You know what I would love? Besides world peace and easy access to education for all children of the world? I would love not to pay so much for gas.
I know: it's a really selfish "want." But every time I pull up to the gas station, my heart breaks a little and my wallet cries - a lot.
So when my friend E told me that she hasn't had to pay for gas at ALL since March of this year, I was stunned.
"Not once," she said.
You see, E drives a Chevy Volt. A gorgeous white pearl electric vehicle (EV). One of the more than 200,000 EVs sold so far in the United States. She charges it up at night, and then it's all filled up and ready to go the next morning.
The Electric Generation
A lot has changed in the world of EVs since I first test drove a Chevy Volt two years ago. A LOT. As more EVs are made, and electric transportation expands beyond just personal cars, the convenience factor is growing. Plus, they are looking better and better all the time. My friend's car is pretty sweet looking, I have to say!
When I test drove my first EV a few years ago, one of my concerns was the number of charging stations in my area. Even two years ago, there weren't many public charging stations in my area. Today, there are SO many charging stations around me -- and we live about 12 miles outside of the downtown area.
In fact, there are more than 8,000 public charging stations in the United States. And, EV owners now have it so easy: you can visit PlugShare.com, plug in your location, and the site will show you the public charging stations, private charging stations (PlugShare members that open up their residential charging units to fellow PlugShare members), and the site also lets you know which charging stations currently aren't in use.
I was able to find charging stations at local grocery and convenience stores (the charging station below is at a nearby Walgreens), restaurants, malls, airports, hotels, and even at wineries!
Many charging stations offer free charging, but others are pay charging stations. Costs vary per station, but the one we went to charged 49-cents per KWH.
Cost savings and convenience
On average, someone with a 40-mile commute would save about $3.60 per day on gas. That adds up! And charging is SO easy now.
We already are used to plugging in technology to charge. Every day, I make sure my laptop, tablet, and cell phone are charged up before I leave the house. It would be the same thing with an EV. Most EV owners, like my friend, plug their cars in at night and let them charge up while they sleep. In my friend's case, she is able to program her vehicle to only charge as soon as the lowest rate kicks in, which is usually around 10pm depending on where you live. How cool is that? I had no idea you could do that! Another great cost-savings convenience.
EVs are pretty powerful vehicles. You actually get great acceleration and powerful torque, with no kickback from gear shifts. Also, because there is no engine, the ride is so quiet. In fact, EVs are so quiet that they come with friendly little horns (as opposed to the startling regular loud horn) to alert kids playing on the street that you are backing out of your driveway. And, there are no exhaust fumes, which is another great benefit.
Check out this video I made showing you just how smooth and quiet the ride is, and how easy it is to charge an EV. Plus, a little about the #EVSelfie contest!
More than just cars
Electric transportation is growing beyond just personal vehicles. Check out just some of the examples of other modes of electric transportation:
- Companies such as Frito-Lay, UPS, and Coca-Cola have added electric trucks to their delivery fleets.
- New York city is piloting an EV taxi program to determine their viability for cabs.
- Electric bicycles allow users to pedal with the assistance of an electric motor when they want to.
- Cities like Denver are introducing electric buses for public transportation.
- Car sharing programs like ZipCar are adding EVs to their fleets. As a newly minted ZipCar Blogger Influencer, I am so excited about this!
Have you noticed how EVs really are everywhere? Snap a photo or take a video of yourself in front of a charging station, an EV, EV sign or even EV bumber sticker, upload it to Twitter or Facebook, hashtag #EVSelfie, and tag @TheElectricGeneration on Facebook and @ElecGen on Twitter, and you could enter to win one of four $250 prizes!
You can visit The Electric Generation website for more information about electric vehicles and about the #EVSelfie contest. Be sure to also like The Electric Generation on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
Good luck to all who enter!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Edison Electric Institute/The Electric Generation. All photos, video, and opinions expressed are my own.