Questions? Look here.
What is an Electric Vehicle (EV)?
An electric vehicle is any vehicle that can drive on electricity derived from a power plug. An all-electric vehicle (sometimes called a battery electric vehicle or a “BEV”) drives solely on power from the plug.
What types of electric vehicles are available?
Two kinds of electric vehicles are available:
- Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) - relies exclusively on a battery to power the car.
- Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) - uses both electricity and gasoline. When driving, they use battery power and switch to gasoline when the battery is empty.
Can electric vehicles drive far enough to be practical?
Most electric cars have a range of at least 85-110 miles, although this is quickly growing. Very few drivers travel this far on a daily basis. For the infrequent occasions when a long-distance drive is needed, the drive can be done by charging on the road, with access to vehicles in car-share services, or by renting or borrowing another vehicle.
Is the quiet nature of electric vehicles a hazard?
Electric vehicles aren’t silent, and at parking-lot speeds they make as much noise from various fans, pumps and tire noise as most modern internal-combustion engine vehicles. At high speeds, the wind and tire noise is comparable to any car.
How would I charge my electric car at home?
There are two ways to charge at home:
- Level 1 uses the cord provided with every EV; it plugs in a standard 120V wall outlet and provides 3-5 miles per hour of charge.
- Level 2 uses a 240V circuit such as for a cooktop or clothes dryer. It requires a specially installed charging station and provides 20 to 60 miles per hour of charging.
Which charging station should I buy?
New plug-in vehicles come with cords to plug into standard 120-volt household outlets. For faster charging, many drivers will want to buy a charging station to plug into a 240-volt outlet. All 240-volt charging stations (Level 2 charging) come with the same “J connector” that should allow any plug-in vehicle to connect to any charging station.
How would I charge my electric car on the go?
Level 1 and 2 are available at workplaces, retail businesses and other locations. In addition, a faster option called DC Fast Charge is available for charging on the go. There are three types, each compatible with specific cars:
- Combined Charging System (CCS), up to 65 miles in 20 minutes (e.g. BMW i3, VW eGolf, or Bolt EV)
- CHAdeMO up to 67 miles in 30 minutes (e.g. Nissan LEAF or Kia Soul EV)
- Tesla Supercharger up to 130 miles in 20 minutes
Durability and Maintenance
Are electric vehicles dependable?
Yes. Plug-in cars are the among the most dependable vehicles on the market. They will last as long or longer than gasoline automobiles, with less regular maintenance required.
What maintenance do electric vehicles require?
Since there are significantly fewer moving parts in an EV compared to a traditional vehicle, less ongoing preventative maintenance is needed. They require no oil changes, tune-ups, or new spark plugs. Brake life is extended on EVs since the motor is used to slow the car, recapturing the kinetic energy and storing it back in the battery. Many automakers also offer warranties on the batteries.
“PG&E” refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation. ©2019 Pacific Gas and Electric Company. All rights reserved. These offerings are funded by California utility customers and administered by PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.