Q: Why buy a car that plugs in?
A: Plugging in to tap renewable power such as solar, wind, tidal or other, allows you to drive without contributing to the pollution that sickens and kills hundreds of thousands of Americans every year, providing you with virtually pollution-free driving. Electricity is much cheaper than gas (1/2 the current cost of gas) and allows you to opt out of spending tens of thousands of dollars on gas for the rest of your life. It allows you to drive silently; you won’t add to the din of thousands of internal combustion engines moving throughout your community.
Q: Isn’t plugging in an inconvenient chore?
A: Absolutely not! Plugging your car in to charge is like plugging your phone in to charge! It takes 5 to 10 seconds of your time to plug your car into a charger. You can charge anywhere there is an electric outlet, including your house or workplace.
Q: Are electric cars impractical because of their range?
A: No! Well over 90% of daily driving is under 100 miles. According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, the national average is 30 to 40 miles per day. The list of EVs that offer ranges of 200 to 300 miles is extensive. Edmunds test drivers obtained the following test drive ranges:
2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range: 345 miles. Ford Mustang Mach-E Route 1: 344 miles. 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S: 323 miles. 2019 Hyundai Kona EV: 315 miles. 2021 Volkswagen ID.4: 288 miles. 2020 Chevrolet Bolt: 277 miles. 2021 Audi e-Tron Sportback: 238 miles. 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus SL: 237 miles. 2021 Polestar 2 Performance: 228 miles. 2020 Hyundai Ioniq EV: 202 miles.
To find out your daily driving range, keep a record for two weeks of how far you drive every day. If it averages between 10 and 90 miles a day, you’re a prime candidate for an EV or PHEV! Range anxiety about EVs and hybrids is misplaced. Most EV drivers are finding that they can drive to work, do their chores around town and get back home with plenty of battery capacity left over.
Q: Aren’t EVs inefficient?
A: No. On the contrary, they’re one of the most EFFICIENT technologies in existence. Gas vehicles only convert 17% to 21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels. Electric vehicles convert 59% to 62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. This makes EVs environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. EVs emit no tailpipe pollutants. Some of the power plants producing the electricity for EVs may emit them. But electricity from nuclear-, hydro-, solar-, or wind-powered plants causes no air pollutants.
Q: Don’t EVs take too long to charge?
A: No. The most convenient time and place to charge is at home while you sleep. Even using the slowest 120 outlet, charging overnight, an EV will replenish 40 to 50 miles of range. Most new EVs and PHEVs are capable of 240 V charging to full in 3 to 8 hours. The 2020 NISSAN Leaf Plus (62kWh battery/226mile range), using a 240V charger, fully recharges from 0 to 100% in 11.5 hours. Public DC Fast Chargers provide an 80% charge in as little as 45 minutes.
Q: Are EV and hybrid ranges improving?
A: YES! As battery technology improves, the ranges they provide increase. Most new EVs today go 200+ miles on one charge – that’s more than enough for a daily commute. By 2022, the average EV range is estimated to be 275 miles. By 2028, a battery range of 400 miles will be considered the norm. On top of the range they provide, electric batteries are built to last hundreds of thousands of miles.
Q: Why should we support plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) over vehicles that run on biodiesel or ethanol?
A: A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is like any normal hybrid, but with two important differences. It has a larger battery capacity and is able to plug in to the electrical grid to charge the batteries. Instead of a battery with a capacity of about 1 kWh of power like an ordinary hybrid, these batteries will have a capacity of 9-10 kWh of power. This will enable the PHEV to drive like a fully electric vehicle for up to 40 miles before the gas engine kicks in. CURRENT EV supports any clean fuel that is not oil. However, it is clear that electricity is the cleanest, cheapest and most ubiquitous source of domestic energy for moving cars and trucks. The need for multiple sources of energy to replace the oil we use makes excellent sense, so all alternatives will have their place as we transition away from oil.
Q: If I were to drive a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), how much would my gas mileage improve?
A: Your gas mileage could improve to several hundred miles per gallon, plus electricity. If you had a PHEV with a 40-mile range in EV mode, and you rarely drove over 40 miles without charging, then you would almost never need gas. Most people will find that if they have an EV with 150 miles of range, they would not need another vehicle for any of their daily driving. For longer trips, you could rent or borrow a PHEV. For families that use two vehicles, the optimum fuel efficiency situation would be to drive an EV and a PHEV. The EV for short trips, the PHEV for trips longer than 200 miles, although, with DC Fast Charge available, even long trips can be achieved in an EV, if properly planned.
Q: Driving an EV, I’ll spend less money at the gas pump, but won’t my electricity bill go through the roof?
