10 things you might not know about electric vehicles

As electric vehicle technology continues to improve, and the cost of the vehicles continues to fall, more and more people are making the switch to electric.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and all-electric vehicles (EVs) — collectively called electric drive vehicles — use electricity either as their primary fuel or to improve the efficiency of conventional vehicle designs.

How much of a difference do these cars make? Transitioning to electric drive vehicles (including hybrid-electric) could reduce US oil dependence by more than 80%, and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60%.

Below, find ten more things you might not know about electric vehicles.


10. The average American’s daily round-trip commute is less than 30 miles. With many electric vehicles having a range of more than 70 miles a charge, they are a reliable and comfortable way to get from point A to point B. For longer trips, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with a back-up internal combustion engine may be a good alternative. Both help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and contribute to a cleaner environment. (Watch Energy 101: Electric Vehicles video to learn more.)

9. The electric vehicle market is growing faster than you might realize. More than 12,000 plug-in and all-electric vehicles were sold in May 2014 — making it the highest month of electric car sales to date — and there are estimated to be more than 211,000 plug-in vehicles on the road (as of June 2014).

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8. The number of highway-capable electric vehicle models on the market continues to rise. For model years 2013 and 2014, manufacturers debuted at least 18 new plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, including the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV and 2014 Fiat 500e.

7. Electric vehicles are a highly efficient mode of transportation. Up to 80 percent of the energy in the battery is transferred directly to power the car, compared with only 14-26 percent of the energy from gasoline-powered vehicles.

6. Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, electric cars emit no tailpipe pollutants when running on electricity — cleaning the air we breathe and helping automakers meet the US fuel economy and emissions standards.

5. The battery technologies in almost all of the electric vehicles on the road today were created with support from the Energy Department, which also played a key role in the development of today’s lithium-ion batteries. Argonne National Laboratory developed breakthrough battery technology — a combination of lithium-rich and manganese-rich mixed-metal oxides that offers at least 50 percent more energy storage capacity — that is licensed by several companies, including Envia, Toda, BASF and Compact Power/LG Chem.

4. The battery is one of the most expensive parts of an electric vehicle, but technological advances are making batteries less costly. Before 2009, a 100-mile range electric battery cost $33,000. Today, it costs about $17,000, and it is projected to drop to $10,000 by the end of 2015.

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3. Beyond wiper blades and tires, all-electric vehicles require little maintenance, saving auto owners money over the life of the car. Even the brake pads last longer in electric vehicles, because they use regenerative braking to slow down — a method of converting the energy used to reduce the car’s speed into power that is stored in the car’s battery.

2. In the United States, electricity costs between 3 and 25 cents per kilowatt-hour. It costs only $1 for today’s all-electric vehicles to travel the same distance as a similar-sized gasoline car would on a gallon of fuel. This adds up to a savings of more than $2 a gallon or $1,000 a year in refueling costs, and the next generation of electric vehicles will bring even bigger savings. The price of gasoline is posted at every corner gas station, but what about the cost of driving on electricity? The eGallon web tool provides a quick and simple answer to this question and allows electric vehicle (EV) drivers to see how much they can save on fuel by using electricity instead of gasoline.

1. A majority of the electric vehicle owners charge their cars overnight at home when the electricity costs are lower. But with more than 5,000 public charging stations across the country, refueling your electric vehicle while away from home is even easier. Check out the Alternative Fueling Station Locator to find one near you.

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