All-electric vehicles (EVs) use a battery to store the electrical energy that powers the motor. EVs are sometimes referred to as battery electric vehicles (BEVs). EV batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source. Although most U.S. electricity production contributes to air pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency categorizes all-electric vehicles as zero-emission vehicles because they produce no direct exhaust or emissions. Because EVs use no other fuel, widespread use of these vehicles could dramatically reduce petroleum consumption.
Both heavy-duty and light-duty EVs are commercially available. EVs are typically more expensive than similar conventional and hybrid vehicles, some cost can be recovered through fuel savings, a federal tax credit, or state incentives.
Currently available EVs have a shorter range per charge than most conventional vehicles have per tank of gas. EV manufacturers typically target a range of 100 miles on a fully charged battery. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 100 miles is sufficient for more than 90% of all household vehicle trips in the United States. For longer trips, it is necessary to charge the vehicle or swap the battery en route.
The efficiency and driving range of EVs varies substantially based on driving conditions and driving habits. Extreme outside temperatures tend to reduce range, because more energy must be used to heat or cool the cabin. High driving speeds reduce range because of the energy required to overcome increased drag. Compared with gradual acceleration, rapid acceleration reduces range. Hauling heavy loads or driving up significant inclines also reduces range.
Learn more about charging all-electric vehicles.