Electric Vehicles (EV), either fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, are an emerging transportation option for all drivers. EVs have lower fuel costs, reduced maintenance costs and provide benefits to the environment. Federal and State incentives assist both in purchasing the EV and the charging equipment for your house.
The Maryland Department of the Environment has concluded that the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions are the tailpipes of internal combustion gasoline vehicles. This is also a primary source of local air pollution throughout the state. Greenhouse gas emissions are the principal contributor to climate change which will have a disproportionate impact on Maryland due to our geography and coastal exposure. EVs either have no tailpipe emissions or very reduced emissions since the car runs on electricity. The State’s efforts to increase the amount of electricity generated by non-fossil sources such as wind and solar means that the electricity is the more environmentally beneficial source of energy for a vehicle.
EVs come in two basic configurations: fully electric and plug-in hybrids.
Fully electric vehicles run completely on batteries on a dedicated mileage range (distance ranges vary depending on the EV but are comparable to gasoline autos.)
Plug-in hybrids run primarily on electricity but have a gasoline engine. These vehicles must be plugged into a charging station usually at your house overnight. Charging stations are generally available at many public locations, (shopping center, government and institutional building) and increasingly at parking facilities.
Benefits of fully electric vehicles:
Fully electric vehicles have reduced overall maintenance costs because the EV has fewer parts than the internal combustion gasoline engine.
EVs have greater torque or faster acceleration since it is a direct drive propulsion without a transmission.
Since EVs have no tailpipe there are emissions from the car which both assists in reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and helps reduce pollution in regional air sheds.
Things to consider when purchasing an EV
Both the federal government and the state of Maryland provide incentives for the purchase of an EV. There are further incentives for purchasing and installing a home charging station. Your local electric utility provides various incentives for owning an EV and a home charging station. Customers find that charging an EV either at home or at a separate charging station is cheaper than filling the gas tank since the price of electricity is lower than the price of gasoline.
When considering the purchase of an EV, either fully electric or a plug-in hybrid, think about the intended use of the vehicle. EVs are quite functional as a commuter car from home to workplace and back or for use in daily trips to school, shopping, and errands in the community. The overnight charge will generally provide a sufficient range for all of these trips. In an increasing number of places, employers are providing charging stations for employees. Most commercial shopping areas also have public charging stations available for use.
The General Assembly created some years ago the Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council to bring together government and industry participants to encourage the deployment of electric vehicles throughout the state. The Council has a very detailed website: marylandev.org which contains information on electric vehicles, charging stations, incentives and benefits. The website has numerous tools for use to determining which type of EV is best for your situation. There are tools for comparing the price and environmental impacts of EVs compared to gasoline auto. The website provides information on charging stations both at your home and within your community. Finally, there are links to government and other organizations involved in EVs for specific information regarding purchasing an EV, obtaining a charging station and incentives for both the vehicle and the charging station.