Plug-in Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles (EVs) are propelled by electric motors powered by rechargeable battery packs. They can help to reduce our dependence on petroleum because the energy powering them is domestically generated. These vehicles have many advantages over traditional internal combustion engines because they:
- save money on fuel and vehicle maintenance.
- are more than three times more energy efficient.
- may be recharged at home overnight.
- produce no tailpipe emissions.
- are quiet to drive.
- require less maintenance than gasoline vehicles.
- are available in a variety of hybrid configurations.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) are powered by a combination of conventional or alternative fuels and the electricity stored in a battery. These batteries are charged through the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking system, allowing for a smaller engine and resulting in improved fuel economy without sacrificing performance.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) have an internal combustion engine as well as an electric motor which uses batteries stowed on-board. They can be charged by an outside power source, by the internal combustion engine or the regenerative braking system.
All-Electric Vehicles (EV)
A battery onboard stores the electricity used to power the vehicle. The batteries are re-charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source. There are no tailpipe emissions from these vehicles.
- Most electric vehicles can travel only about a hundred miles before needing to be recharged, which might be inconvenient for those who drive longer distances in a day
- Recharging at 220 volts (Level 2) can take as long as 4-8 hours, even a "quick charge" (480 volts) requires at least 30 minutes. Standardization of quick-charge service equipment is still under development.
- The large battery packs occupy a lot of vehicle space and are expensive to replace, although many automakers provide an 8-year or 100,000 mile warranty or lease electric vehicles. Researchers are continuing to develop improved battery technologies, with the goals of increasing driving ranges and decreasing the weight and cost of batteries.
- Power plants that produce the electricity to run EVs emit greenhouse gasses. California's 2008 electricity grid had 35 percent lower carbon emissions than the national grid and will continue to experience reduced emissions as utilities convert to the use of renewable sources for electricity generation (wind, solar, hydro).
How is the Energy Commission helping?
More than $18.6 million has been awarded in a variety of infrastructure projects. In 2010, there were 1,300 charging stations at 401 different sites in California with most in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Areas. Anticipated funding for additional stations throughout the state will add nearly 4,500 new charging outlets, most by 2012. The Energy Commission is also providing funding to assist California's diverse regions to develop regional PEV strategic plans for the deployment of PEV electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). More details about this and other transportation funding opportunities can be found at the transportation funding page.
The growth of the electric vehicle market requires the Energy Commission to work closely with the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative Council, the Air Resources Board and the California Public Utilities Commission to establish funding priorities for charging infrastructure and related activities.