Electric Avenue

April 2022

The market for electric vehicles is charging forward.

Americans have always enjoyed getting out on the open road — whether it’s piling into the car for a family trip, heading to the big game, or hitting the road for a favorite hunting spot. And as technology improves, more and more people are choosing to do it behind the wheel of an electric vehicle.

According to Pew Research, the number of registered electric vehicles in the U.S. tripled from 2016 to 2020. As of last summer, 39% of Americans said they were likely or seriously considering going electric for their next vehicle purchase.

Here in Florida, the number of electric vehicles on the road is expected to double by 2030 and it’s no surprise why. The average Florida driver can save hundreds of dollars a year in fuel costs alone when they make the switch to an electric vehicle.

One of the biggest challenges facing EV drivers is the availability of charging stations, especially in rural areas where drivers typically must drive farther to get to work and other destinations. While Florida has nearly 1,000 charging points across the state, most are concentrated in big cities or along major highways.

EV charging stations and the required supporting electric infrastructure are not cheap. The good news though, is that the recently passed federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act aims to help pay for the costs. The bill sets aside nearly $30 million to cover the installation of EV charging infrastructure in Florida, as well as upgrades to the existing grid, to allow it to handle increased electric usage. One key guideline for the state’s use of these funds emphasizes including rural and underserved areas in planning so that these areas can have equal access to EV charging points. Whenever possible, Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) will work closely with the appropriate state agencies and other Florida cooperatives to plan and obtain funds for EV infrastructure in rural areas like ours.

And, if you’re thinking about making the jump to an electric vehicle, you may find that the information under the “Energy Efficiency” tab on our website’s homepage can help you make that decision. There you’ll find information about pricing for EV models, a savings calculator, special offers, and more.

Which Type of EV Is Right For You?

Not all electric vehicles are the same. As EVs become more popular and the market gets more competitive, there is a growing range of vehicle types for everything from long hauls to short excursions.

Battery Electric Vehicles — Also called “All-Electric Vehicles,” BEVs are fully electric without a gas engine or fuel tank. As such, they are zero-emissions vehicles powered entirely by plugging in to charge an onboard battery pack that can have a range anywhere from 200-400 miles. BEVs also use a process called regenerative braking to convert kinetic and heat energy from using the brakes to recharge the battery on the go.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles — PHEVs have both a gas engine and electric motor. Like BEVs, they have an onboard battery that can be recharged by plugging in and typically have an all-electric range of about 10-50 miles. Once that range has been depleted, the gas engine kicks in.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles — Like PHEVs, HEVs have a gas engine and electric motor but cannot be plugged in for charging. Instead, the battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the gas engine. HEVs are much more fuel-efficient than traditional gas-powered vehicles.

Charging Up

While finding a charger isn’t as simple as finding a gas pump, the availability of rapid charging stations is increasing, especially in cities and along major highways.

There’s an app for that — Free mobile apps like PlugShare and ChargeHub make finding a charging spot on the road simple. With a database of over 140,000 charging stations and more than 300,000 users sharing information about quality and availability, you’ll be back on the road with a full charge in no time.

Shorter waits — One worry for many drivers is that charging an EV will take hours in the middle of a long trip. But if you have an EV with the right equipment, a DC Fast- Charge point can deliver an 80% battery charge in just 20-30 minutes. A quick stop for a bite to eat or to stretch your legs and you’ll be charged and ready to go.

Plan a route — If you have time to plan ahead, the charger finder on SVEC’s website and similar tools from the Department of Energy can help you map out stops along the way. With a little planning, you can conveniently charge up your EV while eating or taking a break for the night.