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Electric Vehicles

At Egyptian Electric Cooperative (EECA), we want to be your source of power and information. Since electric vehicles are rapidly growing in popularity, we have put together this information to help answer any questions you might have.

What are electric vehicles (EVs)?

We are most familiar with conventional combustion-engine vehicles, but the market is changing. It can be hard to keep up with the latest technologies, models, and terminology. For simplicity, vehicles can be sorted into two categories – combustion engine and electric vehicles.

Conventional vehicles have an internal combustion engine (ICE), with the most common fuels being gasoline and diesel. Electric Vehicles are vehicles that run on electricity. Although all electric vehicles are not always synonymous with an electric vehicle. Hybrid electric vehicles still have an internal combustion engine and an electric drivetrain. Here is a short breakdown of the four main types of electric vehicles:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs or EVs) are pure-electric vehicles, powered solely by one or more electric batteries. They have much longer electric ranges than Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Both PHEVs and BEVs fall under the “EV” umbrella, but the BEV is the only all-electric option, with no alternative standby fuel source or combustion engine.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are an extended form of hybrid electric vehicles that are plugged in to recharge the battery. They have a larger battery pack that can power the vehicle on electricity for a distance as an EV. PHEVs vary in their electric range and operate on battery until the battery charge is depleted, then run as a regular hybrid electric vehicle – using both gas and electricity to power the wheels.
  • Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are currently the most popular where both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor with battery pack(s) work together to power the wheels. The electric motor and battery are designed to improve fuel economy – yielding better mileage and utilizing less gasoline. The battery is charged solely while operating the vehicle; it is not possible to otherwise charge or avoid liquid fuel.
  • (Hydrogen) Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) use hydrogen gas to generate electricity for the motor. Today, FCEVs are the rarest breed of electric car due to the complex nature of fuel cell powertrain and the severe lack of refueling stations (predominately available in CA). Rather than drawing power from an energy grid like a plug-in hybrid or battery electric car, a fuel-cell vehicle converts gaseous hydrogen into electricity by using an on-board fuel cell.

Photo of types of EVs

Why Go Electric?

Huge leaps have been made in battery technology, enabling electric vehicles to go further, and become more affordable and more efficient. Electric vehicles (EVs) are not a new technology — they have been around for over a century. In the 1890s, electric cars were more popular than gas-powered cars because of their simplicity, reliability, and low cost to operate. For a variety of reasons, EVs disappeared for much of the 20th century, but they are on the rise once again. Most models now have driving ranges of over 200 miles with faster charging and lower prices.

Electric vehicles offer a compelling combination of cost savings, convenience, environmental benefits, and driving enjoyment. Choosing an EV not only benefits individuals but also contributes to a more sustainable and cleaner future for everyone.

At EECA, we are proudly taking part in the EV movement. In 2020, we purchased our first EV – a Chevrolet Bolt. In 2023, we purchased two Ford F150 Lightning pickups and will continue to move to electrify our fleet.

When you choose an all-electric vehicle (BEVs or EVs), they offer numerous advantages for consumers and the environment. Here are our top subjects to consider:

    1. Improved Range:
      • Many EV models now boast driving ranges exceeding 200+ miles. Despite continued progress in driving range, battery technology and charging station availability, a primary concern among prospective EV owners remains range anxiety, or the fear of getting stranded after running out of a charge.
      • Today’s EVs feature advanced battery design that makes them more efficient, with enough power to take you to work and back again. Your car spends 90% of its time parked, and since you can recharge your battery, its far more practical than ever before.
    1. Affordability:
      • Faster charging infrastructure and lower prices make EVs easier to acquire. As technology has advanced, EVs have become far more affordable and are now within the reach of most American families. With an operating cost that can be as little as 25-30% of that of a gas-powered vehicle.
      • Did you know that when you purchase a new electric vehicle, you could be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500? To learn more about this tax credit and other incentives that you may be eligible for, visit here for federal incentives and here for State of Illinois incentives.
    1. Operating Savings:
      • Despite slightly higher upfront costs in many cases, EVs are cheaper to operate due to lower electricity costs per mile traveled. Instead of paying at the pump, you can charge at home or at any public charging station. While an efficient gas-powered vehicle can run for about 10-15 cents per mile, the average electric vehicle can run for 3-5 cents per mile when charged at home.

The EECA Chevy Bolt is charged at our office using our rates. With today’s rates, it costs us $0.033/mile to operate the Bolt. Utilizing regular unleaded gasoline prices from a gas station in close proximity to our office on January 1, 2024, we will use $3.18/gallon. For comparison purposes only, a Chevy Malibu that would hold 15.8 gallons of fuel at a combined fuel economy average of 30 mpg, would cost on average $0.105/mile. Pennies per mile add up to big savings over the lifetime of the vehicle!

      • EVs have fewer parts than gas-powered cars, meaning fewer things to repair. Say goodbye to scheduling those regular oil changes! When you drive a fully electric vehicle, there’s no need for oil changes, fuel filters, new spark plugs, yearly emissions tests, and other costly maintenance.
    1. Convenience:
      • Charging at home overnight ensures a fully charged battery every morning. The ability to charge at home is one of the biggest advantages of being an EV owner.
      • The growing network of fast chargers allows for longer trips away from home. EECA is doing what we can to be an integral part of reinforcing this network in our part of Southern Illinois.
    1. Environmental & Sustainability Benefits:
      • Fully electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, offering better air quality than gasoline cars. Hybrid electric vehicles also have significantly reduced emissions compared to their combustion engine counterparts. As a bonus, electric motors provide instant torque for quick acceleration and an enjoyable driving experience.
      • EVs get their power from electricity supplied by the grid, and they use battery energy for all power needs. As renewable energy sources like solar and wind power expand, EVs become even cleaner.
      • Advances in battery recycling enable the recovery of up to 95% of battery materials.

