Electric Vehicles 101: Five things you need to know to go EV

Electric Vehicles 101: Five things you need to know to go EV

So, you’re thinking of going EV for the first time?

Welcome. You’re not alone. Plug into these ABCs to start your journey.

1. The basics

There are two main types of electric vehicles, both of which plug in to an external electricity source:

  • Battery electric vehicles, a.k.a. all-electric vehicles, which run on electricity only (or, as we like to say, sunshine, if you’re charging with solar power). These zero-emission vehicles have no tailpipes.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have a battery like all-electrics but incorporate a smaller internal combustion engine that can recharge the battery to extend driving range.

More info about types of EVs: U.S. Department of Transportation

2. Vroom, vroom, how’s the drive?

The consensus is in: A blast. Because electric cars use a fairly simple motor (instead of a complex internal combustion engine) with a single-speed transmission, they all get to zoom quicker than gas cars. More than a couple can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds, “supercar territory in the gasoline world,” notes Car and Driver, and that kind of torque helps when merging onto freeways and the like, too. EVs also tend to handle exceptionally well because of their low center of gravity, and any all-plug-in vehicle on the market today drives at freeway speeds. Furthermore, you don’t ever again have to visit the gas station to inhale toxic fumes. Did we mention they’re silent? Shh.

More info from the driver’s POV: Electric Vehicle Association, Plug In America

3. Range and charging

For the 2021 model year, the median range of all-electric plug-ins was over 200 miles, and the average American drives only about 40 miles per day. However, though most plug-in drivers charge at home, public charging still isn’t where we’d like it to be, should you need to refuel on the road. However, billions of public and private dollars are building up our public charging infrastructure, with retailers such as Subway and Starbucks getting into the game.

I’ll have a grande latte with my kilowatts, please.

Also, a growing number of initiatives around the country, including EV rideshare and rental programs, are aimed at making EVs more accessible to people of color and low-income Americans. Finally, a number of apps such as PlugShare help drivers find a plug along the way.

More info about charging basics: Electric for All

4. Variety and price

Want an EV for around $25,000? They’ve got that. Want a luxury ride, a high-performance machine, an SUV or a working truck? They’ve got that, too. With some 75 plug-ins on the market, according to EVAdoption.com, and more on the way, you’re sure to find a gas-free ride to fits your needs and your personality. Add to this, a growing used EV market and more than a couple brand new plug-ins have a sticker under $30,000. Good ole’ Chevy has an EV for under $20,000 if you qualify for the maximum federal tax credit (see below for more on that).

Like any new tech, some EVs carry a premium. But because of their simpler motors, they require virtually no part replacements or smog checks and the like, so operational and maintenance costs are lower. The cost of the electricity to charge an EV is almost always hundreds less annually than the price you’ll pay to gas up a similar vehicle and a plethora of incentives available for both EVs and home EV chargers help bring prices down, as well. Here is a tool that lists them all–including federal tax credits and state, local and utility rebates–by zip code, anywhere in the nation.

More info about incentives: Kelley Blue Book

5. The future

Some two dozen countries are planning to ban the sale of new gasoline vehicles, some as soon as 2025. Automakers are following suit and the Biden Administration has stated its goal “to confront the climate crisis” to have EVs make up at least 50% of new car sales by 2030. So, ready to shop?

More info to help you find an EV: PlugStar. Keep in mind, prices will vary depending on market demand, inventory and the state you live in.

Want to know more? Try the new Electric Cars for Dummies Cheat Sheet. And stay tuned for my next blog, about electric bikes, motorcycles and other modes of smaller electric vehicles.

By Zan Dubin-Scott, Public Relations, Marketing & Social Impact at ZDS Communications, Co-Founder National Drive Electric Week and benefyd Advisor.