Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Fairfax County uses electric and hybrid cars and trucks, and the county is reviewing a policy proposal  as part of its land use plan to encourage the construction of EV charging stations

If you are thinking about purchasing a battery-powered electric vehicle (EV), some  basics can help. In general, an EV gets some or all of its power from a battery that stores energy it receives from an electrical outlet.


Three Basic Types of EVs

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
A PHEV is similar to conventional hybrids, but it has a larger battery that's charged by plugging into an electrical outlet. Generally, the electric-only range is 10 to 40 miles. After the electric-only range is exceeded, the vehicle operates using its gasoline engine.

Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV)
An EREV has an all-electric range of about 40 miles. After the battery has been discharged, a gas-powered engine kicks in to run the generator to sustain the battery charge and the battery continues to power the vehicle.

All Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
A BEV is powered entirely by electricity from the utility grid, and has an expected range of 80 to 100 miles or more.

Electric Vehicle Charging

All three types of EVs require plugging into electric outlets or charging stations to replenish the battery, much like a gasoline pump refills a gas tank. Charging can take different amounts of time, depending on the equipment.

Level 1
Charging takes from eight to 20 hours. It requires a standard 120-volt outlet, a charging cord with a standard three-prong household plug and a connector (comes with the EV) that plugs into the onboard charging system. Before you purchase an EV, make sure an outlet is available where you park, particularly if you live in a multi-story building or townhouse, or don't have  a garage or carport at your home.

Level 2
Charging takes three to eight hours, based on the battery type and circuit capacity. It requires a 240-volt outlet and dedicated circuit charging station, installed by an electrician.

Level 3
Charging with very high voltage, 480 volts, can take as little as 30 minutes. Some hotel and restaurant chains are installing these charging stations and shopping malls and other establishments may add them to encourage EV-owner customers to park and recharge their vehicles for a fee, while they shop. This very fast recharging doesn't apply to all EVs however. Extended range EVs, such as the Chevy Volt, do not have the onboard recharging capability to accept this level.

More Information on Charging Stations.

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