If you’re new to electric vehicles, you’re in the right place.
We answer the top questions drivers ask before switching to electric.

What are electric vehicles (EVs)?

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Electric vehicles include cars, SUVs, motorcycles and other passenger vehicles powered by electricity stored in rechargeable batteries or an energy storage device. There are four main types: battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). For an in-depth look at the types and their differences, visit Electric for All.

How do electric vehicles differ from conventional cars?

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Unlike standard vehicles that are powered by gasoline or other hydrocarbon fuels, electric vehicles rely on a rechargeable internal battery to provide power to an electric motor and electric drivetrain. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is a blend of these two methods, with both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

BMW i3 owner

"The ease of charging at home, as well as the low electricity rate, makes the cost of ownership way better than your typical internal combustion engine alternative."

— Angel, battery-electric vehicle owner

Do I have to buy and install a charging station?

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Electric vehicle charging is often done at home using what is referred to as Level 1 or Level 2 charging equipment. All electric vehicles are delivered with a Level 1 charging cord that plugs into a standard 120-volt electrical outlet. For faster charging, there are Level 2 chargers that use a 240-volt electrical outlet — the same plug used by a clothes dryer. Level 2 chargers cost around $400-$800 and may require professional installation. For a more in-depth look at charging, check out https://DriveClean.ca.gov

How far can electric vehicles go on a single charge?

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Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles can drive 20-55 miles on electricity and then switch to gas. Most battery electric vehicles can drive 80 to more than 300 miles, depending on the vehicle make and model. For fuel cell electric vehicles, the range is about 300-400 miles on a single fill-up.

Are there special maintenance issues?

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Battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than gasoline vehicles and require less maintenance. All EV manufacturers offer standard vehicle warranties and an 8-10 year/100,000-mile warranty on batteries.

Diana with her Kia

"To this day, I enjoy how much gas savings I have by purchasing my hybrid. I save every week. It is not a lot of extra work to find where the charging stations are. It’s a little different charging a car than getting gas . . . and getting gas once every other week was something to adjust to because I didn't have to go to a gas station as much."

— Diana, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle owner

What are the environmental impacts of electric vehicles (EVs)?

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Battery and fuel cell electric vehicles do not use gas, and as such, do not directly produce any smog-forming, toxic pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid EVs require less gas than a standard internal combustion engine vehicle. Since California’s electricity grid is one of the greenest in the nation, when you charge your EV you are helping to clean the air in your community. If you have solar panels on your home, you are driving with an almost net-zero environmental impact.

Kevin with his Honda Clarity

"Honestly, I couldn’t afford to buy an electric vehicle outright, so I got a lease as a way to introduce myself to EVs. I really wanted to check it out and not be committed if I didn’t like it. "

— Kelvin, battery-electric vehicle owner

Are there special incentives for low- and moderate-income consumers?

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Consumers with household incomes less than or equal to 400% of the federal poverty level are eligible for an increased rebate amount of $2,500 on top of the standard CVRP rebate. This amounts to:

  • $7,000 for fuel cell electric vehicles
  • $4,500 for battery-electric vehicles
  • $3,500 for plug-in hybrid vehicles

For more information, visit the Increased Rebate page.