Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Electric vehicles use electricity as a primary or secondary power source instead of conventional motor fuels like gasoline or diesel. Using electricity stored in a battery to power an electric motor has natural advantages over the internal combustion engine, including quieter operation, zero tailpipe emissions, instant acceleration, and significantly cheaper operating and maintenance costs. Electricity can be used differently in vehicle applications – those applications are classified below:

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

HEVs are powered primarily by an internal combustion engine, but they also store electricity in a battery that assists in propelling the vehicle to improve fuel efficiency. Unlike a plug-in electric vehicle, the electricity used in HEVs doesn’t come from the electrical grid by plugging into a socket or charging station; instead, electricity is created through a regenerative braking process and through the internal combustion engine. HEVs cannot operate solely on electricity at higher speeds and rely heavily on the internal combustion engine at all times.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

PHEVs use electric motors in conjunction with an internal combustion engine to power the vehicle, but PHEVs are different from HEVs because they plug-in to an electricity source and can store enough electricity on board to operate independently from the internal combustion engine. Depending on the model, PHEVs can travel 10-50 miles on electricity without using conventional fuels, but when the electric range is depleted the vehicle switches to the internal combustion engine and operates like an HEV for an extended range. PHEVs work great for commuters who can use their electric range to get to and from work during the week but occasionally need additional range for longer trips.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

BEVs have no internal combustion engine and operate completely on electricity. They get their electricity by plugging into a power source, whether that is an electric vehicle charging station or an electrical outlet at home. Depending on the power source they utilize, BEVs can charge in as little as 30 minute or as longer than 8 hours. The maximum range of a BEV depends greatly on the specific model, considering the Nissan Leaf as a range of around 150 miles and a Tesla Model 3 can travel 310 miles on a single charge.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) of EV Chargers

There are three different categories of major charging stations, which are based upon the maximum amount of power charger provides to the battery from the grid:

  • Level 1: Charges through a 120 Volt AC plug (standard home electrical plug). 2-5 miles of range per hour of charge.
  • Level 2: Charges through a 240 Volt (residential) or 208 Volt (commercial) AC plug (dryer or stove plug). Requires additional installation of equipment. 10-20 miles of range per hour of charge.
  • DC Fast Charge: Charges through a 480 Volt AC input. Requires highly specialized equipment. 80 to 250 miles per 20 minutes of charging.

FAQs

What is an electric vehicle?
An electric vehicle is an automobile powered by an electric motor instead of a gasoline engine. The motor gets energy from a controller (something that regulates the amount of power used), which is based on the use of the accelerator pedal. The energy is stored in rechargeable batteries, which can be charged at a public, or private, charging station. EVs have no tailpipe emissions, as they are exclusively powered by electricity.
They will typically have a range of over 100 miles, take a few hours to charge, and cost roughly 2 cents per mile. Additional information can be found here.
What are the benefits?
Aside from reducing your carbon footprint, limiting your emissions, and being just all around fun, EVs offer some incredible benefits.
Because electric motors react very quickly, EVs are incredibly responsive and full of torque. EVs can be charged at any charging station you find, either on a smartphone app, or just randomly. EVs cost, on average, 2 cents a mile, while gas powered cars average over 12 cents per mile. You won’t pollute the environment while you idle and blast your heat. There is more space to store stuff without a bulky engine in the way. The list goes on! Find additional benefits here.
What are the options for charging?
There are 3 different categories of major charging stations, which are based upon the maximum amount of power charger provides to the battery from the grid:

  • Level 1: Charges through a 120 Volt AC plug. 2-5 miles of range per hour of charge.
  • Level 2: Charges through a 240 Volt (residential) or 208 Volt (commercial) AC plug. Requires additional installation of equipment. 10-20 miles of range per hour of charge.
  • DC Fast Charge: Charges through a 480 Volt AC input. Requires highly specialized equipment. 60-80 miles per 20 minutes of charging.

To learn more about charging, click here.

What models are available?
The EV market is taking off right now; these vehicles are gaining significant popularity in the United States, and the rest of the world as well. From Tesla models to Ford models, it seems like just about every major car company is trying to get into the EV market right now. To find more information on available models, please click here.
Is there financial assistance?
Everyone knows that buying any car is expensive, regardless of the model. However, the purchase of an EV comes with financial assistance and incentives. For instance, the Colorado State government offers tax credits for the purchase, lease and conversion of alternative fuel vehicles, including EVs. Find more information on tax credits here. One can also receive discounted prices for using a group purchase program, or simply buying in bulk. Find more information on this here. There are plenty of government funded grant programs to incentivize the purchase of EVs and the conversion to similar alternative fuels. Find more information here. Compare the future costs of EVs against traditional fueled vehicles here.

EV Smart Fleets

EV Smart Fleets seeks to address cost barriers public fleets face for EV adoption by aggregating state and local fleet purchases for EVs and charging stations through a multi-state aggregated EV solicitation and procurement agreement. EV Smart Fleets will leverage the purchasing volume of public fleets across the country in order to reduce vehicle and infrastructure costs, improve contract terms, provide access to a wider range of EV models, and expand across to charging infrastructure. For additional information look at this one pager.

Workplace Charging: Get Your Work Plugged-In

HP’s Browyn Pierce, Global Real Estate Sustainability Program Manager, gives a run down on the benefits and considerations of‪ ‎workplace charging at a global company.

Deciding to install electric vehicle (EV) workplace charging has a number of positive outcomes:

  • It helps employers attract high-quality applicants and retain important employees, acting as a competitive employee benefit
  • It improves public image, leading to more publicity and potentially increasing client and customer-bases
  • It reduces the perception of range anxiety, a major barrier to EV adoption
  • Community members will be gracious for the improved air quality and health benefits as employees ditch their gas-guzzlers and switch to zero tailpipe emission EVs
  • Businesses who switch their fleet to EVs will reduce their bottom-line as fuel expenses become a thing of the past

To learn more about workplace charging and how it can benefit your business check out Driving Change.

No two electric vehicle (EV) charging station installations are exactly the same, but these Best Practices can help orient your thinking as you engage in the charging station planning and installation process. The best practices below have been compiled from the input of past Charge Ahead Colorado grantees and a review of EV charging station installation projects across the country.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station Locator

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