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What you don’t know can hurt you when it comes to buying an electric vehicle. Whether you’re looking to buy a new or used electric vehicle or hybrid, there are so many factors to take into consideration. Is an EV right for my lifestyle? What’s the difference between an EV, HEV, ZEV, PHEV? Do I need a 200 amp service at home to charge my vehicle? Will an EV really be less expensive? How do I take care of my battery for a longer life?

When looking to make the transition from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle (EV), it seems everyone has an opinion, and everyone is eager to share it. The internet and social media are overrun with advice - both positive reviews and dire warnings - that it’s enough to confuse even the savviest car buyer.

We are here to help! We’ve rounded up our best advice from the professionals at Kia Victoria in our five-part series, Everything You Need to Know About Buying an Electric Vehicle. Starting with PART ONE: KNOW YOUR VEHICLES.

TIP: use our flowchart to find out Which Electric Vehicle is Right for You

Everything You Need to Know About Buying an Electric Vehicle

PART 1: Know Your Vehicles

Choosing the right type of electric vehicle (EV) for your lifestyle is critical. No longer is it as simple as automatic or standard transmission: there are hybrids, PHEVs, and BEVs… and everything in between. Let’s find out what it all means so you can make the right decision for your family, your lifestyle, and your budget.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)

 

What exactly is a hybrid anyway? Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) are powered by both gasoline and electricity. The electric energy is generated by regenerative braking, a process where the electric motor helps to slow the vehicle and uses some of the energy normally converted to heat by the brakes to recharge the battery.

HEVs use the electric motor to assist the gasoline engine to increase fuel economy and range. A hybrid essentially just makes the vehicle more fuel-efficient, with the long-range, maintenance, and oil-changes that you're used to, but with fewer trips to the pump annually.

HEVs are a great choice. They’re ideal for drivers who do not have regular access to a charging station, such people who live in older condos and apartment buildings that do not have a charging station installed, or those with on-street parking only.

DID YOU KNOW: the 2017 Niro received a Guinness World Record title for the lowest fuel consumption driving across the USA from coast to coast (hybrid car). The new record-setting mark is an incredible 32.57 km/litre (76.6 mpg).

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

 

Like HEVs, Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are also powered by both gasoline and electricity. The main difference is that a PHEV will drive powered by electricity alone for a set distance before the gas engine turns on. This can happen because, in addition to regenerative braking, the larger battery is recharged by plugging into an external electricity source.

It's like two cars in one!

When you start a PHEV, it will start powered only by electricity, and the gasoline-powered engine will come on only once either range or capacity is reached. A typical electric-only range of a PHEV is around 45 km, more than enough for most commutes and errands in and around the city, leaving the gasoline engine for long road trips.

Essentially, PHEVs ride the line between HEVs and battery-only EVs. PHEVs provide the same flexibility and range of a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle, but with added cost savings, increased range on a single tank, and a smaller environmental footprint. They are ideal for those who need flexibility: drivers who want an electric vehicle for most of their day-to-day commuting and errands, but also a vehicle that can take them on extended long road trips. They are also ideal for drivers who only have intermittent use of a charging station, such as people who live in older condos or apartments without a charging station installed, but can charge at work, for example.

TIP:  Most PHEVs are eligible for up to $4,000 in rebates and can save the average driver about $2000 per year in fuel costs. Electric range usually starts around 35 km, with a gasoline range in the 900 km ballpark.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV or EV)

 

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs or EVs) are fully electric vehicles with high-capacity rechargeable batteries and no gasoline engine. They are charged by plugging into an external electricity source, and by regenerative braking. EVs do not emit any harmful emissions caused by traditional gasoline-powered engines making them zero-emission vehicles (ZEV).

Typically, an EV is charged as needed, regularly but not constantly. The onboard computer will countdown the battery life, similar to a gas gauge in a traditional car. When the gauge is below a certain point, instead of heading to the gas station, you head to an EV charging station. Which would be in the comfort of your own driveway.

EVs are the ideal choice for someone wishing to significantly lower their environmental footprint. With a range upwards of 350 km, they are swiftly becoming a great all-around vehicle that can meet the needs of most drivers.

TIP: Most EVs are eligible for up to $8,000 in rebates and can save the average driver about $2500 per year in fuel costs. Non-luxury-brand EVs have an all-electric range anywhere from 150 km up to 400 km.

 

We hope this article was helpful in starting your EV journey. Stay tuned for PART TWO: Charging and Charging Stations for everything you need to know about how to charge your EV, from ways to charge, to types of charging stations.

 

TIP: Calculate your needed range based on your regular weekly routine, not on infrequent once-per-year high-mileage scenarios like holidays. Rentals are a great solution for annual ski-vacations or summer road trips.

Check out our Green Vehicles inventory! A list of available new and used hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles. Or book a test drive today!

 

Want to skip ahead?

PART TWO: CHARGING AND CHARGERS

PART THREE: BATTERIES

PART FOUR: COST SAVINGS AND CARBON FOOTPRINT

PART FIVE: BUYING A USED EV