Five Facts on Electric Cars

Quiz Yourself on the Basics of Electric Vehicles

2008 Lexus LS 600h L hybrid car - 2008 Lexus LS 600h L electric mode
In all electric mode, with the engine turned off, the 5000 lb. Lexus tools along on its impressive 165 kW (221 hp) electric drive motor. And know this, it's not struggling a bit. © Adrian Gable

How much do you know about electric cars? Check out these five quick facts:

Batteries can go dead just like gas tanks can go empty.

This fact has resulted in much range anxiety among prospective electric car buyers and in fact, has also contributed to the popularity of hybrid cars. But just like other batteries, car batteries can be recharged. It is generally recommended that electric cars be plugged in overnight for a full charge, but charging stations are beginning to be put into place that would allow an electric car to become charged in as few as 20 minutes, though there is concern the "quick charge" doesn't last as long as an overnight charge.

Owning an electric car doesn't mean you must own a second car unless you frequently need to travel long distances.

Hybrid electric cars, because they can go unlimited distances by relying on an onboard gas combustion engine, can be an alternative if that's the case. Range of electric cars can vary and is affected by things like weight and driving habits.

Electric cars tend to be smaller than conventional cars.

However, they are equally as safe as gas-powered cars of the same class. The reason many cars are small is due to the low energy density of batteries and the tie in between weight and range.

Electric cars can be pricier than their conventional counterparts.

While the price of an EV is set by market forces, and some have argued that electric cars should be priced lower than conventional because on an equivalent production basis, they are cheaper to build with fewer parts. Electric cars can also be cheaper to maintain for the same reason, though they do require the purchase of a replacement battery about every 4 to 5 years.

Electric cars have multiple benefits.

They provide a quieter ride with less air pollution. They are also less costly to operate, something to keep in mind if your favorite electric car falls slightly out of your budget range. Electric cars should be more reliable since they have fewer parts. And while the idea of an electric car may seem knew, in reality, they have been around for nearly 150 years.