Comparing Electric Vehicles

Where Else Can I "Fill" my EV?

How is an electric car different from other cars? 

Conventional vehicles use an internal combustion engine that is usually fueled by gasoline or diesel to power the wheels. Electricity is used for some accessories, but does not propel the vehicle. 
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) supplement the internal combustion engine with electrical power produced by an on-board electric motor. The electrical system acts as a generator when a driver applies the brakes, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy that is stored in a small battery pack. Gasoline or diesel is still the primary fuel.

Electric vehicles (EVs) take the HEV concept further, using a larger on-board battery for extended electric-only range. The driver charges the battery by plugging the vehicle into a charging outlet. When running on electricity, EVs are able to completely offset the use of gasoline, eliminating all tailpipe emissions.

Two different types of EVs are available: plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV). A PHEV is an HEV with a larger battery that requires a plug to recharge, but it keeps a gasoline or diesel engine as a backup. Some variations are called extended range EVs, or EREVs. After the battery energy is exhausted, the engine starts and the vehicle acts like a normal HEV until it is plugged in to recharge. BEVs fully remove the gasoline or diesel powertrain and replace it with an electric powertrain consisting of an electric motor, power electronics, and a battery pack. BEVs have a longer all-electric range than PHEVs, but do not have a fuel backup when the battery is depleted.

Using electricity as a vehicle fuel is currently less expensive per mile than gasoline, and can be even more cost effective if the EV driver takes advantage of off-peak electricity rates.

There are a few distinct differences between driving an EV and a conventional vehicle:

  • EVs are convenient. A BEV requires no trips to the gas station, and if routes are carefully planned, a PHEV can achieve close to the same level of gasoline independence.
  • EVs require less maintenance. Electric motors do not require oil changes.
  • EVs are very quiet. They are nearly silent both at low speeds and on the highway.
  • EVs require more careful route planning. Current BEVs can travel between 60 and 265 miles on a single charge and take at least 30 minutes to recharge the battery. A gasoline vehicle will be able to travel 300-500 miles on a single tank and can refuel in less than five minutes. This “range anxiety” can often be solved with careful planning (including being sure to plug in every night and knowing where charging stations are along your route), or through the purchase of a PHEV to have a gasoline engine in reserve. PHEVs have ranges similar to gasoline vehicles, but typically only run on electricity for the first 10 to 40 miles.

Several PHEV and BEV models are available for purchase in New York State.