An electric vehicle (EV) is any vehicle that is powered by a battery that has been charged by an external electricity source. Electric vehicles have been in existence as long as gasoline-powered cars, but have often been more expensive than conventional gas powered cars.
Today, concerns about rising greenhouse gas emissions and a desire to save money at the gas pump have led more manufacturers to focus on fuel efficiency and electric vehicle technology. Since the release of the Toyota Prius in the early 2000s, nearly all major vehicle manufacturers have (or plan to) release cars with electric vehicle technology.
There are two different types of EVs that you’ll see on the road today: battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). You will also find hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which are technically EVs, but do not store on-board batteries.
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If you're curious about electric vehicle charging, visit our EV Charging 101 page.
Electric vehicles are available in three models: battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). PHEVs and HEVs use electricity to improve fuel efficiency whereas EVs have no traditional fuel tank and therefore are the least polluting vehicle available in the world right now. Both light-duty and heavy-duty electric vehicles are now available in the marketplace!
Light-, medium-, and heavy-duty EVs are commercially available and new models are appearing every year. EVs can also save you money through fuel savings, available tax credits, and other New York State opportunities. Keep scrolling for a list of available light-duty electric vehicle models.
Battery electric vehicles (BEV) use an electric motor and battery instead of a conventional gas tank and internal combustion engine. Also referred to as all-electric vehicles, plug-in vehicles (PEV), or simply electric vehicles, BEVs use a battery pack to store electrical energy that powers the motors. BEVs are charged by plugging the vehicles into an electric power source and are considered zero-emission vehicles because they produce no direct exhaust or emissions.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) use batteries to power an electric motor AND a gas-powered internal combustion engine. PHEVs operate using batteries and an electric motor until the battery energy is nearly depleted, switching over to the internal combustion engine to provide power. Similarly to BEVs, PHEVs can be plugged into electrical sources to charge on-board batteries. PHEVs are also fueled like internal combustion engines. Because of the small on-board battery, it’s possible to drive moderate distances just using electricity and produce lower levels of emissions with each trip.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are powered by an internal combustion engine with one or more electric motors that use energy stored in batteries. HEVs can have a substantial range on a single tank of gas, but are not required to be plugged-in for charging and still require conventional petroleum based fuel. HEVs may use the extra power provided by the electric motor to allow for a smaller engine. The battery can also power auxiliary loads and reduce engine idling when the vehicle is stopped. HEVs use regenerative braking to capture energy normally lost during braking by using the electric motor as a generator and storing the captured energy in the battery.
Image: Drive Electric Tennessee, Electric Vehicle 101. May 2020. http://driveelectrictn.org/about-evs/
Historically, EVs have a shorter driving range (per charge) than comparable conventional vehicles have (per tank of gas). However, newer and more powerful EV models reach the market at increasing rates, and OEMs continue to make commitments to electrify the vehicle market. Based on the U.S. Department of Energy Fuel Economy Guide data for model year 2020, the median driving range for EVs is 258 miles. Many vehicle models go even higher 300 miles on one charge.
The efficiency and driving range of EVs varies substantially based on driving conditions. 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.
Image: FOTW #1064, January 14, 2019: Median All-Electric Vehicle Range Grew from 73 Miles in Model Year 2011 to 125 Miles in Model Year 2018.
Electric vehicles require less maintenance than internal combustion engine vehicles and have lower fuel costs when considering the price of electricity versus gas or diesel. When you account for financial incentives, electric vehicles become much more affordable and competitive with gas vehicles.
As a New York State resident, you can save up to $9,500 on a new electric vehicle lease or purchase.
To learn more about funding opportunities, incentives, and rebates, click below.
All-electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. The credit amount will vary based on the capacity of the battery used to power the vehicle. Can be combined with the New York State Drive Clean Rebate.
The New York State Drive Clean Rebate is open to all New York State offering a point-of-sale rebate towards the purchase or lease of a new electric car. Rebate amounts of up to $2,000 are awarded based on the all-electric range of a vehicle. Can be combined with the Federal EV/PHEV Tax Credit.
If you own or lease an electric vehicle and charge it within the Con Edison service territory, you are eligible for a $150 reward for signing up to SmartCharge New York and installing a FREE connected car device in your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port or connector. This device unlocks valuable charging and driving data, all available to you on an online dashboard! SmartCharge New York pays drivers cash rewards to charge their EVs at off-peak times of day when demand for electricity is at its lowest. Charging off-peak helps reduce stress on the energy grid, making service more reliable for everyone. With SmartCharge New York, EV drivers can earn up to $1,000 annually! Click here to learn more and see how much you can earn.
Go to our Incentives page to learn more about funding opportunities from utilities, charging infrastructure, and other EV perks.
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