FAQs about EVs

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about electric cars.

General

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are vehicles that are powered on electric power. Unlike gas-powered vehicles, electric vehicles (EVs) do not require an internal combustion engine to operate. Outfitted with an electric motor and rechargeable battery pack, EVs move along our roadways without burning up gasoline, or producing harmful exhaust emissions, while generating less noise pollution.

Gasoline is not required Paying $0.10 per kWh is the equivalent of driving on gasoline that costs less than $1 per gallon. On average, drivers save about $700 in fuel costs per year while driving electric cars.

Less pollutants Drivers of electric vehicles have reduced CO2 emissions by more than 177,758,804 kg

Lower maintenance due to an efficient electric motor Electric motors have less parts and that leads to less potential issues vs a traditional non-electric vehicle which means you save on operating cost!

Better performance Electric cars are not only lighter but have faster acceleration.

Electric vehicles save you money. No matter where you plug in across the country, electric vehicles are cheaper to fuel than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Electric vehicles can also save you on maintenance costs.

Electric vehicles cut your emissions. Even when the electricity used to fuel an EV comes from the dirtiest coal-dominated grid in the US, EVs still produce less global warming pollution than their conventional counterparts. When powered exclusively by renewable energy, an EV can operate nearly emissions free.

Electric vehicles offer you a better driving experience. An electric engine generates instant torque, which means that electric vehicles provide smooth, responsive acceleration and deceleration.

Electric vehicles cut your gasoline use. Electric vehicles offer the potential to disrupt the status quo relationship between transportation and oil, and offer a cleaner, better way to fuel transportation for everyone.

Electric vehicles are convenient. Instead of searching for a gasoline station with the cheapest prices, you can charge at home at a cheaper and much more predictable cost. And plugging in at home takes only a few seconds and lets you wake up with a full charge every morning.

Discover

Evidence is growing that electric vehicles are at least as safe as conventional ones, with two more vehicles that run exclusively on battery power earning safety awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition, an updated analysis of insurance data shows injury claims are substantially less frequent for electric vehicles.

The time it takes to charge an electric car can be as little as 30 minutes or more than 12 hours. This depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point. A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point.

Electric vehicles do not require as much maintenance as gas-powered ones since they don’t need oil changes or air-filter replacements. If maintained according to the automakers’ recommendations, electric vehicle maintenance can cost $330 less than a gas-powered car per year.

On average, car insurance for an electric vehicle is about 23% more expensive than the cost for the equivalent internal combustion engine model.

The actual increase (or decrease) will depend on the car you're driving now, and other factors such as your driving history and coverage selected.

The basic difference between a hybrid and an electric vehicle is that an electric car runs exclusively on electric energy stored in a battery, while a hybrid car runs on a combination of electricity and conventional fuel.

Most of today's electric vehicles have a driving range-per-charge between 50 to 330 miles. If your daily commute is under 250 miles per day, there is likely an affordable EV model that will fit your needs.

Purchase

No matter how much research you do ahead of time, it’s essential to give any EV model you’re considering a thorough test-drive. Before you visit a dealership, it’s a good idea to make an appointment ahead of time to arrange a test drive so the electric vehicle will be ready and waiting for you – and with a full charge.

Here are some thoughts on what to consider… New A brand new electric vehicle has allure that can greatly outweigh the added initial cost. Everything about the car is in perfect working order, and without any wear and tear inflicted on it by a previous owner. A new model can be equipped as the owner prefers and generally offers all the latest features. Today’s battery-driven models can go farther on a charge than their predecessors. A few years ago, it was a big deal for an electric car to approach or even break the 100-mile barrier. Today many electric cars can run for more than 200 miles on a charge, easily. New models are also able to take advantage of DC Fast Charging which can bring a given electric car’s battery pack up to an 80% charge in as little as a half hour. Not all older EVs were equipped to take advantage of Level 3 charging. Some new electric cars are still eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, which effectively cuts the price by that amount. Unfortunately, due at least in part to those generous tax credits, electric cars traditionally suffer a faster-than-average rate of depreciation, which cuts into their resale values down the road. However, longer-range models, are showing more robust resale values. Finally, new electric cars also come with a full warranty. Pre-Owned Electric Vehicles A pre-owned electric car can be a money-saving proposition if it meets your needs and expectations. Pre-owned electric vehicles, particularly older models with shorter operating ranges, can be found selling at rock bottom prices. One potential deal breaker is the fact that many pre-owned electric cars are limited in terms of their operating ranges. These cars could still be sufficient for most daily commutes and around-town use, but may not be able to go the distance without frequent charges. Also, be aware that the batteries in all EVs will gradually lose their ability to hold a full charge over time. This can be a bigger issue with older and shorter-range EVs that may have been driven close to their limits frequently. The downside to buying a pre-owned car of any kind is that it involves an element of risk, with the vast majority sold on an “as is“ basis. If the vehicle is two years old or newer, the remainder of the original warranty should transfer over with the change in ownership.

