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ElectroGo Facts and Quesstions

We have been hard at work to be sure that we are ready for whichever electric vehicle you buy, no matter how or where you drive. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve encountered on the road to electric transportation.

GENERAL

What is an EV?
How do EVs work?
How is Westar working to integrate EVs?
What is the difference between and ICEV? HEV? PHEV? BEV? EREV?
What are the benefits of EVs?
What types of EVs are available in the U.S?
Who manufactures EVs?
Where can I learn more?

COSTS

How much will EVs cost?
Will Westar offer incentives for purchasing EVs?
Will EVs need regular servicing like internal combustion engines?
What should I look for when purchasing an EV?

CHARGING

How do I charge my EV?
What are my charging options?
What is an EVSE (or charging station)?
How long will an EV's battery last?
Is it safe to charge my car in the rain?
How much does a level two charger cost?
Can Westar install a level two charging unit for me?

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GENERAL

What is an EV?
An electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle that gets some or all of its power from electrical energy. All EVs use electric motors and most store electrical energy in batteries. EV batteries must be replenished by plugging the vehicle in to a power source.
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How do EVs work?
EVs use electrical energy. This electricity can come from a home, business, charging station or any electrical outlet that will support EV charging needs. An EV uses a controller (its electronic brain) to deliver stored electricity to the motor. In most EVs, the controller gets power from a group of rechargeable batteries.
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How is Westar working to integrate EVs?
In October 2009, Westar announced that it supports the Edison Electric Institute's (EEI) readiness pledge. Learn more. Most recently, we added several EVs to our company fleet and are developing charging stations throughout our service territory for our use as well as public use.
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What is the difference between an ICEV? HEV? PHEV? BEV? NEV? EREV?

Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle (ICEV) – ICEVs are your typical vehicle on the road today. They are powered by an internal combustion engine and fueled by gasoline or diesel.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) – HEVs use both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor and operate like a traditional vehicle. They have a range of approximately 500 miles and require no plug in. (Examples: Ford Escape, Honda Insight and Toyota Prius Hybrid)

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) – PHEVs operate like a HEV but use larger batteries to allow for more propulsion from the electric motor than the internal combustion engine. They provide greater efficiency and are required to be recharged from an outside source. PHEVs have a range of approximately 500 miles and require a charge of 4-5 hours. (Example: Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid)

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) – A BEV uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs to power an electric motor. It is powered solely by electricity. BEVs have a range of 80-300 miles and require a charge of 4-10 hours.  (Example: Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi I, Ford Focus Electric and Tesla Model S and Roadster)

Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) – NEVs are a small, low speed BEV that is restricted to posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour (mph) or slower. Typically, they are built to have a top speed of 30 mph. NEVs have a range of 20-40 miles and require a charging time of 2-4 hours. (Example: Pulse and Zapcar)

Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) – These are electric drive train vehicles that rely on an electric motor to provide power to the drive train but also include a gasoline internal combustion engine, serving as an electrical generator. The difference between an EREV and an HEV is that the EREV does not use the gasoline engine to provide mechanical energy to the drive train. EREVs have a range of approximately 450 miles and require a charging time of 3-8 hours. (Example: Chevy Volt)
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What are the benefits of EVs?
EVs generally cost less than gasoline-powered cars to own, operate and maintain. EVs are considered zero-emission vehicles because they produce no exhaust or emissions. EVs run quieter and use our existing, domestic electric infrastructure rather than foreign oil. EVs also can be charged during non-peak electric load times to take advantage of renewable energy resources, such as wind. For additional information from the U.S. Department of Energy, visit this Comparison of Benefits of Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and All-Electric Vehicles.
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What types of EVs are available in the United States?
Several companies, including General Motors and Nissan, have introduced EVs. For a list of available or planned vehicles, visit PlugInAmerica.org/vehicles.
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Who manufactures EVs?
For a list of EV manufacturers, visit PlugInAmerica.org/vehicles.
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Where can I learn more?
As the introduction of EVs grows, we’ll keep you informed here. In addition, select auto manufacturers, the government, and several organizations offer helpful information at the following links:

