Electric Vehicle FAQs
When it comes to electric vehicles, there is a lot of information out there!
To help sort through it all, you can find information and resources for frequently asked questions about EVs below. Some topics covered below include an overview of EV-related terminology, busting myths surrounding EVs, and the benefits of driving an EV.
- What is an EV?
An electric vehicle or ‘EV’ is a vehicle that runs on electricity. This is compared to a traditional internal combustion engine or ‘ICE’ vehicle that runs on gasoline or diesel.
- What are the different types of EVs?
There are several kinds of EVs, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Each type of EV is listed below in the table and as well as an image that provides a comparison between them.
HEV A vehicle that combines an internal combustion engine with an electric motor. Through regenerative braking, the vehicle can be ‘charged’ by the power the gasoline-fueled combustion engine creates. PHEV Also, a vehicle that combines an internal combustion engine with a battery-powered electric motor. However, HEVs and PHEVs differ in that PHEVs can be plugged-in and charged by the electrical grid, but if you run out of energy, the internal combustion engine can serve as a backup power source. BEV An all-electric vehicle that, instead of using gasoline, can be plugged into the electrical grid, charging a large battery that powers one or more electric motors. Driving a BEV does not produce any tailpipe emissions; they are considered zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).FCEV A vehicle powered by electricity, but unlike a PHEV or BEV, it does not receive electricity from plugging into the electrical grid. A FCEV contains fuel cells that are stacked together to create a chemical reaction between hydrogen gas from the vehicle’s tank and oxygen in the air outside to produce electricity. FCEVs can be refueled at hydrogen fueling stations. They also do not produce any tailpipe emissions, only water vapor and hot air, and are considered ZEV.
- What are the different types of EV charging options and their charging speeds?
There are three main types of charging equipment or EV supply equipment (EVSE) that exist, and PEVs (plug-in electric vehicles) can be charged in a variety of places. However, not all EVSE are suitable for every location or activity. This is because, depending on several factors, including your EV model and what kind of EVSE you are using, the rate at which your battery charges can vary substantially. Therefore, with a wide range of possible charging times, different EVSEs are classified by how quickly they can charge a battery. The different classifications, which are in order from slowest to fastest charging rate, include Level 1, Level 2, and Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC), detailed below.
- Level 1: Supplies electricity through the standard 120 Volt (V) alternating current (AC) outlet that you would find in your home. Level 1 charger can provide between 2 to 5 miles of driving range per hour of charging. Roughly 8 hours of charging with a Level 1 EVSE can supply 40 miles of electric range for a mid-size PEV.
- Level 2: Supplies electricity through a 240V AC outlet in residential spaces or 208V AC in commercial spaces. Level 2 charger can provide roughly 10 to 20 miles of driving range per hour of charging.
- DCFC: Unlike Level 1 and 2 chargers, DCFCs use a direct current. It can provide anywhere from 60 to 80 miles of driving range for every 20 minutes of charging.
For more information on the differences between the different types of EV chargers and their required connectors, check out the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center.
- Are EVs cost competitive with ICE vehicles?
Upfront costs are dropping for all electric vehicles, with many new EVs already being cost-competitive with new ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. Consumers can also take advantage of purchasing incentives to help further reduce the price of an EV. There is also a growing used EV market where EVs are available with more affordable price tags. In addition, because EVs require far lower fuel and maintenance costs, you can save significantly by driving electric over the lifetime of your EVs compared to the higher lifetime costs of buying, operating, and maintaining an ICE vehicle.
For more information about currently available EV models and their prices, used EVs, purchasing incentives, and the benefits of driving an EV, check out VELOZ's Electric For All website.
- Do EVs have sufficient range and performance to handle daily travel needs?
There are currently EVs that have a range of over 200 miles per charge, which will only increase in the future. The majority of EV models on the market today have great performance, accelerating must faster than traditional ICEs by going from 0-60mph in less than 8 seconds, some in less than 3.
- Where can I find EV charging stations?
In the U.S., over 45,000 EV charging stations are available for public use.
While many resources exist to locate EV charging stations, two regularly updated maps created by the Alternative Fuels Data Center and PlugShare provide locations of all public charging stations in the U.S. They are both also available as applications on mobile devices. In addition, several automakers currently have information on charging station locations built into their onboard information systems, and many apps, including popular navigation ones, also provide this feature.
- Are EVs safe?
All light-duty cars and trucks sold in the United States must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, including EVs. To meet these standards, vehicles must undergo an extensive, long-established testing process, regardless of whether the vehicle operates on gasoline or electricity. Separately, EV battery packs must meet their own testing standards. Moreover, EVs are designed with additional safety features that shut down the electrical system when they detect a collision or short circuit.
For more information about EV safety, visit DOE’s Alternative Fuel Data Center.