Whether by choice, necessity, or novelty, the subject of being environmentally conscious is popping up more and more in everyday conversations. As car manufacturers keep their marketing ears tuned in to the word on the street, they continue to roll out updated models of what they believe will satisfy the consumer’s desire to reduce their carbon footprint.
While being environmentally conscious is good for both consumers and manufacturers, deciding on the type of vehicle that best fits your life and your conscious will require you to accurately assess your transportation needs and match them with your options for eco-friendly vehicles.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs or EVs)
Electric vehicles run solely on battery power and are plugged in to standard AC power to recharge. Studies show electric vehicles have a lower long-term cost to operate than gas-powered vehicles since the owner no longer has to purchase fuel. This is a big deal for those whose main goal is to reduce their overall carbon footprint.
Although EVs have a greater mileage range (typically 60 to 80 miles per charge) than Hybrids (which generally only run about 20 to 30 miles on battery-power before the engine kicks in), the downside is that there isn’t an additional internal power source for EVs once your batteries run out of juice.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
PHEVs use two different powertrains to turn the wheels. The first is a gasoline-driven engine that has the typical mileage range for gas vehicles, and the other is powered by an electric battery that has a much shorter range of around 30 or 40 miles. The gas engine is set to start automatically when the batteries have been depleted of their charge. As the name suggests, this type of vehicle can be plugged in and recharged using conventional electricity just like your BEVs.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)
The typical hybrid vehicle also uses the same concept of two powertrains as in the PHEVs, but it cannot be plugged in to recharge. Instead, the battery is charged by capturing the kinetic energy [energy of motion] used when the brakes are applied, which is normally wasted as friction and heat in conventional vehicles. When the electric motor works with the gasoline-powered engine, it reduces gasoline usage which can also save you big bucks in fuel costs over time.
Besides the fuel savings for Electric and Hybrid vehicles, other benefits include tax credits and rebates you can claim on your tax return. There’s also priority parking for plug-ins at newer or updated retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, and more (go to CarStations.com to find your local plug-in stations). In some areas you can even use the HOV lane without a passenger present when driving an EV!
Regardless of what you drive, the experts at Kwik Kar can keep you informed and answer any questions you have. Be sure to check out our seasonal car-care specials so we can make sure you and your vehicle are charged up and ready to go.