All About Electric Vehicles

Despite how it seems, electric vehicles are nothing new!

In fact some of the ear­li­est cars from the 1890s were pow­ered by elec­tric bat­ter­ies. But it wasn't until the last decade that elec­tric cars real­ly start­ed to become pop­u­lar as more peo­ple dri­ve them, moti­vat­ed by con­cerns about ris­ing pol­lu­tion, volatile gas prices, and a desire for a smoother ride. Cur­rent­ly, dozens of elec­tric vehi­cle options exist and more EV mod­els are hit­ting the mar­ket every day now that every major vehi­cle man­u­fac­tur­er has an EV mod­el in the works. Ready to start dri­ving an EV but not sure where to start? Read our blog post '8 Tips For Start­ing Your Jour­ney to Buy­ing an EV.'

Ready to start driving an EV but not sure where to start? Here are some tips about how to navigate the EV Buying Experience:

Types of Electric Vehicles

Just as there are a vari­ety of tech­nolo­gies avail­able in inter­nal com­bus­tion engine (or ICE) vehi­cles, elec­tric vehi­cles have dif­fer­ent fea­tures that can accom­mo­date the var­i­ous needs of dif­fer­ent dri­vers. A major fea­ture of EVs is that you can plug them in to charge from an elec­tric pow­er source. This dis­tin­guish­es them from hybrid elec­tric vehi­cles, which sup­ple­ment an inter­nal com­bus­tion engine with bat­tery pow­er but can­not be plugged in. EVs mea­sure fuel effi­cien­cy through kilo­watt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles. Kilo­watt-hours are mea­sures of elec­tri­cal ener­gy, and EV users gen­er­al­ly pay less per mile than the dri­vers of gas-pow­ered vehi­cles. There are three basic types of EVs: hybrids (HEV), plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and bat­tery-elec­tric vehi­cles (BEV). BEVs are also known as all-elec­tric vehi­cles (AEV).

hybrid elec­tric vehi­cle (HEV) is a com­bi­na­tion of an elec­tric motor and a tra­di­tion­al inter­nal com­bus­tion engine but does not plug in to an elec­tric out­let. The pri­ma­ry source of pow­er is gaso­line, with the elec­tric motor sup­ple­ment­ing to add fuel effi­cien­cy. These vehi­cles are not a focus of Dri­ve Elec­tric Col­orado and are not includ­ed in any of the cur­rent tax cred­its and incen­tives. Exam­ple: Toy­ota Prius.

plug-in hybrid elec­tric vehi­cle (PHEV) is a com­bi­na­tion of an elec­tric motor and a tra­di­tion­al inter­nal com­bus­tion engine, and the elec­tric motor is the pri­ma­ry source of pow­er. If the bat­tery range is deplet­ed, the ICE will kick in, so you can get to your des­ti­na­tion to charge your bat­tery for your next trip. Some peo­ple pre­fer PHEVs because of this “back up” option that effec­tive­ly negates range anx­i­ety.  PHEVs plug into an elec­tric out­let to get charged, and are includ­ed in most tax cred­its and incen­tives. Exam­ples: Chevy Volt, Toy­ota Prius Prime, Mit­subishi Outlander.

bat­tery elec­tric vehi­cle (BEV) runs on elec­tric motors that get pow­er from a large bat­tery that is charged by plug­ging the vehi­cle into a pow­er source like a wall out­let in your garage, or a pub­lic charg­er. BEVs do not use an inter­nal com­bus­tion engine at all.  Exam­ples: Nis­san LEAF, Chevy Bolt, all Tes­la vehi­cles. In addi­tion to charg­ing from the elec­tri­cal grid, both PHEVs and BEVs are charged in part by regen­er­a­tive brak­ing, which gen­er­ates elec­tric­i­ty by cap­tur­ing the ener­gy that is lost when brak­ing in ICE vehi­cles. Curi­ous about how regen­er­a­tive brak­ing works? Scroll below for a more detailed explanation!

How Do Electric Vehicles Work?

Curi­ous about how an elec­tric vehi­cle works? Check the link on the image on the above for more details about the EV dia­gram and be sure to watch the video below the image for some great insight into what’s going on when you dri­ve an EV.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles



  • Charge overnight at home – leave home every day with a full charge, no more stop­ping at gas stations


  • Low­er main­te­nance costs because there are few­er parts to ser­vice, no oil or oth­er flu­id or belt changes
  • Elec­tric­i­ty is less expen­sive than gas


  • No tailpipe means no harm­ful emis­sions when you drive
  • Reduced expo­sure to ben­zene and oth­er volatile organ­ic com­pounds at gas sta­tions and in your home


  • Instant Peak Torque: Max­i­mum pow­er when you step on the ped­al *Dis­claimer: this pow­er can be dan­ger­ous and dri­vers should be cautious*
  • Regen­er­a­tive braking
  • More respon­sive driving
  • Agile, qui­et ride
Driving Electric in Colorado

Prepar­ing to dri­ve in the win­ter months is impor­tant here in Col­orado. Here’s what to expect and some tips for dri­ving elec­tric vehi­cles in the win­ter. You can also read our blog post, ‘5 Tips for EV Dri­ving in Cold­er Weath­er.’

