It’s election year, so why wouldn’t politicians jump on an easy target to benefit their agendas? Lets face it, life revolves around the all mighty dollar and, in too many cases, greed and power. We as consumers need to peel away the BS and discover for ourselves if electric powered vehicles could make sense for our future as individuals, and the country as a whole. Just like many of you, we had a lot of unanswered questions and really didn’t know what to believe. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when alternatives to oil will become absolutely critical. Electrician Brisbane Southside efficiently replace all electrical lines in your home after having some issues.
this article, we will begin to uncover the truth about electric powered
vehicles. What does it actually cost to own and operate an electric
powered vehicle? Are there potential cost savings to owning one? Is it
truly environmentally friendly? How easy are they to live with? Even if
you currently have no interest in owning an electric vehicle right now,
this is something you should become aware of.
To start with, we’ll briefly explain the four categories electric vehicles (EVs) typically fall into:
hybrid electric vehicle uses a battery-powered electric motor to
supplement its traditional gas powered engine. The addition of the
electric motor helps to reduce idling and enables the vehicle to operate
with zero emissions at low speeds, typically below 40 miles per hour.
At higher speeds, the gas powered engine drives the vehicle.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
plug-in hybrid vehicle is similar to a standard hybrid in that it
combines an electric motor with a traditional gas powered engine. The
difference is that it uses a larger battery which can be recharged by
plugging the vehicle into an electrical outlet. As a result of this
larger battery, the vehicle receives more power from electricity
therefore increasing fuel economy.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
vehicles run solely on electricity and have no gas engines, therefore
they produce zero tailpipe emissions. As a result of running exclusively
on a battery, it is necessary to remain within the vehicle’s range
until the next available charge.
Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (ER-EVs)
electric vehicles have both an electric motor and a gas powered
generator. The electric motor directly propels the vehicle for the first
25 to 50 miles. After that, the on-board gasoline “generator” provides
electricity to the motor. (The gas engine does not actually provide
power to the wheels directly, instead it charges the battery which
powers the electric motor.) This eliminates the need to drive within a
limited range as it can continue to run on gasoline.
Our first EV test vehicle was a Chevy Volt, therefore will make a few references about our experiences with it in this article.
Available Incentives to Help Purchase an EV
cost to design and build EVs are higher for manufacturers since it is
still new technology and they do not have the benefit of economies of
scale. In order to help entice consumers to make an EV purchase, the
Federal Government and many state governments offer incentives. At the
time this article was published, the Federal Government incentive for
purchasing a new EV ranged from a $2,500 to $7,500 tax credit, depending
on the type of EV and your filing status. There are also talks of
increasing the Federal tax credit maximum amount to $10,000 and/or
providing the credit at the time of purchase versus having to wait until
you file your taxes as currently is the case.
A vehicle that has a
potential tax credit is often marketed as having a flat tax credit
amount, of course advertised as the maximum in the range. In reality,
it’s only worth that amount if your total Federal tax bill is as much or
more for that fiscal year. In the case of the Volt which is eligible
for up to a $7,500 tax credit, if you owe $6,000 in Federal income tax
the year you purchase the car you’d receive a $6,000 benefit. The
remaining difference can not be applied against the following year’s
taxes. If you opt to lease an EV car which qualifies for the incentive,
the monetary credit stays with the leasing company who is the actual
owner of the vehicle. Don’t worry though, in most cases the tax credit
has been factored into the cost of the lease so you are still gaining
Many states also offer additional incentives from tax
credits, such as Colorado’s credit of up to $6,000, to other forms of
incentives such as the state of California offering the sought-after
car-pool lane access to EV owners. Knowing the potential incentives
available to you can dramatically influence your purchasing decision.
interesting to hear how many people are so against the government
subsidizing EVs. Yet, we don’t hear much about how oil production is
among the most heavily subsidized businesses in the U.S., despite being a
hugely profitable industry. The International Energy Agency estimates
that in 2009, governments worldwide spent $300 billion subsidizing
fossil fuels. In 2010, that number grew to a staggering $409 billion.