Manufacturers

Chevrolet Volt
Nissan Leaf
Ford Focus
Ford Transit Connect
Mitsubishi iMiEV
Additional Manufacturers

Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Manufacturers

Aerovironment Home Charging
Blink Network Home Charging Solutions
Coulomb Technologies Charging Stations
GE WattStation™
SPX Solutions

Department of Energy EV Information

Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center/U.S. Department of Energy
Federal Tax Credits for Electric Vehicles/U.S. Department of Energy
Comparison of Benefits of Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and All-Electric Vehicles
Availability of Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and All-Electric Vehicles
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

EV Industry Associations

Plug In America
Electric Drive Transportation Association
EPRI Consumer EV Guide
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COSTS

How much do EVs costs?
The purchase cost of an EV depends on the manufacturer. The cost to operate an EV will vary depending on the vehicle. Many estimates place day-to-day cost to operate an EV at $.03/mile compared to $.10/mile for an internal combustion engine vehicle. A possible income tax credit of up to $7,500 also is available for the purchase of a new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle.
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Will Westar offer incentives for purchasing an EV?
At this time, Westar is not offering incentives for the purchase of an EV. However, a possible income tax credit of up to $7,500 is available for the purchase of a new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle. Westar is also developing pricing plans that would lower the cost to charge an EV during off-peak generation times. These are primarily during the night and will coordinate well with the ability to charge at home overnight.
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Will EVs need regular servicing like internal combustion engines?
Electric vehicles will require servicing, but on a much more limited basis than internal combustion engine vehicles. EVs contain far fewer fluids and moving parts. Expected battery life on EVs is well over 100,000 miles, depending on the vehicle.
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What should I look for when purchasing an EV?
First, determine which type of vehicle meets your typical driving requirements. Then, consult with a dealer or manufacturer on vehicle models and changing options and decide which vehicle and charging option works best for you. Look at Westar’s section on Getting Started.
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CHARGING

How do I charge an EV?
Charging an EV requires plugging it in to an electrical outlet. Most charging will be done at home over night. Public charging infrastructure is being developed and Westar is contributing to this effort by creating additional charging stations in its service territory. Learn more.
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What are my charging options?
Most EVs will charge at home at Level 1 or Level 2, which are explained in more detail below. While Level 1 charging requires no changes, your home's electrical panel and wiring may need to be upgraded to support Level 2 charging. DC Fast Charging is currently only supported by some vehicles but will be available more widely on future EVs.

Level 1 – This level provides AC power to the vehicle's on-board charger, using a common U.S. household 120-volt outlet receptacle. Level one requires a charging time of over 12 hours if the battery is completed depleted.

Level 2 – This level provides AC power to the vehicle's on-board charger, using a 240-volt, single phase outlet. This level likely requires changes be made to your electrical panel, adding a new circuit in your home similar to that used for an air conditioner or electric dryer. Level two requires a charging time of 3-6 hours and is the most commonly recommended charging method.

DC Fast Charging – This level provides DC power from an off-board charger. This option is designed for commercial charging. DC Fast Charging uses up to 600 volts from an off-board DC charger and requires 30 minutes for an 80% charge. This charging method is ideal along highways for long trips.

Learn more about your charging options and Preparing to Own an EV.
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What is an EVSE (or charging station)?
EVSE stands for “electric vehicle supply equipment.” An EVSE - or charging station - connects the on-board EV battery charger to an electrical power source. When the EV battery charger and power source are connected, electrical current flowing from the electric grid is allowed to flow into the vehicle adapter and charge the battery.
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How long will an EV's battery last?
The Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF, Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi I all warranty batteries for 8 years or 100,000 miles.
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Is it safe to charge my car in the rain?
The charger must be rated for outdoor use. All of the charging equipment listed on the Resources page are rated for outdoor use as well as many others. 
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How much does a level two charger cost?
The cost to purchase a level two charger is between from $700 and $6,000. The disparity is based on the type and location of the charger and whether upgrades to the existing electrical panel are required.
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Can Westar install a level two charging unit for me?
No, you will have to contact a licensed electrician for charger installations.
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If you have additional questions, contact us by email at ElectroGo@WestarEnergy.com.