FAQ - Drive Electric Northern Colorado

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FAQ

Below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that you may find helpful as you explore electric vehicles.

Businesses 

Are plug-in electric vehicles a viable option for fleets?
Many fleet owners around the country are finding that plug-in electric vehicles offer advantages, including a lower total cost of ownership and convenience. Many fleet vehicles return to a central depot, which makes charging easy in addition to being cheaper. Drivers have also identified benefits such as reduced (or zero) exhaust emissions and less noise. To learn more about electric vehicle fleets see Fleet Advantages, FleetAnswers.com, and the Electrification Coalition’s Fleet Electrification Roadmap. Also, read Testimonials.

How can I get my business involved?
Many local companies are involved in Drive Electric Northern Colorado. Their participation ranges from joining our team of partners to installing charging stations for public use and/or for their employees to use while at work, and hosting Ride and Drive events. If your employer would like to set up a meeting with our team, please Contact Us.

Potential EV Owners 

What is a battery electric vehicle (BEV)? What is a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV)?
An “electric vehicle” (also called a “plug-in electric vehicle”) is a car that uses power from the electrical grid stored in its battery. These vehicles fall into two primary categories: battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in which all power is stored in an on-board battery, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) which have a down-sized internal combustion engine in addition to the battery.

Does it cost more to operate an electric vehicle than a gasoline-powered one?
Operational and maintenance costs of electric vehicles are significantly lower than their gasoline counterparts because electricity is much cheaper than gasoline. For example, the annual fuel costs for a Ford Focus Electric are approximately $600 per year, while fuel costs for a conventional Ford Focus (gasoline) are $1,800 to $2,150 depending on the model. The U.S. Department of Energy publishes estimates of annual fuel costs for electric vehicles at fueleconomy.gov. For more details, please read Economic Savings and see how much you can save by using the Total Costs of Ownership calculator (which incorporates available tax credits at the federal and state levels).

How and where can I charge an electric vehicle? How long does it take?
For most drivers, charging at home overnight is the most convenient option. Home charging can be accomplished with any standard 120 volt outlet, but for faster charging many electric vehicle owners install 240 volt charging equipment to cut the charging time in half. Charging stations may also be available at workplaces and at public locations. For more information about local charging stations, use our Station Locator, and learn more about the technology in Charging.

Is there a significant environmental benefit to electric vehicles? Will driving one impact my carbon footprint?
Electric vehicles are significantly more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than conventional alternatives. When operating on battery power, electric vehicles do not generate tailpipe emissions, thereby contributing to cleaner air. The greenhouse gas emissions are lower for electric vehicles than conventional gasoline vehicles, even when accounting for the carbon emissions from power generation. To learn more, read Environmental Benefits and calculate the gasoline and emissions savings you could experience by switching to an electric vehicle using the Total Costs of Ownership calculator.

What electric vehicles are currently available? How do I know which one is right for me?
A number of different BEV and PHEV models are already available from various manufacturers, and the numbers, types, and options continues to grow. A full list of available electric vehicles, with driving ranges, charging times, and prices, can be found in the Consumer and Fleet Galleries sections. Information about new vehicles as they come onto the market can be found on the Blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Are electric vehicles as safe as conventional cars?
All electric vehicles available for purchase are held to the same safety standards as conventional gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. Additionally, charging an electric vehicle is as safe as charging your cell phone. For more information, see Maintenance and Safety and speak to your Local Dealerships.

What kinds of tax credits and government incentives are available?
The federal government offers an incentive to purchase an electric vehicle, in the form of a tax credit worth up to $7,500. The State of Colorado also offers a maximum tax credit of $6,000, which varies by vehicle. For full details, visit Tax Credits and Incentives.

How does driving an electric vehicle impact economic and national security?
High and volatile oil and gasoline prices hurt American businesses and families. Helping to maintain global stability and the free flow of oil also strains military resources and is costly to U.S. national security. With 97 percent of the U.S. transportation sector dependent on oil for fuel, plug-in electric vehicles offer a real solution to the economic and national security challenges posed by oil dependence. To learn more, visit Energy Security.

