Steps to going Electric Vehicles
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Explaining Electric & Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles (EVs) have a battery instead of a gasoline tank, and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are a combination of gasoline and electric vehicles, so they have a battery, an electric motor, a gasoline tank, and an internal combustion engine. PHEVs use both gasoline and electricity as fuel sources. More on PHEVs.
Watch the video to learn how electric vehicles and different types of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles work.
EVs and PHEVs are now available in multiple vehicle classes. There are currently about 40 EV and PHEV models on the market, and more models are expected to be released in the coming years. Visit fueleconomy.gov for a full list of options. Not all models are available in all 50 states.
EVs produce no tailpipe emissions. While charging the battery may increase pollution at the power plant, total emissions associated with driving EVs are still typically less than those for gasoline cars—particularly if the electricity is generated from renewable energy sources like wind.
PHEVs produce tailpipe emissions when gasoline is being used as a fuel source.
To estimate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with charging and driving an electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle where you live, visit our Greenhouse Gas Emissions for EVs and PHEVs Calculator.
Did you know there are tax credits for All-Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles? Check out fueleconomy.gov’s tax incentive page. Save money, avoid trips to the gas station, and help the environment. Don’t forget to look for state incentives, too!
The number of miles an EV will travel before the battery needs to be recharged is often less than the distance your gasoline car can travel before being refueled, but typically is still enough to accomplish the average person’s daily driving needs.
An electric vehicle’s fuel economy is reported in terms of miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe). Think of this as being similar to MPG, but instead of presenting miles per gallon of the vehicle’s fuel type, it represents the number of miles the vehicle can go using a quantity of electricity with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. This allows you to compare an EV with a gasoline vehicle even though electricity is not dispensed or burned in terms of gallons.
PHEVs typically have driving ranges that are comparable to gasoline vehicles. PHEVs have two fuel economy values: one for when the vehicle operates primarily on electricity (listed in terms of MPGe), and one for when the vehicle operates only on gasoline (listed as MPG).
Note: The EPA estimates, including EV range, are meant to be a general guideline for consumers when comparing vehicles. Just like “your mileage may vary” for gasoline vehicles, your range will vary for EVs. In particular, factors like cold weather, accessory use (such as A/C), and high-speed driving can lower your vehicle’s range significantly.
Depending on how far you drive each day, you may be able to meet all your driving needs by plugging in while at home. Most EVs can be charged with a standard 120 V outlet. To charge the vehicle more quickly, you may want to install a dedicated 240 V outlet or charging system. You may also be able to plug in at your workplace, or at one of the growing numbers of public charging stations.
ENERGY STAR certified EV charging equipment
A Little More on PHEVs . . .
Some PHEVs operate exclusively, or almost exclusively, on electricity until the battery is nearly empty. Then, gasoline is burned in the engine to provide additional power. Other PHEVs—sometimes called “blended mode” PHEVs—use gasoline and electricity together to power the vehicle while the battery has charge.
The Department of Energy My Plug-in Hybrid Calculator and
The University of California, Davis EV Explorer EXITcan help you determine if a PHEV is right for you. Compare different vehicles to get yearly fuel costs customized to your commute, frequency of travel, and charger access.
Obtain resources for electric vehicles here.
Do your research.
EV Home Charging Stations - Don't Locate Stations, Just Charge!
What’s the Difference Between EV Charging Levels?
Most drivers are familiar with different grades of gasoline, like regular, plus, or premium. What about electric vehicles? Are there different “grades”?
Electric vehicle (EV) chargers are characterized by “levels” rather than grades.
The levels describe how quickly a charger will recharge an EV’s battery. In general, chargers are defined by the number of kilowatts (kW) they output. Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) received by a standard passenger-sized EV equates to about 4 miles of driving range. The higher the output from the charger, the faster the EV battery will recharge.
The guide below is an introduction to standard charger levels: Level 1 (L1), Level 2 (L2), and DC Fast Charger (DCFC).
