Plug-in electric vehicles
Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) have a battery and electric motor used alone or in combination with a gas engine. All EV batteries are charged by plugging into an external power source. PEVs are divided into three categories:
- Battery electric vehicles use only the energy stored in their rechargeable battery packs to power an electric motor and have a range of about 60 to 290 miles. Manufacturers include Chevrolet, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Tesla.
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, which provide a range of about 500 miles using both the electric motor and the internal combustion engine. Manufacturers include Ford and Toyota.
- Extended-range electric vehicles have battery packs, allowing for all-electric driving for about 40 miles. Once battery life is depleted, the vehicle uses a gas-powered generator to extend the driving range an additional 300-plus miles. Manufacturers include Chevrolet, Cadillac and VIA.
Use these websites to learn more about PEVs:
- Plug-In Vehicle Tracker
- Electric Drive Transportation Association
- Alternative Fuels Data Center
- Department of Energy Vehicle Cost Calculator
- Wisconsin Clean Cities (Electric vehicle and incentive information)
- Cost: PEVs cost less to operate than gasoline-fueled vehicles and produce fewer emissions than standard vehicles.
- Maintenance: PEVs have simpler equipment that is more reliable and requires less maintenance.
- Mileage: Travel range per charge varies according to vehicle, battery size and how the vehicle is driven. Some vehicles can travel up to 375 miles with a full charge and full tank of gas.
- Performance: As with traditional vehicles, extreme temperatures can affect mileage and performance of your PEV. Extensive use of the climate control setting and other electronics can decrease a PEV's all-electric range.
The current battery technology used in PEVs can be sensitive to extreme hot and cold conditions. However, PEVs are designed with features to minimize weather effects. PEV batteries are temperature-controlled by either advanced air or liquid cooling systems. The systems keep them operating at optimal temperatures during the average commute. Most PEVs allow owners to begin cooling or heating the battery pack and passenger cabin before using the vehicle. This maximizes its electric range. Rather than heating the whole vehicle, heated seats in many PEVs offer a more efficient way to keep passengers comfortable in cold weather.
- Warranties: Most major electric vehicle manufacturers offer battery warranties of about 8 years or 100,000 miles.
Customers with PEVs have greater energy use because of charging time at home. However, electricity costs less than gasoline and diesel, so PEVs owner have overall savings.
Although we do not offer an electric rate specific to PEV owners, our Time-of-Use savings program can reduce charging costs.
Time-of-Use saves money when you shift the greatest share of your electricity use to off-peak hours – times when electric demand is low. Off-peak hours are in effect more than half of the time as well as weekends and holidays. Shifting energy use, including PEV charging to off-peak hours can result in substantial savings.
All PEVs and Level 1 and 2 charging stations come with a standard charging adaptor (SAE J1772) – the North American standard electrical connector, which includes several levels of shock protection to ensure safe charging even in wet conditions.
Charging stations typically offer Level 2 (240 volt) charging. The Department of Energy maintains a list of public electric charging stations.
To charge at home, a 15-amp, 120-volt grounded receptacle is needed in a location convenient for charging. To charge faster, a Level 2 (240-volt) charging station is needed. Use the following steps for a Level 2 installation:
- Assessment. Contact a qualified electrician or trained electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) installer. Ask for cost estimate, permitting and inspection requirements. If vehicle was purchased from dealer, working through the dealer may be an option.
- Permitting and upgrades. The electrician or installer will evaluate a home’s electricity capacity. If needed, a new, dedicated circuit may be recommended. If current electric service is undersized, a service upgrade from us may be needed.
- Inspection. After installation, inspection is required in most municipalities. Contact the appropriate local agency to ensure permitting and electric code compliance.