Making the switch to an electric vehicle, or an EV, can help you save money while going green. Below are some things to consider before buying an electric vehicle. See the Electric Vehicle Guide for more information. SMECO is also building a network of EV Recharge charging stations throughout Southern Maryland.
What types are available?
There are two types of EVs that rely on electric motors.
- Battery electric vehicle (BEV) gets its electricity exclusively from a battery that is recharged from the power grid.
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) gets electricity both from a rechargeable battery and from a small internal combustion generator; the engine does not provide power directly to the wheels.
How should I choose an EV?
When shopping for an EV, a useful specification for comparing models is the range. The battery size determines the driving distance before the vehicle needs recharging. EV battery sizes are measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Some EV models have options for larger batteries for greater range.
Visit the Electric Vehicle Guide for help in choosing an EV model and finding rebates and tax incentives.
How do I charge my vehicle?
You can charge your EV at home if you have power where you park your car.
- A Level 1 charger comes with most electric vehicles. This charger plugs into a standard 120-volt outlets and it has the longest charging time.
- A Level 2 charger is an optional accessory that plugs into a 240-volt outlet, the same as an electric stove or dryer. The higher voltage means that the charging time is shorter.
Questions to ask dealers:
Because EVs use relatively new technology, research the vehicles and the specific models before visiting dealers. Here are questions to ask:
- Do you provide a Level 1 charger?
- Do you offer a Level 2 charger as an accessory?
- How long are the charging times with both levels of chargers?
- What is the range of the car on a full charge?
- What options do you offer for battery sizes?
- What is the lifetime of the car’s battery?
What do I need to know before shopping?
Before you go electric, here are some items to consider:
- Your daily driving distance—When calculating, include not just your commute to and from work, but also any errands you might run during the day.
- Charging at home—EVs with Level 1 chargers can recharge from standard 120-volt outlets. For faster charging, an electrician can install a Level 2 charger in your home that runs on 240 volts.
- Charging away from home—Some workplaces have charging stations available. SMECO offers free charging at its Hughesville Customer Service Center, and we are installing stations throughout our service area. Because you may need to charge more often than you currently buy gas, plan ahead so that your vehicle has power when you need it.
- Incentives for buying—Depending on the available funding, federal and state governments have credits and rebates available to make EVs more affordable. Some dealers may offer additional incentives.
How green are EVs?
Whether you drive a battery-only vehicle or a plug-in hybrid, your driving produces fewer greenhouse gases. Unlike power from gasoline or diesel engines, some electricity comes from renewable sources, and the amount continues to increase. See how much of SMECO’s electricity supply is renewable.
The Maryland government offers additional resources below.