Level 1 Charging
Level 1 charging cord plugged into standard 120 V wall outlet
Summary: L1 is the slowest type of charging equipment. L1 chargers plug directly into a standard 120 volt (V) AC outlet supplying an average power output of 1.3 kW to 2.4 kW. This power output is equivalent to 3-5 miles of EV range per hour. An overnight charge will add 30-50 miles of range, which is sufficient for many commuters. A full charge for an empty EV battery can take over 24 hours.
Location: L1 charging occurs primarily in residential settings. There are very few L1 chargers built for public use. A majority of L1 chargers are the “emergency” cables that come standard with the purchase of an EV. Some parking garages make 120 V outlets available for charging if EV drivers supply their cable.
Cost: L1 chargers are typically included with the purchase of an EV; therefore the cost to use an L1 depends entirely on the cost of electricity at the charging location. Assuming the driver pays for electricity, an overnight charge costs approximately $1.33 (at the US average costs of electricity 13.3¢/kWh). A full charge can vary between $1.20 and $13.00 depending on the size of the EV battery and the electricity rate.
Level 2 Charging
Standard public Level 2 charger
Summary: L2 chargers operate at 208-240 V and output anywhere from 3 kW to 19 kW of AC power. This power output translates to 18-28 miles of range per hour. An average EV can be fully charged in 8 hours or less. FreeWire’s Mobi EV Charger is a mobile equivalent of an L2 charger with a power output of 5.5 kW per port and it has 2 ports that can be used simultaneously. Some L2 chargers can supply more power than what EVs can take, so results will vary depending on the charger and EV combination.
Location: L2 is the most prevalent type of charger in the United States. L2 chargers have been deployed in every state and can be found in many popular public locations, including parking garages, grocery stores, malls, and hotels. L2 chargers are popular at workspaces where employees can leave EVs charging for long durations. Many EV drivers choose to purchase an L2 charger for home use as it allows them to fully charge their EV overnight.
Cost: The price for charging at an L2 station can vary broadly. While some providers offer free charging, many public L2 chargers cost between $0.20-0.30 per kWh, which translates to about $1.00-5.00 per hour. An eight-hour charge on a public L2 will nearly fill the battery of almost every EV available. Charging an EV at home using a similar L2 charging infrastructure, will cost approximately $6.00-10.00 for a full charge. Additional installation and infrastructure are necessary for residential L2 ports.
Direct Current Fast Chargers
FreeWire’s Boost Charger is a battery-backed charger with a power output equivalent to higher-powered DCFC’s without necessary grid infrastructure upgrades.
Summary: DCFCs are the fastest chargers available with a maximum output of 350 kW. DCFCs are designed to fill an EV battery to 80% in 20-40 minutes, and 100% in 60-90 minutes. For example, FreeWire’s Boost Charger™ can charge a single EV up to 120 kW, delivering over 100 miles of range in 15 minutes. The maximum charge rate is often limited by the EV acceptance rate. While many EVs currently on the market charge at a maximum 50 kW, there are newer EV models capable of charging over 200 kW including the Porsche Taycan® and some Tesla models. There are very few public charging stations capable of actually delivering the highest level of power accepted by top-of-the-line EVs today.
Location: Due to their high cost and extremely high power draw, DCFCs are intended for commercial or industrial locations rather than residential. DCFCs are usually located adjacent to major interstate highways to enable EV road-trips.
There are currently 15,000+ DCFC plugs in the US, but forecasts indicate that the number of DCFCs will grow significantly in the coming years.
Cost: DCFC charging sessions can be billed either by per kWh or per minute. Per kWh is the better option for most drivers because they are only charged for the energy delivered to the EV. In contrast, per-minute billing penalizes EVs that can’t accept high power rates and disproportionately bills customers who stay at the charger longer. Charging per kWh is illegal in some states because regulations in those states only allow utilities to charge for electricity. Billing rates are determined by charging networks or site hosts and can vary from $0.10/kWh to over $1.00/kWh, with an average of $0.35/kWh in the United States. Using the average rate, a full charge can vary from $10.00 to $30.00 depending on the EV’s battery size.
