to be ideal choices for most Americans. However, they could be good vehicles if you have the cash to spare for them and understand that you’ll save money in the long run due to spending less money on gas.
Are Electric Cars the Way of the Future?
That remains to be seen, although it’s highly likely! Electric cars are better for the environment and, as we saw from the above example, have the potential to be cheaper in aggregate since drivers spend less money on fuel for EVs compared to gas cars. However, electric cars still have a long way to go before they are affordable and accessible for the average American.
Furthermore, charger infrastructure needs to be built up so that battery electric vehicle drivers can reliably charge their vehicles while on cross-country trips. For now, the most fuel-efficient and eco-friendly means of driving seems to be a hybrid electric vehicle.
That way, you have the on-demand power of an internal combustion engine plus the eco-friendliness of an electric battery. You can use either propulsion method depending on what works best for you in the moment!
Electric cars might be tough to buy, but you can rent them from agencies like Advantage Rent-a-Car easier than ever. In fact, Advantage allows you to rent practically any car you can imagine, ranging from sedans to luxury or exotic cars and more. Check out our rental fleet today and contact us for more information!
Alternative Fueling Station Locator | Department of Energy
Here’s whether it’s actually cheaper to switch to an electric vehicle | CNBC
FOTW# 1167, January 4, 2021: Median Driving Range of All-Electric Vehicles Tops 250 Miles for Model Year 2020 | Department of Energy