Electric vehicles are a great way to reduce your environmental impact, save money on fuel, and beat traffic. It seems like the perfect solution. But before you buy one and ditch your current ride, it’s important to know the facts about electric cars.

In the following details, you will look at electricity as a fuel source, how electric cars work, what your charging costs will be if you go electric, and how long you can expect to wait for an EV charger in your neighborhood. Finally, you will assess whether the technology is ready for sustainable development or not.

How Do Electric Vehicles Work?

Electric cars are powered by a rechargeable battery pack instead of a gasoline engine. When you plug in an electric car, the battery gets recharged automatically using electricity from the power grid. As a result, an electric car plugs into your home charging station will typically charge overnight when electricity demand is low (off-peak). 

It means you’ll probably never see a power bill for your EV. The car will also recharge using electricity from off-peak power sources at public charging stations built for electric vehicles. The latest models can range over 100 miles and go from 0–60mph in under 5 seconds, faster than most gasoline-powered cars.

Electric Vehicles – Ready for Prime Time or Not

  • Everyone has come a long way from the days of the electric cars sold in the eighties and early nineties. Gas prices today are historically low. It is a good excuse to buy that gas-guzzling SUV if you want it and can afford it.
  • But with electric vehicles available, people don’t need to defend their use based on price or environmental concerns. Many of you don’t even need an excuse to buy one. The charging technology is the main reason electric vehicles aren’t the ideal choice.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric cars recharge their battery pack using electricity from a plug plugging into your home’s electric outlet. It means they have to be plugged in between charges, and they can take up a lot of space if you have to park them at home. Even though you are not paying for gas, you still have to pay for electricity.
  • And on top of that, if electricity rates tripled or quadrupled, as many experts predict, you could be paying way too much for your electric car. Of course, if your electric car is parked at home doing nothing when it’s not in use, it will still cost you money. So unless you plan to have an electric vehicle that only gets used every few years, the technology is not ready for prime time.

Charging Costs

What will you pay to charge your electric car’s battery pack? The rate you pay will depend on your location, the electricity you use at home, and the size of your battery pack. Your electric rates are typically split up into two different categories. 

  • The first category is the supply charges, typically set by your local utility and cover the cost of having power lines and transformer stations in your neighborhood. The supply charges also include the cost of generating and transmitting electricity to your area.
  • The second category is demand charges, which are usually much higher than supply charges. Demand charges are based on how much electricity you use at any given time. In most areas, demand charges are negotiated directly between your electric utility and the local power companies.

So, if you live in an area that is getting your electricity from a hydroelectric dam, you’ll likely be paying much less than in an area where electricity comes from a coal-fired power plant. The cost of charging your electric car depends on how far it will go between charges, how many miles you’re willing to drive, and how much electricity costs in your area.


If you’re in the market for an electric car for your home, you need to find out about energy rates at your local utility. Unfortunately, the information isn’t always easy to find on the utility company’s website. You may need to call the company and ask a customer service representative. You will probably have to provide a few different pieces of information to get the rates for your electric car.