SUMMARY OF EV CHARGING LEVELS:
Charger Level Cost per Charge Speed Primary Location
L1 $ Slow Residential
L2 $$ Med. Residential, Public, Work
DCFC $$$ Fast Public
Source: Free Wire Tech
The SmartWay program certifies the 20% lowest-emitting passenger vehicles each model year, based on greenhouse gas and smog ratings. Visit SmartWay Vehicles for more information. Fueleconomy.gov also has a search tool for
On September 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) lodged civil settlement and filed a corresponding complaint against Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (collectively “Daimler”) to resolve claims for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act covering diesel passenger vehicles sold in the United States from model year 2009 through 2016. Visit the Mercedes Violations page for details.
In 2016, DOJ alleged violations of the Clean Air Act by Volkswagen (including Audi and Porsche) covering all of Volkswagen's 2.0L and 3.0L diesel vehicles sold in the United States from model year 2009 through 2016. Visit the Volkswagen Violations page for details.
The SmartWay designation is grandfathered in for the affected vehicles.
Search All Vehicles
Visit fueleconomy.gov to see all available vehicles.
3. Training & Education
Learn about electric vehicles here.
10 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE BUYING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE
HERE’S A CHECKLIST OF FACTORS YOU’LL WANT TO CONSIDER BEFORE BECOMING AN EV OWNER.
If you’re looking to make the transition from a traditionally powered auto to a full electric car or crossover, you’ll find it’s a brave new world. Driving a battery-powered vehicle has many advantages, particularly lower operating and maintenance costs, though the ownership experience is different than with a gas-fueled model. Whether you’re looking to buy a new or a used electric car, you’ll want to ask yourself some tough questions before making the switch to battery power:
1. IS THE CAR’S OPERATING RANGE SUFFICIENT?
With the current generation of electric vehicles able to run for more than 200 miles on a charge, so-called range anxiety is less of a factor than it was a few years ago when EVs struggled to crack the 100-mile mark. Still, you’ll want to make sure a given model’s range is, at the least, sufficient for your daily commute and weekend activities. It pays to overestimate your needs with regard to an EV’s estimated range because your mileage, as they say, will vary.
You’ll burn though more kilowatts of energy at highway speeds than you will around town, for example. You can also expect an EV’s range to suffer significantly in cold weather. Research conducted by the AAA found that when the mercury dips to 20°F and the vehicle’s heater is in use, an average EV’s range drops by 41 percent. Battery range suffers in the summer as well, dropping by an average 17 percent with the air conditioning running.
2. DOES THE VEHICLE OTHERWISE MEET MY NEEDS?
As with any type of vehicle, you’ll want to do some research to ensure an electric car you’re considering is sufficiently roomy inside for you and your family. Make sure there’s enough cargo space for weekly shopping excursions, sports equipment, or strollers and other child-related gear. Choose a model that fits your budget and comes with all the features you require. And always give any vehicle you’re considering a thorough test drive to see if it drives to your liking, is comfortable, and you find its controls easy to operate.
3. SHOULD I LEASE OR BUY AN EV?
While new-vehicle leasing currently accounts for around 30 percent of all transactions, published reports suggest that close to 80 percent of all EVs are leased. Down payments and monthly outlays are usually lower than with conventional financing, and automakers often offer promotional lease deals with built-in cost reductions. Leasing an electric vehicle for two or three years can help ensure you’ll keep up with the latest technology, particularly with regard to operating range. On the down side, leasing virtually guarantees you’ll be making a perpetual car payment. What’s more, you may encounter unexpected charges at the end of the lease if you exceed the stated mileage limit or turn in the vehicle is less than pristine condition.