Extreme cold impacts range 

    • Pas­sen­ger heat­ing requires more ener­gy and there­fore drains the bat­ter­ies – some­times up to 50%!
    • Cold bat­ter­ies have a resis­tance to charg­ing and do not hold a charge as well

Tech­nol­o­gy is improving 

    • Bat­tery heaters pre-con­di­tion your bat­ter­ies to more effi­cient­ly accept and main­tain a charge
    • Your EV has soft­ware that can sched­ule charg­ing com­ple­tion for the time of your depar­ture to warm up the bat­ter­ies right before you drive

Tips for suc­cess­ful EV win­ter driving! 

    • Eco-mode helps with bat­tery conservation
    • Use your seat and steer­ing wheel heaters. Keep­ing the HVAC off will sig­nif­i­cant­ly help con­serve the battery.
Driving Qualities of EVs – Is it different from what you’re used to?

Does dri­ving an EV real­ly feel all that dif­fer­ent from what you are used to with your gas or diesel vehi­cle? Read over the dri­ving qual­i­ties of EVs below to get an idea of what to expect, then go try one for your­self! You deserve the clean experience.

  • EVs have what’s called “instant peak torque” – or max­i­mum speed avail­able imme­di­ate­ly. This is because fos­sil-fueled vehi­cles oper­ate at about 30 per­cent effi­cien­cy, and about 70 per­cent of the ener­gy is eat­en by heat, sound, fric­tion and pol­lu­tants that are destroy­ing our atmos­phere. A vehi­cle pow­ered by an elec­tric motor can oper­ate at about 90 per­cent effi­cien­cy, accord­ing to Fuel Economy’s Vehi­cle Ener­gy Effi­cien­cy report, because of instant pow­er through torque and regen­er­a­tive brak­ing (Vehi­cle Ener­gy Effi­cien­cy, n.d.)*. (Check out this video for a techie descrip­tion of why this is a great fea­ture of EVs.)


  • Elec­tric vehi­cles use “regen­er­a­tive brak­ing” to slow and stop the car. Mov­ing vehi­cles have a lot of kinet­ic ener­gy, and when brakes are applied to slow a vehi­cle, all of that kinet­ic ener­gy has to go some­where. On fos­sil-fueled vehi­cles brakes are sole­ly fric­tion based and the kinet­ic ener­gy of the vehi­cle is wast­ed as heat when a car is decel­er­at­ed. All of that ener­gy is sim­ply lost to the envi­ron­ment as waste heat. Regen­er­a­tive brak­ing (or regen) uses an elec­tric vehicle’s motor as a gen­er­a­tor to con­vert much of the kinet­ic ener­gy lost when decel­er­at­ing back into stored ener­gy in the vehicle’s bat­tery. Then, the next time the car accel­er­ates, it uses much of the ener­gy pre­vi­ous­ly stored from regen­er­a­tive brak­ing instead of tap­ping fur­ther into its own ener­gy reserves. Regen­er­a­tive brak­ing will feel dif­fer­ent than what you’re used to; in fact, you may find you rely much less on the brake ped­al. Many EVs have the capa­bil­i­ty to con­trol the lev­el of regen when you dri­ve to a point that you are com­fort­able with.


  • Dual motor all-wheel dri­ve (AWD) options with advanced trac­tion con­trol are avail­able in many vehi­cle mod­els. The term “dual Motor” refers to the vehi­cle hav­ing two elec­tric motors – usu­al­ly one over each axle – to pro­vide pow­er from the bat­tery to the wheels to move the vehi­cle forward.


  • Many elec­tric vehi­cles – espe­cial­ly those pur­pose built to be elec­tric (not mod­i­fied from pre­vi­ous gaso­line cars mod­els) have the bat­tery pack at bot­tom of the vehi­cle. This increas­es rigid­i­ty of the frame which increas­es safe­ty by mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to roll the vehi­cle and pro­vid­ing a sol­id base. It also cen­tral­izes the weight of the vehi­cle which makes for bet­ter handling.


  • Elec­tric vehi­cles are very qui­et because bat­tery pow­er and elec­tric motors do not have the noise mak­ing exhaust sys­tems like inter­nal com­bus­tion engines do. In fact, elec­tric cars are so qui­et that auto man­u­fac­tur­ers are required to add arti­fi­cial motor sounds to elec­tric cars when trav­el­ing at low speeds to alert pedes­tri­ans. In many cas­es you can choose the sound that you want your car to make!


* n.d. Vehi­cle Ener­gy Effi­cien­cy. [online] Avail­able at: <> [Accessed 8 Feb­ru­ary 2021].



Take the pledge to make your next car electric!