Get Plugged In: Four things to know about electric cars

As the auto industry ramps up its renewable efforts, electric vehicles are quickly becoming more popular—and more affordable. But what does that mean for your personal energy usage? Here are four things to know when deciding whether an electric vehicle is right for you.

1. The most energy-efficient way to recharge your vehicle is also the most convenient.

Most people charge their electric vehicles at home in their garage, overnight. Electric costs are lower, and with the lights and electronics off and everyone asleep, it’s also when you’re using the least amount of electricity.

2. Alternative fueling stations are more prominent than ever.

In the past, the relative lack of alternative fueling stations—that is, public spaces equipped with electric vehicle chargers—made the idea of purchasing an electric car prohibitive and inconvenient for those who often drive long distances. But there are now more than 26,000 public charging stations across the U.S., and you can use the Department of Energy’s handy fueling station locator to plan your trip and assure that you always know where you’ll be charging next.

3. The electric batteries are getting cheaper.

Like the electric vehicle as a whole, the battery is quickly becoming more affordable. According to the Department of Energy, before 2009, a 100-mile range electric battery cost $33,000. Today, prices still vary greatly, but some 40kw replacement batteries for certain EV models run as low as $5,499 before installation costs, and battery prices continue to fall across the industry as manufacturing costs drop.

4. Electric vehicles emit zero tailpipe pollutants.

This might sound obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing: When you switch to an electric vehicle, you put an immediate stop to the carbon emissions and pollutants that come from traditional cars—with almost no effort.

Learn more about electric vehicles by visiting the Department of Energy’s website.