4. WHERE AND HOW WILL I CHARGE THE VEHICLE?
Though the number of public charging stations is growing, it’s far more convenient – not to mention cheaper – to juice up an EV at home. You can simply plug the vehicle into a standard 110-volt wall outlet for what’s called Level 1 charging, but it can take anywhere from eight to nearly 24 hours. A better choice would be to have an electrician install 240-volt service in your garage to accommodate Level 2 charging that can replenish a drained EV battery in as little as four hours. You don’t even technically need an enclosed garage, though if you’ll be plugging in an EV outdoors, you’ll likely need to purchase a specific charging unit for that purpose and have it professionally installed according to local building codes.
5. ARE THERE PUBLIC CHARGING STATIONS NEAR WHERE I LIVE, WORK OR SHOP?
Even if you’re buying one of the longer-range models on the market, there will be times when you’ll want to give your EV and extra jolt of volts away from home. Public chargers are typically installed in public parking garages, retail parking lots, at new-car dealerships, and even on some urban streets. Tesla maintains its own network of Superchargers exclusively for their models. Chargers are most typically limited to urban and suburban areas having higher EV penetration, however. While most public units are of the Level 2 variety, some provide what’s called Level 3 charging. Also known as DC Fast Charging, it can bring a given EV’s battery up to 80 percent of its capacity in around 30-60 minutes.
A number of websites including PlugShare.com and PlugInAmerica.org, as well as apps from charging-networks like ChargePoint and EVgo feature interactive maps that show the locations of public charging stations, what type of charging they support, and even whether or not they’re currently in use.
6. WHAT INCENTIVES CAN I TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TO HELP OFFSET AN EV’S COST?
The federal government gives buyers of new EVs a one-time $7,500 tax credit; if you’re leasing an EV, the tax break is usually applied to the transaction price to lower the monthly payments. However, the credits phase out in two steps for each automaker during the year after it sells 200,000 EVs and/or plug-in hybrids. Tesla was the first manufacturer to hit that mark last year, which means its federal tax break dropped to $3,750 on January 1, will fall to $1,875 on July 1, and will expire altogether on December 31. General Motors also reached 200,000 EV sales last year, and EV credits on the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EV began to phase out beginning on April 1.
A number of states and cities offer their own incentives to EV buyers. They usually take the form of either a tax credit or a cash rebate, with some areas also offering financial assistance to have a home charging unit installed. Provisions and exclusions are plentiful among EV incentive programs, so be sure to wade through the details via your state’s Internet portal to see what’s being offered where you live.
7. HOW LONG DO I EXPECT TO OWN AN EV?
Those looking to forge a long-term relationship with an electric car may be concerned about what it would cost to eventually replace the battery pack. Fortunately, federal regulations mandate that an EV’s power cells be covered under warranty for at least eight years or 100,000 miles. For its part, Hyundai extends this to lifetime coverage on the Kona Electric. However, some automakers only cover an EV’s battery pack against total failure, while others, including BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan, Tesla (Model 3) and Volkswagen will replace it if it reaches a specified reduced capacity percentage, which is usually 60%-70%, while under warranty.
Assuming you own a given EV to the point that that battery needs replacing, it’s not a cheap component to swap out. We’ve seen figures quoted anywhere from $5,000 to as much as $15,000 depending on the model, and that doesn’t include the cost of labor. An EV battery will degrade over time, but so far we’ve not seen widespread reports of earlier-generation EVs needing new power cells. With proper care the battery is essentially a life-of-the-vehicle component.
8. WHAT DOES IT COST TO INSURE AN ELECTRIC CAR?
Insurance costs for EVs tend to be costlier than the norm. One source pegs the premiums at 21 percent higher, on average, than for comparable gas-powered models. That doesn’t mean they’re less safe or more accident-prone than other vehicle types. Rather, it’s because EVs are priced higher than conventional alternatives and generally cost more to repair after getting into a collision, especially because of their pricey battery packs.
9. WILL I STILL NEED A GAS-POWERED RIDE AS A BACKUP?
Though it’s possible to take a longer-range EV out on an extended road trip with routes planned around the location of Level 3 charging stations, family car trips are stressful enough without having to endure range anxiety. If you frequently visit out-of-town friends and relatives, or otherwise travel beyond your car’s range, you’ll probably want to share garage space with a gas or hybrid-powered model. Or you can simply rent a conventional car or crossover when you want to venture beyond your comfort zone.