Will the battery still work after several years?
Having only been first introduced by Nissan and General Motors at the end of 2010, plug-in electric vehicles are still relatively new to the marketplace. Manufacturers are offering warranties for plug-in electric vehicles that are much longer than those they offer for conventional vehicles—typically 10 years and 100,000 miles. In addition, hybrids like the Toyota Prius—which use smaller batteries for low-speed travel and added propulsion—have already demonstrated strong battery performance and robustness over more than a decade of use. To learn more about plug-in electric vehicle technology, speak to your Local Dealerships.

What is the resale value of plug-in electric vehicles?
Given the relative newness of plug-in electric vehicles in the automotive marketplace, extensive resale data is not yet available. However, the National Automotive Dealers Association publishes resale estimates for all vehicles, including plug-in electric vehicles. Its estimates for the 2011 Chevy Volt and 2011 Nissan LEAF show two-year depreciation of approximately 30 percent (excluding the value of the federal tax credit), which is generally comparable to conventional vehicles. With low maintenance costs, it is entirely possible that like conventional hybrids, plug-in electric vehicles will be very successful in holding their value over longer ownership periods in comparison to gasoline-powered vehicles. For more information about how plug-in electric vehicles can save you money, use the Total Cost of Ownership calculator and read Economic Savings.

How do I install a charging station in my home?
While electric vehicles can be charged from any standard 120 volt outlet, most owners prefer to install a 240 volt charging station. Licensed electricians can install your purchased charging equipment. Visit charging to learn more and stay up to date with developments on the blog.

Where can I buy an EV?
You can purchase an electric vehicle at any of the following local dealerships: Dellenbach Motors, Tynan’s Nissan Fort Collins, Davidson Gebhardt Chevy, Co’s BMW, Fort Collins Mitsubishi or Tesla Motors Denver.

Potential Volunteers 

What is Drive Electric Northern Colorado/the Electrification Coalition?
Drive Electric Northern Colorado is a groundbreaking initiative to create the nation’s first “deployment community”—a geographic region in which all of the elements needed to make electric vehicle ownership straightforward and successful is implemented simultaneously. This involves a range of aspects, including consumer education/awareness, public-private partnerships, streamlined regulations, and public charging infrastructure.

Drive Electric Northern Colorado is a project of the Electrification Coalition, headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Electrification Coalition is an advocacy group representing companies from the entire value chain of an electrified transportation system, and supports electric vehicles as the optimal way to reduce the nation’s oil dependence and its many associated costs on economic and national security. Also read, About Us.

What are the goals of this initiative?
Quite simply, the goal of this initiative is to make driving an electric vehicle the norm rather than the exception in Northern Colorado. We want to expose residents of Fort Collins and Loveland to plug-in electric vehicles, show them that electric vehicles can be a great option for any driver, and, hopefully, convince them to own one. In the longer term, Drive Electric Northern Colorado hopes to document the specific ways in which this “living laboratory” was successful and create a replicable model for electric vehicle deployment that can help guide similar efforts in other cities and towns across the country.

Why were Fort Collins and Loveland chosen for this project?
Fort Collins and Loveland were chosen for this project after an exhaustive search which considered cities and towns from all over the country. Ultimately, Northern Colorado emerged because of the strong support of plug-in electric vehicles and technology from its local governments and its citizens’ strong interest in environmental stewardship and innovative technologies.

Who is financially supporting this project?
Drive Electric Northern Colorado is a non-profit initiative. It is made possible by generous grants through some of the Electrification Coalition’s member companies. If you would like to make a financial contribution, or learn more about how you can participate, visit Donate and/or Join Us.

How can I get more information?
With specific or additional questions that are not answered somewhere on this website, please Contact Us.

How can I get involved?
There are many ways, large and small, that you can be involved! Visit the Join Us page to find out more.