Get the Facts
When it comes to selecting an electric car, you have a lot of options. There are three powertrain technologies powering electric vehicles, which come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, fueling types and models. Like gas-powered cars, some electric cars offer features, such as all-wheel drive, that allow you to live life on or off the beaten path—even in the snow.
Know the Differences Between Vehicle Types
The first thing to consider when buying an electric car is the type that is best suited for your needs. The technologies include: battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles.
Battery Electric Vehicle
A battery electric vehicle is a car that is 100% powered by an electric motor. There is no gasoline required, and owners “fuel up” by plugging in overnight at home or to an expanding network of charging stations. Like a cellphone, the battery stores the charge to power the car when it is running. With a variety of battery electric vehicles on the market, you can choose one that drives anywhere from 80 to 250 miles on a full charge. “Refueling” times can vary – typically, 30 minutes for fast charging and 4 to 6 hours with Level 2, depending on the size and current depletion of the battery.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is a vehicle that is powered by a combination of an electric motor and a gasoline engine. Like a battery electric vehicle, the vehicle can be plugged in to charge and will run on the battery for some or all of your drive – from 15 to 50 miles. Unlike a battery electric vehicle, once the battery charge is depleted, the gasoline kicks in and the vehicle runs like a fuel efficient gas-powered hybrid car to extend the range of the vehicle. This makes the combined range from electricity and gasoline, 350-600 miles, comparable to a gas-powered car. Recharging the battery is completed easily overnight using either Level 1 (120V) or Level 2 (240V) charging, and a quick stop by the gasoline station can fill up the tank in about 5 minutes.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle
A fuel cell electric vehicle is powered by an electric drive motor and uses a fuel cell to convert hydrogen into electricity. Like a gas-powered car, they are capable of refueling in 3-5 minutes, but at a hydrogen dispenser instead of a gas pump. Driving range is comparable to gas cars, about 300-350 miles on each tank of hydrogen. Hydrogen fueling stations, however, are not yet widely available outside of California, and as of April 2018, these vehicles are currently only available for sale in California. FCEVs will be introduced in select northeast states once hydrogen refueling stations are built.
See how electric cars fit your lifestyle
Simplify your routine with an electric car that recharges while you recharge, and with driving ranges that fit your lifestyle.
Get information on incentives to purchase electric cars and the savings from reduced operating costs.
Learn more about the technological innovations “under the hood.”
See how smart choices now can make a better future.
The Fun Factor
Go electric for vehicle performance that makes the drive to work almost as much fun as the drive home.