Electricity can be used to power all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles directly from the power grid. Vehicles running on electricity produce no tailpipe emissions. The only emissions that can be attributed to electric vehicles are those generated in the production process at the power plant. The electric grid is an easily accessible driving energy.
Electricity used to power vehicles is generally provided by the electricity grid and stored in the vehicle’s batteries. Fuel cells are being explored as a way to use electricity generated on board the vehicle to power electric motors. Unlike batteries, fuel cells convert chemical energy from hydrogen into electricity. Home recharging of electric vehicles (EVs) is as simple as plugging them into an electric outlet. Electricity fueling costs for electric vehicles are reasonable compared to gasoline, especially if consumers take advantage of off-peak rates. However, electricity costs vary across the U.S. depending on location, type of generation, time of use and access point (home, business, etc). Many states have public access electric outlets at libraries, shopping center, hospitals and businesses.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and all electric vehicles (EVs) use electricity either as their primary fuel or to improve the efficiency of conventional vehicle designs. HEVs are powered by an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source that runs on conventional or alternative fuel and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. The battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine and is not plugged in to charge.
Consumers seeking information about plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles can check out a vehicle purchase guidance tool created by Argonne National Laboratory, the EVolution Tool.