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Why Drive Electric


Yes! This is in part because there are two types of electric cars, or plug in electrified vehicles (PEVs): Battery electrics (BEVs) which run on electricity only, and plug in hybrid electrics (PHEVs) which first run on electricity from the battery for a shorter range (often the distance of a daily commute, or more), then seamlessly switch to a full tank of gasoline if the battery gets low.

PHEVs therefore will always have the range you need, and can be driven and fueled just like the car you drive now. Today’s BEVs have more range than 90% of commuters and others drive daily. Some models are available in either BEV or PHEV.

Most BEVs have a range of between 114 and 315 miles depending upon model. They must be recharged when the battery gets low, and can be done slowly (typically overnight at home while you sleep) or more quickly using a public fast charging station. But unlike gasoline only cars, both BEVs and PHEVs can be “refueled” (charged) at a variety of locations where drivers might already be planning to drive to and park at. But mostly, they are charged conveniently at home, overnight while you sleep.

Today’s PHEVs a have a battery range between 14 and 114 miles, and then typically a full tank of gasoline range, 300-500+ miles. When operating in hybrid mode, they also get better gas mileage than comparable gasoline only vehicles.

Therefore, which electric car you’ll want depends on how many miles you typically drive per day, what types of long trips you plan to take in your vehicle, and how much passenger and cargo space you need. Answering these three personal questions before car shopping will also lead you to the electric models that best fit your lifestyle and needs. For a handy online guide of models, visit PlugStar’s “Browse Electric Cars” website.

It usually takes only around 5 seconds of your time to “refuel” your electric car. Why? Because most charging (over 85%, according to EV driver polling) happens at home, overnight, while the driver sleeps. You just plug in your car when you get home and it’s typically re-charged back to full before you even wake up the next morning. It’s the car that “refuels” while you sleep! In many cases, all you need is the included charging adapter and a standard outlet (also known as Level 1 charging) to recharge for the daily range you need – no “charging station” required! It really is that easy. Check out our Charging Guide section to learn about Charging Equipment, get Home Installation Help, and discover what Rebates and Incentives are available to lower the cost of purchase and installation.

The second most common place to charge is at the workplace. Since most people are at work for 7 or more hours, the time to charge is not a concern. The third most common charging happens at a place you can catch an “Opportunity Charge”: Typically, a shopping area, restaurant, or recreation destination where you’d already planned to visit for one or more hours. Already numbering in the tens of thousands, more Workplace Charging and Opportunity Charging sites are being added every year. These are usually what’s known as Level 2 charging sites which add 12 to 70 miles of range per hour, depending upon the vehicle and station type.

Finally, there are two options for taking your electric car on longer trips.

  • Choosing a PHEV (Plug in Hybrid Electric) means you can drive and refuel on any trip just as you do now, conveniently at the next gas station rest stop. But you can still charge up as well, whenever it’s convenient to do so. It’s the best of both worlds, as you can still drive electric miles every day while take very long trips any day.
  • Choosing a BEV (Battery only Electric) means you’ll want to look for fast charging (also known as Level 3) along your route and/or overnight destination charging (such as hotels that have charging) where you’ll stay or use another family vehicle could be used or you plan your trips to look for fast chargers along the route. Today’s fast charging can add from 60 up to 180 miles of range in under 30 minutes, depending on model and station. Recently automakers are offering more and more higher range BEVs. Thousands of fast chargers and destination chargers are being added every year, and the next generation of fast charging coming in just a few years will add twice the range in half the time! To get a handy online map and mobile app to find charging station near you, visit PlugShare or install their mobile app.

In Massachusetts, an electric car can be as affordable to buy or lease as a comparable car. This due to the available state and federal incentives, combined with special local deals this Drive Electric program can connect you with.

Massachusetts State Rebate. The Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) Program issues rebates to help MA consumers purchase or lease a new vehicle. Any Massachusetts resident is eligible for a rebate of up to $2,500 after the purchase or lease an eligible electric vehicle.

