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What is an Electric Vehicle (EV) by definition?

An Electric Vehicle (EV) refers to a vehicle propelled solely by an electric motor with a battery as the motor's energy storage device.

There are presently two forms of EV:

  • "Battery Electric Vehicle or BEV," which uses an electric motor to propel the vehicle, powered by battery packs that are recharged directly from a source of electricity (Nissan Leaf, e.g.).
  • "Plug-In Electric Hybrid Vehicle or PHEV," which can be driven by an electric motor and internal combustion engine (Ford C-Max Energi, e.g.) or can be driven only by its electric motor with an internal combustion engine and generator to recharge the battery (Chevy Volt, e.g.).

An EV uses an external electricity source to recharge the battery by connecting it to an electrical supply through a connector system that is designed specifically for this purpose (plugging in).

How Do EVs Benefit the Environment?

Almost half of the air pollution in the state - ozone, volatile organic compounds, oxides of nitrogen, and sulfur - is produced by transportation sources, most of it by on-road light-duty vehicles (www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/net/2011inventory.html).

EVs and PHEVs running only on electricity have zero tailpipe emissions, but emissions may be produced by the source of electrical power, such as a power plant. In geographic areas that use relatively low-polluting energy sources for electricity generation - like New Hampshire - PHEVs and EVs typically have an emissions advantage over similar conventional vehicles running on gasoline or diesel, even when including emissions associated with fuel recovery, refining, and electricity production.  (Graph source: www.fueleconomy.gov)

What Are the Other Benefits of Driving an EV?

The use of electric vehicles instead of conventional vehicles can help reduce U.S. reliance on imported petroleum and increase energy security. They may also provide a hedge against price spike and supply disruption. EV drivers also enjoy operating cost savings which can be several hundred dollars per year, depending on the vehicle model, driving habits, and current fuel costs. Electric vehicles accelerate much faster than gas- or diesel-powered vehicles and require less maintenance because they have fewer moving parts.

For a list of available electric vehicles, visit the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center page and the Vehicle Explorer tool on the Drive Change. Drive Electric. website at Drive Electric US.

Source: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services