Electric vehicles are becoming the "future of automobiles," as they continue to grow in popularity and importance to our transportation infrastructure.
It seems like you hear about another automobile manufacturer getting into the all-electric vehicle market quite often. Nearly 1.8 million electric vehicles were registered in the United States in 2020, five times the amount of registered vehicles from 2016. The adoption rate of electric vehicles continues to grow.
However, you may be on the fence about getting an electric car. If so, you're not alone. In a 2019 study, uninterested respondents stated battery life, charging anxiety and costs as reasons why they couldn't switch to an electric vehicle.
Access to charging and initial costs were barriers to entry in the past. However, automobile manufacturers and power producers are solving these problems across the country. It's becoming more accessible than ever to purchase and use an EV as your primary form of transportation. An EV range is typically around 80 to over 300 miles on a full charge, and the average American’s daily round-trip commute is less than 30 miles.
There are many environmental and economic benefits to owning an electric vehicle. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of electric cars and why an electric vehicle may be more attainable than you think.
ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A REFRESHER
Not all EVs are the same. Electric vehicles are available in a variety of types to accommodate consumer needs. There are three common types of electric cars that we'll refer to:
- Battery Electric Vehicles (known as EVs, BEVs, AEVs): Battery electric vehicles run entirely on electricity, no gasoline required.
- Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (known as PHEVs): Plug-in hybrids have electric motors and gas-powered engines. They mainly run on the electric motor until the battery is close to depletion. Then, the vehicle switches to the gas-powered engine.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs): Hybrid electric vehicles run on gas but use an electric motor to extend the range the car can cover.
Electric Vehicle Benefits Overview
Electric Vehicles (EVs) Cost Less To Operate Than Gas Powered Cars.
EV operation can be three to five times cheaper than gasoline and diesel-powered cars, depending on your local gasoline and electric rates.
EVs Are Environmentally Friendly.
EVs have no tailpipe emissions. The power plant producing your electricity may produce emissions, but electricity from hydro, solar, nuclear or wind-powered plants is generally emission-free.
Never Go To The Gas Station Again.
Electric vehicles do not require gasoline and can be charged at home with a standard 120V outlet, or a 240V level 2 charger can be installed for faster, more efficient charging.
EV Performance Benefits.
Electric motors provide quiet, smooth operation and stronger acceleration and require less maintenance than gasoline-powered internal combustion engines.
EV Driving Range & Recharge Time.
EV range is typically around 80 to over 300 miles on a full charge. The average American’s daily round-trip commute is less than 30 miles. Fully recharging the battery pack can take four to eight hours. A "fast charge" to 80% capacity can take 30 minutes.
BENEFITS OF ELECTRIC CARS: ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Politicians, environmentalists and researchers have promoted electric vehicles for their environmental impact. But do they live up to the hype?
The bottom line: all-electric vehicles create zero tailpipe emissions.
In a comparative study of the total amount of emissions for electric and gas-powered vehicles, the use of electric cars showed a significant drop in total emissions, including coal and natural gas produced electricity.
Electrical power production creates less greenhouse gas than gasoline production and emissions. As technology advances for alternative power sources, like hydro, solar and wind, electric vehicles will produce fewer greenhouse gases, widening the emissions gap between gas-powered and electric-powered automobiles.
EVs are highly efficient. In the comparative study, researchers found that gas-powered vehicles would need to reach over 200 miles per gallon to achieve the same efficiency as EVs in certain situations.
Electric vehicles can capitalize on a few technical aspects to reach this level of efficiency:
- Immediate propulsion: Electric vehicles can immediately turn energy into propulsion, unlike a gasoline engine that combusts fuel to move the car. Combustion creates more heat than usable energy, leading to inefficient propulsion.
- Regenerative braking: EVs can recapture energy during braking to recharge the vehicle's battery.
While the manufacturing and use of gasoline or electric-powered vehicles produce emissions, EVs remain much more efficient and an excellent alternative to gas or diesel.
BENEFITS OF ELECTRIC CARS: COST SAVINGS
While some may think that electric cars are too expensive to purchase, the economic benefits of EVs could potentially offset the cost and help drivers save.
Hybrid electric vehicles still use gasoline, however, their mixed use of an electric motor and gas motor help them achieve high levels of fuel efficiency, reducing trips to the pump. Plug-in hybrids take this even further by only using the gasoline engine once the battery is near depletion.
In 2010, the U.S. federal government began offering electric vehicle incentives. While the specific model you are looking for may not be available for a tax credit, it only takes a moment to see if your purchase could qualify. For information on federal tax credits, check out fuelconomy.gov to see what vehicles are eligible for a tax credit.
All-electric vehicles can maximize the driver's dollar by using only electricity to power the car. Savings will vary by the range of the car, charging speed and the length of commute. To see your potential savings, visit our gas cost to EV cost savings calculator.
IS AN EV RIGHT FOR YOU?
While EVs are becoming more affordable and can cover longer distances, they may not be the best choice for you if:
- You don't have access to overnight charging at home.
- You commute over 300 miles a day.
- You regularly take road trips.
In any of these cases, a hybrid vehicle may be a viable option for you as they still run on gas but use an electric motor to increase efficiency.
BENEFITS OF ELECTRIC CARS: WHY YOUR LOCAL COOPERATIVE CARES
While large cities have been quicker to implement electric vehicles and charging structures, cooperatives would also like to see these benefits extended to rural members. Some cooperatives, such as Callaway Electric Cooperative, have begun to install charging stations their members can benefit from. Many cooperatives are also investing in an electric fleet vehicle to test the technology and make it available for members to learn more.
Your local cooperative also can provide info on local electric vehicle rebates, setting up a dedicated charging station and more.
Many electric cooperatives are excited about the chance to provide electricity to members who purchase electric vehicles. It is a benefit to our members and to the environment alike.