Electricity

Information provided below excerpted from the Alternative Fuel Data Center website.

Electricity can be used to power all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. These vehicles can draw electricity directly from the grid and other off-board electrical power sources and store it in batteries. Hybrid electric vehicles use electricity to boost fuel efficiency. Using electricity to power vehicles can have significant energy security and emissions benefits.

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Basics

Electricity is considered an alternative fuel under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Electricity can be produced from a variety of primary energy sources, including oil, coal, nuclear energy, moving water, natural gas, wind energy, and solar energy. Plug-in vehicles are capable of drawing electricity from off-board electrical power sources (generally the electricity grid) and storing it in batteries. Though not yet widely available, fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to cleanly generate electricity onboard the vehicle.

Hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles can help increase energy security, improve fuel economy, lower fuel costs, and reduce emissions.

Stations

Thousands of electric vehicle charging stations are available in the United States. Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) is being deployed throughout the country in key areas for public charging, but consumers are likely to do the majority of their charging at home.

Find electric vehicle charging stations by location or along a route.

Vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and all-electric vehicles (EVs)—also called electric drive vehicles collectively—use electricity either as their primary fuel or to improve the efficiency of conventional vehicle designs.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

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.

PHEVs are powered by an internal combustion engine that can run on conventional or alternative fuel and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. The vehicle can be plugged into an electric power source to charge the battery. Some types of PHEVs are also called extended range electric vehicles (EREVs).

EVs use a battery to store the electric energy that powers the motor. EV batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source. EVs are sometimes referred to as battery electric vehicles (BEVs).



Laws and Incentives

State and federal governments enact laws and provide incentives to help build and maintain a market for electricity fuel and vehicles.

Find laws and incentives in your area.