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EV 101

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Types of EVs

Illustration depicting a car with a battery, but no gas tank.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)

  • Equipped with an electric motor and a large battery fueled exclusively by plugging into the electric grid.
  • Emission-free range of 100 or more “electric” miles on average. Many electric vehicles now have ranges of up to 200–300 miles per charge.
  • Pros: Larger batteries than PHEVs mean longer electric range with zero emission. BEVs may also have lower maintenance costs compared to PHEVs and conventional gas-fueled vehicles because of their electric motor.
  • Cons: BEVs can accommodate most roundtrips to work and travel around your city, but you will likely need access to charging on longer trips. However, more EV public infrastructure is being installed daily.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

  • Equipped with an electric motor and battery with an emission-free range of 10 to 70 “electric” miles. Many PHEVs can accommodate an average round-trip commute to work without using gas.
  • Also equipped with an internal combustion engine that provides additional range fueled by gas.
  • Pros: Flexibility, particularly on long drives. If you fully discharge your battery while on the road, the combustion engine takes over. If you’re not ready to go BEV, PHEVs may be a good choice.
  • Cons: Shorter electric ranges than other EVs. When using gas, your vehicle will cause emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Also, having the internal combustion engine may result in more maintenance costs compared to a BEV.
Illustration depicting a car with a battery and a gas tank.

Understanding the Types of EV Charging

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Level 1

Charging at Level 1 means plugging a cord set (including a J1772 connector), usually provided with the EV, into a standard 120-volt power outlet. At workplaces or public parking, you may also find Level 1 charging stations.

  • 2-5 miles of range per 1 hour of charging (120V/1.6 kW)
  • Pros: Low cost charging option, may provide a full charge overnight for drivers with an average commute to work. No professional installations or upgrades required.
  • Cons: Most BEVs will require longer than a night of charging if their battery is drained.


  • Single Family Homes
  • Multi-Unit Residential
  • Condos

Level 2

Level 2 charging stations can be used for both residential and commercial applications. Charging at Level 2 requires a charging station with a J1772 connector connected to a 240-volt circuit.

  • 10 to 25 miles of range per 1 hour of charging (240V/3.3 kW to 19.2 kW)
  • Pros: Faster charging than Level 1, typically 2 to 4 hours for a full charge with a rate of up to 25 miles per hour.
  • Cons: Level 2 charging stations require professional installation of a 240V circuit. You may also need to upgrade your existing electrical panel.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging (DCFC) is primarily available at commercial premises and publicly accessible parking lots and plazas. Many heavy-duty EVs, such as electric buses, require DCFCs. For light-duty EVs, DCFCs usually provide an 80% battery charge in 30 minutes or less.

  • 60 to 80 miles of range per 20 minutes of charging (480V/50kW or more)
  • Pros: Fastest charging option available. DCFC is ideal to charge your EV quickly while on the go or for longer road trips.
  • Cons: Some EVs may not have a DC fast charging compatible port. Higher deployment and electricity costs than Level 2 charging.

Calculate Your EV Cost Savings

EVs provide significant fuel savings compared to conventional vehicles. It costs about half as much to charge an EV compared to a gas fueled vehicle. EVs also have lower operating costs, especially battery electric vehicles, which do not require oil changes or exhaust system maintenance. Visit DriveClean (California Air Resources Board) and access tools and calculators to find out how much you can save by going EV.