Electric Vehicles: A Snapshot Guide to What’s Available and What’s Coming Down the Road 3 Electric Vehicles: A Snapshot Guide to What’s Available and What’s Coming Down the Road 2 SO YOU’RE CONSIDERING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE? You’re not alone! Consumer surveys by the Consumer Federation of America have found that about one-third of potential car buyers would consider an EV. So it’s no surprise that 16 major auto manufacturers have 34 new electric vehicles on the market with choices ranging from subcompacts to the luxury laden Tesla. While they’re still more expensive than the corre- sponding gas powered vehicles, EV prices are on the way down and their low operating costs may warrant the added expense. Energy from electricity is something with which we are all familiar and, in fact, take for granted. We live in a plug-in world where most electrically powered products are both extraordi- narily convenient and highly functional. Imagine every night doing the same thing with your car as you do with your cell phone—simply plug- ging it in for the power it needs the next day. And then getting into a nearly silent, clean run- ning car that glides effortlessly out of your driveway and likely has faster pickup than your gas powered car. While there are a number of environmental reasons for buying an electric vehicle, the simplicity of operation, quiet ride, high tech feel and responsive performance are also major benefits. When you consider the complexity of a gasoline powered engine (most of us can’t even identify the items under the hood!) and associated maintenance costs, the simplicity of electric power is refreshing, understandable, and very reliable. Owners of EVs report very low maintenance costs as there’s very little to maintain. SHOULD I EVEN CONSIDER AN ELECTRIC? The big question most consumers have about EVs is: will I run out of power at the worst time pos- sible—or anytime! Who hasn’t needed a flashlight or tried to make a cell phone call only to find the battery is dead. In addition, many of us find it hard to imagine that the same type of motor that runs our blender, sew- ing machine or drill could possibly power a car! Fi- nally, will I easily be able to plug this thing in at home or when I’m out and about? These concerns often dissuade people from looking further into the purchase of an electric vehicle. The fact is, according to a recent in-depth analysis of practical consumer readiness for electric vehicles by the publishers of Consumer Reports and the Union of Concerned Scientists, 42% of car buyers fit the typical driving patterns, charging needs, and model preferences associ- ated with the electric vehicles already on the road. Of households, 56% have access to charg- ing, 95% transport 4 or fewer passengers, 79% don’t require hauling, and 69% drive less than 60 miles on weekdays, well within the range of most battery-electric vehicles. Bottom-line, there’s an excellent chance that an EV will meet your driving needs. WHAT ARE MY CHOICES? So what are your choices? Like all cars, EVs come in various sizes, styles and price ranges. In addition, there are various types of EVs. The industry is trying to settle on acronyms to describe the different types, but here’s a basic overview: All Electric: (BEV – Battery powered Electric Vehicle) These cars simply have a battery and an electric motor which powers the car. They are the simplest and ‘purest’ form of electric vehicle. Because they depend solely on battery power, the battery systems have to be large which can increase the cost of these ve- hicles. In addition to charging up at home, there are a growing number of publically available charging stations (over 15,000 to date) in shopping centers, employee park- ing lots, and along the highway. The range of these vehicles is from 62 to 238 miles per charge. Electric with Built-In Charging Systems: (EREV – Extended-Range Electric Vehicles) These EVs have a gas powered auxiliary power source, that can recharge the battery if you run low on power before getting home There are over 15,000 public charging stations in the U.S. and many are free of charge. For a map showing charging stations near you and throughout the country, check out www.plugshare.com and the PlugShare app for your phone. TIP