EVs…Easy as 1,2,3

Cicero once said, “I am not ashamed to confess I am ignorant of what I do not know,” and look, if Cicero wasn’t afraid of confessing his lack of knowledge on something, nobody else should be either.

Here at CPS Energy, we get a lot of questions about a lot of things, but one subject that has come up even more frequently as of late is electric vehicles (EVs). How do they work? How far can they go? Where can I charge them?

Well fear not, dear reader! We are here to shed some light in those dark recesses of ignorance. Check out the questions below to learn more about EVs and even how you can drive home in one today with a discount!

Q: OK, so what exactly is an EV?

Here’s an easy confusion trap right off the bat. There are different types of EVs, and each type powers itself in a different way. But one thing they all have in common is they get all or at least some of their power from electricity supplied by the electric grid. The more common types of EVs are:

  • AEVs (all-electric vehicles), which are powered by electric motors. These are the EVs that you plug in and run without any gas whatsoever. They produce no tailpipe emissions and have travel ranges of about 80-100 miles, with some models getting up to around 250 miles.
  • PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles), which can run on electricity for less range (6 to 40 miles) and switch over to a typical engine which runs on gas when that battery depletes. Overall, these cars still consume less fuel and produce fewer emissions than your run-of-the-mill gas-powered car.

Q: Alright. So where can I plug my car in to charge? How long does it take?

Charge times can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an entire day for a full charge, depending on your battery and charger types. There are three major categories of chargers, according to energy.gov:

  • Level 1: This provides charging through a 120 V AC plug. There’s no need for installation of extra charging equipment, and this charge can deliver about 2-5 miles of range per charging hour.
  • Level 2: Provides charging through a 240 V (for residential) or 208 V (for commercial) plug and requires installation of additional charging equipment. These can deliver 10-20 miles of range per charging hour, and are used in homes, workplaces and for public charging.
  • DC Fast Charge: Provides charging through a 480 V AC input and requires highly specialized, high-powered equipment as well as special equipment in the vehicle itself. These can deliver 60-80 miles of range in 20 minutes of charging. They’re used most often in public charging stations, especially along heavy traffic corridors.

A licensed professional should install any home charging equipment that you plan to use, but you can click here to view all the public charging locations in San Antonio (or wherever you live) through Chargepoint.

Q: OK, I’m interested. Where can I learn more about potentially purchasing one?

Visit the EV incentives page on our website to learn more about all the offers that are currently ongoing. Now through the end of the month, we have a special offer available to all CPS Energy customers for a rebate of up to $3,500 on a 2019 Nissan Leaf! Our EV homepage is also a great source for more information, with everything from benefits and facts to FAQs and helpful terms. Happy driving!

Trace Levos

Trace is a part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

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