Are You Ready to Plug In?

vw-up-concept-electric-car-photo2If the  price of gas or your environmental conscious  has you thinking maybe it’s time to look into a car that runs on something other than petroleum, read on.   Tucson Clean Cities, a program established at Pima Association of Governments in 1998, is going strong, and has created a partnership of fleets, vehicle providers, and fueling infrastructure companies  to make it possible for you to look at many types of alternatives to petroleum that will have you excited once again about driving.  For this blog posts, let’s keep this one to information about  to electric vehicles and a few fun facts/observations.

There are lots of myths and maybe even fears about the use of electric vehicles.  What if I run out of power? Where can I plug-in?  How far can one get me?

Here are some very helpful bits of information provided by Electric Vehicle Systems.

What is an EV?

Unlike a gasoline car powered by an engine, an EV is powered by electric batteries stored inside the car. When the batteries need recharging you simply plug the car into a 120 volt or 240 volt outlet from the convenience of your home. Most EV owners charge their cars overnight, others may give their batteries a boost by charging after short trips.

There are approximately 4,000 EVs on the road today in the US. Many of those are conversions made from existing cars such as Geo Metros, Ford Escorts, Volkswagen Rabbits, Hondas and trucks like the Chevy S-10 and  Ford Ranger. The others are purpose-built vehicles built-in small quantities by several companies throughout the world.

Advantages

There are several unique advantages to driving an EV.

  • No exhaust or emissions test
  • No tune ups
  • No more messy oil and antifreeze changes
  • Totally silent operation
  • Costs 60%-75% less to operate.
  • Puts the fun back into commuting.

Range

Depending on driving habits and terrain, a typical EV averages 40 to 70 miles per charge. Approximately 85% of the cars in the US are driven less than 20 miles a day. Today, the needs of many two car families can be met with one of the cars being an EV.

Range records are being broken every year and many EVs being built are in the 60-125 mile range. Recently a composite bodied Solectria Sunrise went 373 miles on a single charge using nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Although these batteries are very expensive they should be competitively priced within the next few years.

Performance

Because EVs are so quiet and peppy they are fun to drive. Most EVs today can outperform their gasoline cousins. The GM EV1 will accelerate from 0 to 60 in under nine seconds. A modified version of the GM Impact broke the land-speed record for EVs in 1994 with a top speed of 183.8 mph. Handling characteristics in an EV can be comparable to that of a gas car.

By nature of their design, electric motors are very powerful. Electric motors have instantaneous torque when they are turned on, whereas gasoline engines have to build up power before they reach their peak RPM range. This is why EVs with stick shifts can easily accelerate from second gear. Most heavy vehicles such as subway trains, locomotives, and heavy mining equipment use electric motors because of the tremendous amount of torque they offer.

Now isn’t that all good to know?

If you need or want more information for you or your company & would like to get  some great expert advice, Colleen Crowninshield is your person from Pima Association of Governments.  You have questions, she will have answers! Here’s  the link to her page on the PAG website and here’s the link to her informative radio interview.