Step 5. Make the switch to an electric vehicle
When compared to an Electric Vehicle — or EV — the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle are outdated, inefficient, and more expensive to own and operate. They’re also one of our most significant causes of climate change.
A rapid shift to clean, renewable electric vehicles will help reverse global warming, improve your health, and save money.
What you need to know in making the switch to an Electric vehicle
Many people believe that EVs are more expensive than ICE vehicles. Don’t be fooled by the purchase price! EVs actually cost less than comparable ICE vehicles when you consider lifetime costs, such as gasoline and maintenance. (See the sidebar to learn more.)
Most EVs can travel over 200-300 miles before needing to recharge. How often you charge depends on the number of miles you typically drive in a day. (The U.S. average is 40 miles/day.)
That means that most drivers would only need to plug in their vehicle once or twice per week.
If your household has more than one vehicle, range is a less significant consideration. You can rely on the ICE vehicle for longer trips, reserving the EV for local trips.
Lifetime versus Purchase Costs
Lower Fuel Costs
When measured by miles driven, fueling an EV with electricity is about 25% of the cost of fueling a comparable ICE vehicle with gasoline. You’ll save on fuel costs every year of ownership.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Likewise, you may save thousands of dollars in reduced maintenance costs over the life of an EV. That’s because ICE vehicles have about 2,000 moving parts. Moving parts require maintenance, repair, and replacement. That costs money — and time at the repair shop. Electric vehicles have only about 20 moving parts. Electric motors have no crankshafts, pistons or cams, no engine oil, no transmission, and no exhaust systems to repair and replace. Over the life of a vehicle, EVs require a small fraction of the maintenance required by ICE vehicles, saving thousands of dollars in maintenance and repairs.
Hybrid or Fully Electric Vehicle?
The Toyota Prius made so-called hybrids famous. Hybrids combine an internal combustion engine with a propulsion battery that has a limited range: typically less than 50 miles. Hybrids can be a good compromise for single-vehicle households that frequently take long trips. They are generally more efficient in local versus long distance travel. Hybrids also have the same maintenance and fuel costs as ICE vehicles. (See the Costs sidebar.) You could say that hybrids come with the best — and the worst — of both worlds.
Except for long trips, many EV drivers fully recharge their vehicles at home overnight. Depending on your weekly mileage, that might mean once or twice per week.
Charging speeds vary by charger type, and are categorized. Level 1 uses a typical 120 volt home outlet with a portable charger that comes with your vehicle, and adds 3-4 miles of added range/hour. Level 2 requires a 220 volt charger charging 20-50 miles/hour. Level 3 is often referred to as DC Fast charging, can charge vehicles to 80% capacity within 15-60 minutes.
During road trips, your EV’s navigation systems or phone app will direct you to fast charge stations at highway rest areas and shopping centers along your route. EV drivers combine charging with bathroom and meal breaks every few hours. Learn more about charging at EPA.gov/greenvehicles
Financial Incentives and Shopping for your EV
Sometimes we need to quickly replace a vehicle. Be prepared by planning ahead. We strongly recommend using the tools below to find available state and federal financial incentives, an EV shopper’s guide, and our own Planning Worksheets. Doing some research today will help you understand your options, so you’ll be prepared to purchase an EV whenever the need arises!