Ask an EV expert.

Question:
I only have one car.  Though, like most Americans, I use it around town most of the time.  Once in a while I like to head up into the mountains.  How do I go Electric?

Answer:
That’s a good question. It’s shows you have been thinking this through.  A pure electric vehicle, often referred to as a BEV which stands for Battery Electric Vehicle, only runs on the power it takes in when it charges.  With the ranges available on today’s BEVs of up to 200+ miles, over 80% of American Drivers can use these cars for their daily driving – commuting etc.  This is because 80% of us drive 40 miles a day or less and with a BEV, you start each day with a “full tank” because you charged it overnight.  But when you get into the mountains it’s a different story.  The charging infrastructure outside of major cities is not yet complete. So a road trip even in a Tesla is doable, but still takes planning.  When you get into the Mountains, it becomes even more of a challenge, not to mention that climbing long grades is very hard on range.

Many will opt to go with a Plug-in Hybrid.  These are often referred to as PHEV which stands for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.  These vehicles will run as an EV for a number of miles, normally 30 to 50, and then automatically switch into Hybrid operation, which means it runs on gas.  If you are like most Americans, again those who drive 40 miles a day or less, your PHEV will run on pure electricity the entire time.  Then, when you decide to hit the high Sierra, the car switches to gas and runs very efficiently.  You just fill up when you need to.  One note though, to my knowledge there are no SUV/off-road PHEVs out there yet.  Mitsubishi is promising one soon, but not yet.

That said, if you can wait just a bit, EV technology is catching up faster than a Tesla can accelerate. Well, almost. At a similar rate, charging stations are popping up all over the country. Soon, your trip to the mountains can be absolutely free of emissions – as it should be. Don’t forget to pack a tent!

Our EV Expert, Paul Moore is both an EV owner and enthusiast. He is the founder of Driving on Sunshine and EV Mobile Charger.