Here are some pros and cons to leasing.

Leasing Pros Access to latest technology - Leasing may give you access to the best tech that you may not have if you were purchasing. Leasing can help keep you on the cutting edge.

Depreciation - Usually a con, EVs depreciate faster than ICE cars, mostly because EV tax credits reduce their original MSRPs. But lease agreements take this into account, enabling you to benefit from the lower price.

Tax incentives or credit - The leasing company benefits from these credits but may pass this on to the consumer, resulting in lower lease costs.

Leasing Cons Depreciation - You still pay for the car's depreciation, plus all lease fees, taxes, insurance, and interest.

It's never yours - You never actually own the vehicle and have to give it back even after all the money you've put into it.

Expensive exit clause - You cannot terminate the lease early without paying penalties.

Limitations - There are mileage and wear-and-tear limitations and you are not allowed to customize the vehicle if you lease it.

Recommendation: Leasing a vehicle slightly edges out purchasing at this point in time. However, this may change as EV’s gain traction in the marketplace.

Tax credits and incentives are dependent on the type of vehicle you purchase and where you live / purchase your vehicle. To learn more check out Rhythm’s blog.

Learn more about the federal tax credit as well as other incentives for which you may qualify on Rhythm’s blog.

Check out our Electric Vehicle Marketplace to understand EV models and types available. You can even compare electric vehicles!

Power

It is not required that you let your energy provider know you have an EV. However, by contacting them, you may be eligible for EV plans that help you save on charging your vehicle.

An EV typically comes with a standard 120-volt charging cable. One end of the cable fits into a car’s charging port, and the other end plugs into a typical grounded plug like most other electronic items in a home. Charging an electric car via a regular 120-volt outlet is referred to as Level 1 charging. It takes a long time to charge this way, but it may work if you are charging every night while sleeping. With Level 1 charging, the expectation is to add about 3 to 4 miles of range per hour in ideal conditions. So, with a Chevrolet Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) with 53 miles of electric range, it could charge it to full in as little as 13 hours. However, a Tesla Model 3 Long Range would take several days to fully charge to its 330-mile range.

Most EV owners have a Level 2 charger (EVSE) installed in their homes. In some cases, this can be a relatively simple process if your home electric service and your current electrical box can accept a 240-volt outlet. However, in some cases, a more substantial upgrade is required. A 240-volt outlet and a Level 2 charger will assure your electric car charges much faster. For example, the Chevrolet Volt can charge in as little as 2 hours and 15 minutes and it can add up to 44 miles of range per hour to a Tesla Model 3 using a Level 2 charger.

Check out Rhythm’s public charging map to help find an out of home charging station near you!

Many energy retailers, including Rhythm, have retail plans specifically geared towards EV owners. Check out Rhythm’s Drive Plan – it’s made for EV owners.

The cost of charging may vary based on where you live and the type of rate plan you are on. Contact your energy retailer to get more information about how you can best optimize your charging to save on fueling costs. Also check out Rhythm’s Drive plan – it’s made for EV owners.

An electrician can typically install a 240-volt charger or a 240-volt outlet for an electric car.

Keep in mind that upgrades may be necessary, which can cause the cost of installing an EV charger or outlet to vary. It’s always smart to do your homework and get a few estimates.

Stay up to date on all things EV

© 2022 Rhythm Ops, LLC, d/b/a Rhythm, 24 Greenway Plaza Suite 610, Houston, TX 77046. All Rights Reserved. PUCT #10279