Electric vehicles are more efficient than gasoline cars in terms of energy conversion. They convert more than 77% of electrical energy from the grid into wheeled energy, while conventional gasoline vehicles only convert 12 to 30% of the energy stored in gasoline into energy in wheels. This makes electric cars a more cost-effective option, as they can dramatically reduce fuel costs. Miles per gallon gas equivalent (MPGe) and kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles are common metrics used to measure the fuel economy of electric vehicles.
Depending on how they are driven, today's light-duty all-electric vehicles (or PHEVs in electric mode) can exceed 130 miles per gallon and travel 100 miles consuming only 25 to 40 kWh. Electric motors reach their maximum torque at 0 rpm, making their acceleration seem more instantaneous at low speeds than those that run on gasoline. Electric vehicles tend to be faster than gasoline-powered cars, but they usually have lower top speeds. Some studies have shown that manufacturing a typical electric vehicle can generate more carbon pollution than manufacturing a gasoline-powered car due to the additional energy required to manufacture an electric vehicle battery.
However, over the life of the vehicle, the total GHG emissions associated with manufacturing, charging and driving an electric vehicle are generally lower than the total GHG emissions associated with a gasoline car. Fully electric vehicles and PHEVs have the advantage of flexible charging because the power grid is close to most places where people park. The qualifying federal tax credit for motor vehicles with a plug-in electric drive is available for the purchase of electric vehicles from manufacturers that have not yet met certain vehicle sales thresholds. Electric cars generally lag behind in terms of range, but they have made great strides in terms of range and charging in recent years.
The lifecycle emissions of an electric vehicle depend on the source of electricity used to charge it, which varies by region. If electric vehicles had a shorter lifespan than gasoline vehicles, that would hurt their numbers, since they would have fewer miles on the road with low emissions to compensate for the carbon-intensive manufacturing of their batteries. Electricity prices vary depending on whether you charge at home or at public charging stations. When people refer to electric vehicles, they are usually referring to battery electric vehicles (BEV). According to estimates, although GHG emissions from the manufacture of electric vehicles and the end of their useful life are higher, the total GHG emissions of electric vehicles are still lower than those of gasoline cars.
BEVs use a large battery pack that supplies power to an electric motor (or several motors) to power the vehicle.