A: Absolutely not. In fact, the reverse is true. Your overall energy bill will be less by driving with electricity. EVs are so efficient that the cost, per mile driven, is significantly less. For instance, a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid will travel 100 miles on 2.6 gallons of gasoline. 42 of those miles, using the gas engine and the electric motor together, will provide 94 MPGe. The 558 additional miles of range, using gas, will provide 38 MPG. The cost to drive 25 miles on a single charge is $1.17. The cost to drive 25 miles using gas only is $2.01. So driving the PHEV using the electric battery cost almost 50% less. The EPA estimates you’ll save $4,250 over 5 years driving a RAV4 Prime, compared to driving a comparable car. If you drive a pure-electric Chevrolet Bolt, your fuel cost savings will increase even more. The Bolt has a total range of 247 miles, and provides a combined MPGe of 115. The EPA estimates you’ll save $5,750 in fuel costs over 5 years. EV owners spend around $40@ month on electricity to charge their vehicles. That’s $480 per year. Nearly 90% of U.S. households report spending an average of $3,000 per year on gas. 2 The USA Average Gas Cost Per Month is around $250. The electricity costs for driving an EV are more than 6x less than for driving a gas-powered car.
Q: Could a solar power system produce electricity for a plug-in car?
A: Yes, easily. EVs typically can travel 3-4 miles (or more) per kWh. If you drive 12,000 miles per year, you will need 3,000-4,000 kWh. Depending on where you live, you will need a 1.5kW-3kW PV system to generate that much power using about 150-300 sq. ft. of space on your roof. In fact, many EV drivers recharge their cars from rooftop solar panels today, generating virtually no pollution for their local driving.
Q: Can CURRENT EV help me install solar power to charge my electric vehicle?
A: Yes! CURRENT EV has partnered with Pick My Solar (pickmysolar.com), which installs solar power systems to make the process of charging your EV and powering your home with solar power possible.
Q: Does it cost more to insure an EV?
A: No. In fact, according to Farmer’s Insurance, most EV’s are very safe vehicles that tend to be driven by mature, careful drivers and actually cost less to insure than comparable gas-powered cars.
Q: Will driving a Plug-In Hybrid improve my gas mileage?
A: Your gas mileage could improve to several hundred miles per gallon, plus electricity. If you had a PHEV with a 40-mile range in EV mode, and you rarely drove over 40 miles without charging, then you would almost never need gas. Most people will find that if they have an EV with 150 – 200 miles of range, they would not need another vehicle for any of their daily driving. For longer trips, you could rent or borrow a PHEV. The best fuel economy scenario for families with two vehicles, one would be to own an EV and a PHEV. Driving up to 40 miles a day, they’ll use the EV. Driving further than that, they’ll use the PHEV. Plug-In Hybrids with the biggest ranges include: BMW 530e PHEV: 30 miles. BMW X5 xDrive 40e PHEV: 31 miles. Honda Clarity PHEV: 47. Kia Optima PHEV: 29. Polestar 1 PHEV: 65. Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV: 42.
Q: How long does it take to charge a Plug-In?
A: It depends on how big the battery is, and whether you charge using a regular 120V outlet or a 240V charging station. Plug-in hybrids with smaller batteries can recharge in about 8 to 10 hours at 120V and 3 to 6 hours at 240V. How long does it take to charge your cell phone? Think about charging your car just like you think about charging your cell phone. Most people charge their cars at home or work, just like a cell phone. Plug it in when you arrive and it will be ready for you in the morning, or the end of the work day. The actual charging time depends on the size of your battery, how far you have driven, and the amperage of the charging system. Keep in mind that most of the time, the battery will not be empty when you plug in, just like your cell phone.
Q: Where do you recharge a Plug-In vehicle?
A: Most people recharge overnight in their garage, carport or driveway. They can also recharge at work. There are many public chargers for electric cars as well. An estimated 99% of all charging currently happens at home or work. Per 2020 CEC data, California has an estimated 57,000 Level 2 chargers and 4,900 Fast Chargers, more than any other state. Electricity rates are subject to many factors, including the region where you live, the time of year, and even the time of day when peak charges apply. For the most part, electricity usage and costs are at their lowest late at night.
Q: How much does it cost to charge a Plug-In vehicle?
A: Much less than it costs to buy gasoline. The fuel efficiency of an EV may be measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles. If electricity costs $0.13 per kWh and the vehicle consumes 33 kWh to travel 100 miles, the cost per mile is about $0.04. If electricity costs $0.13 per kilowatt-hour, charging an EV with a 200-mile range (assuming a fully depleted 66 kWh battery) will cost about $9 to reach a full charge. You can figure on a cost of $1.00 to $2.00 to charge a PHEV with a 40-mile battery range.
Q: Will plug-in cars lead to more coal and nuclear power plants?
A: No. The existing electric grid’s off-peak capacity for power generation is sufficient to power 73% of commutes to and from work by cars, light trucks, SUVs and vans without building a single new power plant, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The existing nighttime electricity could also be stored in plug-in vehicles and retrieved during peak-demand hours through vehicle-to-grid technology for use by the grid, helping to meet society’s daytime power needs. The U.S. power grid is also getting cleaner every year as affordable renewable energy continues to replace coal plants.