Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are propelled by an electric motor powered by rechargeable battery packs.

  • EVs are energy efficient. Electric motors convert 75% of the chemical energy from the batteries to power the wheels—internal combustion engines (ICEs) only convert 20% of the energy stored in gasoline.
  • EVs emit no tailpipe pollutants, although the power plant producing the electricity may emit them. Electricity from nuclear-, hydro-, solar-, or wind-powered plants causes no air pollutants.
  • Electricity is a domestic energy source, so EVs reduce energy dependence.
  • Electric motors provide quiet, smooth operation and stronger acceleration and require less maintenance than ICEs.

However, EVs face significant battery-related challenges:

  • Driving range. Most EVs can only go 150 miles (or less) before recharging—gasoline vehicles can go over 300 miles before refueling.
  • Recharge time. Fully recharging the battery pack can take 4 to 8 hours.
  • Battery cost. The large battery packs are expensive and usually must be replaced one or more times.
  • Bulk & weight. Battery packs are heavy and take up considerable vehicle space.

To learn more, visit www.fueleconomy.gov. To find a charging station near you, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website.