Federal EV Tax Credit. The federal government also offers a tax credit for qualifying electric vehicles and qualifying tax payers. The cost to buy or lease any also depends most on your personal tax situation. This is because a federal EV tax credit may reduce your net cost by as much as an additional $7,500.

To learn more details about state and federal EV incentives, visit our vehicle Rebates and Incentives page.

Local group buy and dealer incentive programs. There are additional local incentives that can lower the monthly payment costs even further, sometimes to under $200 a month and with no money down. In some cases, combined incentives can mean up to $15,000 off MSRP. To learn more about how to take advantage of each of these rebates, incentives and special offers, contact us.

On average, the cost of electricity to charge and drive an electric car is significantly lower than gasoline. In areas served by a municipal electric utility, the average cost of this electric “fuel” is even lower! In addition, electric cars require far less regular maintenance than their gasoline only cousins, saving you hundreds more due to fewer or no oil changes, filters, belts, etc. Even the brakes on electrics last longer, thanks to something called regenerative braking.

In fact, over the life of the vehicle an electric will likely cost significantly less total than even an average “economy” gasoline only car – by thousands of dollars! Just how much you’ll save depends on how many miles you drive a year and what vehicle you select. For a free assessment of your estimated personal cost savings, contact us.

Electric cars are often actually more reliable on average than their gasoline only counterparts. An electric vehicle’s motor has basically just one moving part, and most of the rest of the car uses solid state electronic devices with no moving parts that require little or no maintenance for the life of the vehicle. Therefore, EVs require far less scheduled maintenance and are inherently more reliable because there are just few mechanical systems to maintain or that could break down. EVs still require an annual safety inspection, but this only takes a minute because there is no exhaust system to analyze.

Every new electric car’s battery carries a minimum replacement warranty of 8 years or 100,000 miles. Several brands of plug-in electrics (BEVs and PHEVs) are already proving real world that they in fact will perform very well for hundreds of thousands of miles, and even go beyond the warranty period while showing very little to even no noticeable loss of the original usable electric range.

The amount of sheer acceleration that an electric car has will vary from model to model, but the universal truth is that electric cars typical have more instant power off the line than a gasoline only equivalent – in fact, often by 50% or more. This is because an electric motor has more of something called torque, that get-up-and-go force.

To really experience the first-hand the unique thrill of driving electric, attend one of our upcoming Ride & Drive events or sign up for a no sales pressure test drive with one of our local EV Ambassadors.

Most electric cars have an overall 5-star crash safety rating from the NHTSA. Any high voltage wires are colored bright orange, and most manufacturers install battery kill switches in easily accessible locations on their vehicles. First responders regularly complete training on hybrid and electric vehicles to ensure they know how to handle them. While any vehicle contains a large amount of potentially hazardous and/or flammable energy in its “fuel” system, a typical gasoline only car has a greater amount of potential energy and higher volatility. In fact, a 2017 NHTSA study concluded the propensity and severity of fires and explosions from battery electric cars are “expected to be less because of the much smaller amounts of flammable solvent released and burning in a catastrophic failure situation.” (Lithium-ion Battery Safety Issues for Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles, NHTSA, 2017)

According to EPA power plant data for New England electricity generation, driving electric already reduces carbon emissions by at least 70% versus driving a comparable gasoline only vehicle. Emissions impacts have also been assessed independently as significantly lower by several prominent institutions. To estimate the emissions equivalent of an EV charged where you live, try out this How Clean is Your Electric Vehicle” tool provided by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Union of Concerned Scientists concluded in its 2015 analysis that even accounting for the impacts of battery manufacturing, EVs already reduce life cycle emissions by at least 50%. While any manufactured product has a variety of potential environmental and social impacts, the batteries used in electric cars do not contain any toxic materials nor any rare-earth metals, and are increasingly being incorporated into end of automotive life reuse and/or recycling programs. In addition, automakers and battery manufacturers are increasing their supply chain diligence to ensure that battery raw materials are responsibly sourced from areas with ethical labor and environmental practices. Read more about the Responsible Minerals Initiative.

Energy New England

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