This General Electric Car FAQ should get you up to speed. Also check out the Conversion FAQ.
What is an EV, a hybrid, an ICE and an electric car?
ICE is an internal combustion engine, or gas engine as found in your local streets every day. Also includes natural gas engines.
An EV is an Electric Vehicle, which include electric motor cycles, electric three wheeled trikes, electric boats, electric planes, electric bicycles and so on. Electric Cars are also EVs, and the two terms are used interchangeably.
A hybrid is a vehicle that uses both a ICE component and an Electric component to drive the vehicle. Example: Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Chevy Volt.
Isn't the Chevy Volt an Electric Car?
Almost, but no. The Chevy Volt drives the wheels with the electric motor, yes. However, the presence of the gasoline component disqualifies the Volt from the EV category.
Do Electric Cars use gas?
No. Electric cars use zero gas.
How is an Electric Car charged?
This day and age, EVs have many charging options. Usually, it is charged from a regular 120v home outlet, maybe a specially installed 240v electric clothes dryer outlet. The newer EV chargers are also built compatible with fast charging stations being installed all over the country.
Doesn't that increase the electric bill?
Yes, but not by much. Electricity costs less than gasoline for fuel. Depending on current prices in your area, electricity fuel can cost from 1/5 to 1/10 that of gas.
Does it take a long time to charge?
Longer than a gas fill-up, yes. Like a cell phone, EVs typically charge at night when not in use. Most EV owners find this is much more convenient than routinely stopping at the gas station.
How far can an Electric Car go?
Depends. At the moment, (2013) Nissan's Leaf drives about 80 miles (realistically). When you build or convert to an EV, this is fully customizable. Most conversions are around the 40 to 60 mile range.
Why such a short range?
EVs batteries, which largely determine range, represent a majority portion of the cost of the vehicle. Most EVs are built to handle the daily driving of the owner.
What happens when an EVruns out of fuel?
The car stops.
What if I want to go farther? How will I drive to the next state?
For now, use your other car. EVs are not yet practical for long distance travel. Thanks to fast charge stations, they will be distance capable soon.
How does an Electric Car work?
In an EV the wheels are turned by the motor, which is given the appropriate power through the controller, which has power available from the batteries. The controller is told how much power to give based on the foot pedal. That's pretty much it.
Aren't EVs slow?
No, not at all. Although EVs share many similarities with a golf cart (and the ICE shares many with a 4 wheeler), EVs can be extremely fast and fun to drive, and make excellent drag race vehicles.
Can EVs be used as trucks, to haul stuff?
Yes. EVs can have plenty of torque and horse power with which to haul additional load. There are many Chevy S-10 or Ford Ranger conversions that retain the use of the bed and trailer hitch capabilities. Long range, and heavy load trailing is rarely done today, as it requires more batteries and drives up the cost considerably.
Why are EVs so expensive?
The big car manufacturers charge so much for electric cars because they need to build an entirely new system to make these vehicles. Their businesses are extremely observant of operational efficiency. Most cars from one company share engines, transmissions, oil pans, bolts, screws, you name it. When big companies start making EVs, it represents a huge new cost in manufacturing.
Can I save money buy Converting, rather than buying an EV?
Should I drive an EV?
If you are like 90+% of Americans who drive about 29 miles in one day of simple commuting, then I would recommend an EV for you. They are cheaper, faster, cleaner, and more fun.
Why doesn't everyone drive an EV?
Charge times, range limitations, and possibly funny looking cars are all simple concerns that can be easily overcome. I find the real obstacles are initial price and individual pride. People inherently resist change, and especially don't enjoy being told of a better alternative that they didn't find on their own.
If I don't want to buy an EV, can I build one?
Absolutely! It is our goal at EV Source to provide everything you will need to convert your gas car into a wonderful electric machine. The next step I would recommend is visiting our Conversion FAQ to see if conversion is right for you.