MADISON, Wis. – As technology improves, and gas prices continue to inch upward, some people are considering buying an electric vehicle. There are now 40 vehicles on the market with various degrees of electric driving.
PHEVs, or plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, can run on all electric power for a certain number of miles, usually under 75, before a gasoline engine takes over. So in theory, they have unlimited range as long as you keep filling up the gas tank.
EVs, or electric vehicles, are totally electric. Battery power only. When the juice runs out, you stop moving forward. Five manufacturers sell new EVs in Wisconsin from Telsa to Jaguar to BMW, plus the more affordable Chevy Bolt and the redesigned Nissan Leaf.
News Three auto expert, Harvey Briggs says there are really three key issues with electric cars right now.
“It’s range, how far you can go on a charge. It’s charge time, how long it takes you to recharge that battery and the final one is cost because batteries are still very expensive,” says Briggs.
A top-of-the-line 2018 Leaf is $38,500, but there are thousands of dollars in tax breaks available to EV buyers. The cost doesn’t matter much, if the car isn’t praticle. With ranges from about 110 miles per charge up to 330 miles on a top of the line Tesla, you have to plan ahead, or charge on the go.
Madison Gas & Electric maintains 29 public charging stations in the Madison area. There are 50 in all including some fast charge stations that can recharge your car in about a half an hour. The company also runs a “Charge at Home” program. It will install a 240 volt recharging station in your garage.
“We install it, we own it and we maintain it, so for customers, if they’re like what do I need to do, or how much does it cost, this is a way for us to manage the whole process from start to finish, then they pay about $20 a month and they also pay the cost of the electricity,” according to Debbie Branson, the voice behind MG&E’s EV Rider program.
With an off peak charge of 10 cents an hour for electricity, it’ll cost you about $2 a charge, 50 percent cheaper than gas right now which is appealing to a lot of people.