Electric Vehicles on the Road

With an ever increasing number of electric cars on road , here are some key characteristics of EV performance to help consumers better understand these vehicles.

Driving Range

The driving range of an EV that runs solely on batteries varies from about 20 miles to 120 miles. The actual range depends much on driving habits and environmental conditions.

For plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the range varies from 13- 60 miles, depending on battery size.

If the vehicle is not plugged in, the expected driving range is about 300-400 miles.

If the vehicle is plugged in daily, as recommended, it may be possible to drive the vehicle 1000-2000 miles or more between fill-ups.


EVs do not require the tune-ups or oil changes as done with conventional vehicles. Nor, do EVs have timing belts, water pumps, radiators, fuel injectors, or tailpipes to replace.

Before purchasing an EV, consumers should check with the dealer about battery life and warranties and consider the manufacturer’s battery recycling policy too.

In some models, the batteries are designed to last for the expected lifetime of the vehicle.

Safety Requirements

Electric vehicles undergo the same rigorous safety testing as conventional vehicles sold in the United States . It must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

However, the exception is neighborhood electric vehicles, which are subject to less-stringent standards because they are typically limited to roadways specified by state and local regulations.

Safety Considerations

EV operators must keep in mind the quietness of their vehicles and exercise extreme caution when driving through neighborhoods or streets where especially children and old people could be present.

Battery performance diminishes during cold temperatures, making EVs susceptible to a shorter battery life during the winter months. Hence, this should be taken into account when driving in cold climates.

Be sure your vehicle is serviced by a professional who is experienced with working with EVs.

Service professionals at the dealership where the vehicle was purchased are guaranteed to be equipped to service your vehicle.

Danger After Crashes

The high-voltage electricity associated with EVs presents hazards for those involved in car accidents, first responders and firefighters .

The U.S. Fire Administration offers these tips when dealing with crashes involving EVs:

Always assume the vehicle is powered-up despite no engine noises.

Put vehicle in park, turn ignition off, and remove key to disable the high-voltage system.

Consider the electrical system unsafe for a full five minutes after ignition shutdown

Never touch, cut, or open any orange cable or components protected by orange shields.

Remain a safe distance from vehicle if it is on fire.

Information source: EFSI

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