The U.S. alone averages approximately $4 billion per year in subsidies
to the oil industry. Why doesn’t this receive more attention? The reason
is simple. “For the last decade, the oil industry has been one of the
most powerful lobbying constituencies in Washington. It has spent nearly
a billion dollars on federal lobbying since 1998.” (1) What motivation
would there be for affected political leaders to impart a change?
Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles
1 – Most EVs purchased will come standard with a Level 1 charging
station which you can simply plug into a standard 110 volt AC house
outlet, just as you would a cell phone charger or coffee maker. This
type of charger is also often referred to as an “over-night charging
station” because of the amount of time it takes to fully charge a
depleted battery. Keep in mind the bigger the battery, the more juice
required when fully depleted. Using a level 1 charger, a Plug-in Hybrid
may only take approximately 3 hours to fully charge, an Extended-Range
Electric Vehicle 10 – 12 hours, whereas a Battery Electric Vehicle is
approximately 17 hours from a depleted battery.
Level 2 – This
type of charging station uses between a 208 through 240 volt AC outlet
depending upon the station you purchase. It is important to look at the
specific EV voltage the vehicle will accept in order to mate it with the
appropriate charging station. If it will accept a 220 volt power
supply, that is the same outlet typically used to run a clothes dryer.
The benefit of a Level 2 charging station is the significant reduction
of time to charge an EV. As an example, a Chevy Volt can be fully
charged from a depleted battery in about 4 hours. The approximate
one-time expense for the equipment and installation is typically between
$1,500 – $2,000.
Level 3 – This is often called a “fast charge”
station and uses a 480 volt DC power supply. The drawback is that these
will not typically be available in residential areas because it’s beyond
the capabilities of existing transformers. This charging station will
be seen most often in commercial areas. For EVs that are capable of
using this type of charging station, it can charge a depleted battery in
approximately 30 minutes.
To determine what level charging
station is best for you, give some thought to when you would most likely
be charging the battery and how much of a charge will be needed. If
it’ll be exclusively overnight, a Level 1 charging station might be just
fine. Even now in it’s relative infancy, you can buy a level 2 charging
station from Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon and many other Big Box
Where people can recharge their EV doesn’t stop at home.
Several cities are also beginning to install charging stations with
many others conducting research on the viability of moving forward with
the project. The city of Chicago has already begun installations of a
massive project which promises to include 280 charging stations in the
city and surrounding region within a year. Of these stations, there will
be a total of 73 level three stations. California just recently
announced that a minimum of 200 level 3 charging stations will be
installed and in addition to creating the infrastructure for 10,000
plug-in units. Even with Hawaii having the highest electricity costs,
they are adding over 200 public charging stations. This trend is
continuing to grow contrary to reports of the EV demise. Imagine being
at work, plugging in at no or little extra cost and having no fuel bill?
find public charging stations in your area may take some time unless
you’re lucky. We were not able to find a single website that listed all
charging stations in our area (Connecticut) and recommend you take the
time to search multiple sites when you do your research. Like most
technologies, this will evolve and potentially grow with time. Remember
when the home computer was such a novelty?
Electricity’s Not Free, So What Does it Actually Cost?
driving an EV will reduce or potentially eliminate the need for
purchasing gasoline, it still costs money to charge the battery. The
factors that will impact the cost are how much power is required to
charge your EV’s battery, and what your electric provider’s fees are. To
give you a rough idea, using the U.S. average electric rates it costs
approximately $1.50 to charge a fully depleted Chevy Volt battery.
Living in CT where energy rates are towards the most expensive in the
U.S., it still only cost us about $1.80 to fully charge a depleted Volt
battery. Keep in mind that if you don’t fully drain the battery, it
won’t require a full charge.
When evaluating electricity pricing, below are a few items we suggest you look into.
• Does your electric provider have a flat charge or a tiered rate structure based on the amount of electricity used?
Do they utilize “smart grids” where your rate varies depending on
consumption in the area (typically at night) results in a discounted
• Do they offer an EV owner discount?