 

Is an EV Right for you? Things to consider when looking to purchase an all-electric vehicle.

Since making a vehicle purchase decision isn’t an easy task, try this checklist to help you think through important items to consider if you’re planning to go electric. We think you’ll find that an EV can be a great fit for almost any lifestyle.

> Daily driving distance

How many miles do I typically drive each day? Consider commuting miles, errands, and any other trips you make daily. About 90% of consumers drive 80 miles or less per day. With electric vehicles ranges spanning 100 to 300+ miles on a single charge, an EV can handle the daily demands of most commuters.

Also note, outside temperatures, particularly colder weather, can impact the range of an EV. Unlike a gas-powered vehicle, where the heat is mostly coming from the engine, an EV must produce cabin heat (or air) and manage an optimal battery temperature with energy that comes from the battery, which can reduce battery range.

> Number of passengers

How many people are in your family? Most electric vehicles on the market are compact cars or sedans with 5-capacity seating. However, there are a few models on the market that can seat seven, with more models being developed. If you have a large family and are concerned about seating capacity, something else you can consider is how often the whole family rides in the same car at the same time. If full family trips aren’t a daily occurrence, an EV could still work for you, especially if you have another family car to use for family trips.

> Carrying capacity

How much stuff do you typically carry around with you in your car? Most electric vehicles have standard size trunks, perfect for your weekly grocery run. Some EVs have rear seats that lay down to create extra room for storage. There are some things some EVs cannot handle due to their size, like towing a trailer, but these powerful cars can definitely handle that trunk full of luggage on your way to the airport.

> Price range

How much would you like to spend on your next car? After federal tax credits and other available incentives, EVs start in the low $20,000 range, and competing with many other cars on the market.

> Proximity to charging

Where do you usually park your car? Vehicles spend 75% of their time parked at home, 20% parked at work or out in the community, and only 5% driving from place to place. With all the time that your car spends parked, recharging is easy!

 

Things to know about EV Charging

Charge at Home: If you have power in your garage, you can charge your EV at home by level 1 or level 2 charging. Charging your EV is just as safe as using other large appliances.

    • Level 1 charger – Most electric vehicles come with a level 1 charger. These chargers plug into standard 120-volt wall outlets. If you plug in your EV when the battery is empty, it can take about 20-40 hours to fully charge (approximately 3-5 miles of travel per hour of charge).
    • Level 2 charger – These chargers do not typically come with the cars, but most EVs are level 2 charger compatible. Most level 2 chargers plug into 240-volt outlets — the same type of outlets dryers and ranges plug into. A level 2 charger will charge an EV in about 6 to 12 hours (approximately 10 to 20 miles of travel per hour) and can be installed for residential use. If you do not already have a 240-volt outlet in your garage, a licensed contractor can install one for you. Installation costs will vary from house to house based on the electrical wiring and charging device selected.

Should you decide to install a level 2 charger, EECA should be contacted to verify the service at your home is adequate to serve the charger being used. Adding a large charger may require service upgrades.  Service upgrades may include changing the transformer and service entry conductor to your home/garage.  If the service is not properly sized to the charger, an outage could occur due to overcurrent equipment failure as well as well as fire potential in the service panel if not properly sized.

Charge at Charging Stations: There are also charging stations that provide fast charging for your EV for a small fee, like gas stations for electric vehicles. You can drive from coast to coast now, and apps like ChargeHub and PlugShare can help you plan your route to find charging stations along the way. Level 2 and Level 3 charging are most common at charging stations. EECA has begun to publicly install ChargePoint Level 2 chargers – 22 at Walker’s Bluff Casino and one (1) in front of our office, at 1732 Finney Road, north of Murphysboro. Through ChargePoint you can pay through the app and find charging locations.

    • Level 3 or DC fast chargers – DC fast chargers are currently the fastest chargers on the market and only available in a commercial environment. However, this type of charging is not well-suited for home installation due to the high cost and voltage requirement. In addition, not all EVs are DC fast charger compatible. If your car is compatible and you charge at a DC fast charger in the community, you can expect it to completely recharge an empty battery in 15 minutes to an hour. DC fast chargers are causing concern to the utility industry due to the instant demand it places on the grid.

EV ownership continues to rise at a record pace. If you are interested in going electric but are still not ready — whether because of a longer commute or frequent road trips — you can consider a hybrid or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. 

To get a feel for what to expect with an EV, explore opportunities to take a test drive through a local EV club or at a ride-and-drive event. Search for a nearby chapter of the Electric Vehicle Association, North America’s leading volunteer organization that accelerates the adoption of EVs and look for meetups through National Drive Electric Week. Above is our Chevy Bolt charging at Walker’s Bluff Casino. Ask us how you can test drive EECA’s Chevy Bolt at info@eeca.coop!

Let us know if you purchase an EV so we can serve you better. As more EECA members purchase EVs, it’s helpful to know where they’re located in our area so we can ensure we have the necessary infrastructure in place to meet charging needs and provide reliable power to our local homes and businesses.

We understand making the switch to an EV is a big decision. Whether you’re ready to make an EV purchase or wondering if an EV can meet your daily driving needs, we’re here to help you make an informed decision. Give us a call at 800-606-1505 or contact us at info@eeca.coop.

Charging Resources