Electric Vehicles (EVs) use electricity to charge a battery, which then discharges its energy to propel the vehicle. Instead of requiring gasoline fill-ups at a gas station, like a gasoline-powered car, electric vehicles are plugged into electric chargers. The climate impact of your electric car depends on how the electricity that runs it is produced. Even with the electricity source mix today in Massachusetts, and considering the production of materials like batteries, electric vehicles have significantly less climate impact than gas powered cars. As Massachusetts’ electricity generation become lower carbon over time, your electric vehicle will have less climate impact each year.

There are three types of electric vehicles:

Pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs): These run solely on electricity; you charge the battery which propels the car.

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs): Like a BEV, you charge your car’s battery by plugging it in; however, it also has a backup internal combustion engine which you can use if your battery runs out of charge. When the backup engine is in use, your PHEV produces tailpipe emissions.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs): A hybrid EV is not charged by plugging it in. It combines a conventional internal combustion engine with an electric powertrain. Various HEVs utilize efficiency-improving technologies including regenerative brakes or a start-stop system. These features together result in better fuel economy. While HEVs often use less fossil fuels than other gas powered cars, their fuel is still gasoline, not electricity.

You can charge your electric vehicle the following ways:

Level I charging: You can charge your car using a cord plugged into a common 120 volt outlet in your home. A Level I charger typically adds four miles of range for every hour spent charging. Overnight, you can add about 40 miles.

Level II charging: You can buy a Level II charging unit online or at a home improvement store. It needs a 240 volt outlet, which you’ll need an electrician to install. A Level II charging unit adds between 10 and 25 miles of range for each hour of charging. Charging overnight, you can add 100 miles or more.

Level III charging: These stations are increasingly available along major highways. Not all stations will have the appropriate plugs for every kind of charging port, so you must make sure that the station you visit has the correct plug to match up with your vehicle. These stations also vary in terms of how fast they will charge your car, but will generally add around 90 to 200 miles in 30 minutes.

Public charging: Electric vehicle chargers are available at many public parking garages, retail parking lots, supermarkets, and some town centers. Many companies also offer workplace charging in their parking lots.

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