10. SHOULD I BUY A NEW EV OR A USED ONE
Buying an electric car can be a costly proposition, with most mainstream branded models priced in the $30,000 range; luxury EVs are priced as steep as $100,000 for the top version of the Tesla Model S. Buying a new model assures you’re getting a full warranty and (depending on the model) the latest technology and longest operating range on a charge. With the exception of the Teslas and the Chevrolet Bolt EV, you’ll qualify for the full $7,500 federal tax credit and perhaps other state-specific incentives not granted to used-EV buyers.
That said, you can save considerable money by instead choosing a pre-owned model, including any of those listed for sale here on MYEV.com. With some exceptions, most notably the Tesla models, older EVs take a hit in terms of their resale values, due largely to the aforementioned tax credit combined with relatively lower demand. Though they won’t necessarily have the operating range of some of the latest models, you can find four- or five-year-old EVs selling for $10,000 or less. What’s more, given their range limitations, used EVs tend to be driven fewer miles than the norm, and thus typically endure less wear and tear than the norm.
Source: My EV
Learn how to own an electric vehicle here.
HOW TO FIND ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS
Electric car charging stations can be found in many different types of locations -- from major shopping centers to street corners to courthouses and even in the driveways of private homes. Most of the roughly 100,000
EV charging stations are open to the public and a large number are free.
Many electric car charging stations stations, though, require payment, membership or for you to work on premises. It might take a little planning to find the best ones for you. But at least you won’t be sucking in gas station fumes when you get there!
When you’re in a pinch, or if you want to find a way to charge for free along your route, use one of these applications. All three are available on the web or on Android and iOS.
Looking for an EV charging station? These applications can help.
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THE 3 BEST APPLICATIONS TO FIND CHARGING STATIONS
If you’re going to use one app to find stations, this should be it. They do an excellent job with the user experience, have great filters and many stations are listed.
This is an open source map that a coalition of companies, nonprofits and users keep up. It also has a large listing of electric charging stations and is well designed. It’s worth downloading as well - especially to check it against PlugShare for your most common routes.
The US Department of Energy runs this mapping app. It may not end up being your go-to app, but it can be valuable to have downloaded.
ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO FIND CHARGING STATIONS
You might have some luck searching for stations on Google Maps, but their listings are very limited. Other companies such as FLO, ChargePoint and even Tesla offer ways to find their network of charging stations. However, PlugShare and Open Charge Map both offer a much better selection and a high-quality user experience.
We hope this helps you find electric charging stations where you need them. We want to see many more electric vehicles and stations on the roads. We’re sure you do too. They’re cheaper, better for our health and for our planet.
This is why our nonprofit is laser-focused on phasing out gasoline. The government needs to know that we won’t put up with gasoline much longer.
5. Collaborate & Exemplify
Collaborate with people in your community regarding electric vehicles and see how its done here.
City of Norfolk
E Scotters & E Bikes - City of Norfolk, VA
EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
Do you or will you collaborate or exemplify for your neighbors electric vehcile? Contact us and tell us your story!
6. Community Champions & Partners
Learn about community champions or partners who have electric vehicles or contribute to electric vehicle ownership or infrastructure here.
Vehicles and Greenhouse Gases - EPA’s Role
At EPA, our team of engineers, scientists, policy analysts, lawyers, and others work together to ensure that cars and trucks on the road are as clean and efficient as possible. We do this because we know that cleaner vehicles mean cleaner air.
Here are just some of the vehicle-related projects that we're working on:
Find out how EPA engineers test new vehicles for emissions and fuel economy
Learn about our regulations that limit emissions from new vehicles
Learn how fuel-efficient technology innovations are transforming the automotive market
Explore trends in greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. transportation
Are you or will you be a community champion or partner in obtaining an EV (electronic vehicle)? Contact us and tell us your story!