• Are you able to change suppliers and if so, are there any that offer lower rates?
looking at costs, be aware that there are additional fees other than
just the electricity supply service charge. In our case there are also a
delivery service charges representing a Generation service charge,
Transmission charge, Distribution charge, CTA charge, FMCC delivery
charge, and a combined public benefit charge. Enough different charges?
Saving the Planet! But Is Electricity Really Green?
selling point many people make about transitioning to electric powered
vehicles is how environmentally friendly they are. While it’s true that
EVs reduce tailpipe emissions or depending on the type of EV, even
eliminate them completely, there’s more to it. To really determine if an
EV will truly be Green where you’ll be using it most, take a look at
how your electricity is being produced.
Most of the U.S.’s
electricity is produced domestically and is often times delivered from a
mix of power plants including coal, nuclear, natural gas, petroleum,
and renewable sources. The type of power plants vary by region,
therefore it’s important to examine these vehicles on a regional basis
in order to better understand their environmental impact.
of day the EV will be recharged also plays a role on how Green the
electricity is. The generation mix at the time of charging is different
based on the time of day, time of year, geographic region, and load
patterns. Sharp summer peaks are caused by air conditioning demand,
although such peaks typically occur in the afternoon. Overnight when
businesses are closed, demand is at its lowest. As a result of this, the
power plants that are most expensive to operate and easiest to power
down such as old coal and natural gas, get turned off. Other plants that
have less expensive operating costs and are harder to turn off such as
wind, hydroelectric and nuclear, are kept running.
Even if you
live in an area where the production of electricity is not typically
produced using clean methods, you might have the option to change it to a
clean source. Regardless of where you live, this is worth looking into.
While we have not yet purchased an EV, it did spur us to look into the
different alternative energy sources. Our current supplier charges 8.25
cents per kW and uses a mix of various energy sources including coal.
Our state allows us the option to use another supplier, and we found a
100% renewable energy source (primarily wind in our case) that has a
rate of 7.99 cents per kW. Yes, that same company also offers coal
produced electricity at a lower rate of 7.39 cents per kW, but the
switch to clean energy still provides a savings.
electric vehicle manufacturers and other sources we saw, the impact of
producing the lithium-ion battery is less than or equal to the impact of
producing a similar gas car. More than 95% of the battery materials can
be recycled or reused with minimal environmental impact. The minerals
used in these types of batteries are expensive, so it’s not hard to
imagine companies being especially motivated to find methods of reusing
Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil
dating back to Nixon has stated the need to formulate methods to control
our energy future and reduce dependence on foreign oil. The U.S. has
around 2.5% of the world’s oil reserves but uses about 20%. While those
statistics vary depending upon the source, it’s clear that we are
heavily dependent upon foreign sources of oil. Approximately 70% of
America’s daily oil consumption is currently used in transportation,
therefore this is a major area that deserves attention. As other
countries continue to increase their oil reserve demand, gas prices will
continue to rise. In 2010, China alone added approximately 10 million
cars to the road. President Obama’s All In energy policy (one that Bush
advocated and that McCain supported as well) attempts to reduce our
dependency on oil. This is not a left or right political issue nor is it
something that can be solved over night. It is however, an issue that
we need to address together as a nation. This is yet another benefit of
electric vehicles and reasoning of why government (Federal and state) is
We recognize this article
only touches upon the vast information available on this topic. What we
hope is that it will spur some additional thought about EVs, and maybe
even just related environmental concerns in general. Why not go test
drive one yourself?
Reference: (1) NY Times
Driving isn’t just about getting from point A to point B – it’s about the experience a vehicle imparts along that journey. As automotive enthusiasts, we won’t sacrifice everything we love in a vehicle for function. Yet sometimes our practical side demands we drive cars that can haul kids, luggage, a boat, or maybe just our golf clubs.
review vehicles from sports cars to tow vehicles and complete our
testing on real roads, with real kids, real luggage or even real
trailered loads. We focus on what each vehicle is designed to do, then
judge whether it delivers on those claims and describe the emotional
experience of driving the car.
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