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FAQs About Electric Vehicles

Plug-in versus pump? Clean versus conventional fuel? Electric vehicles,
or EVs, provide an exciting new way to think about transportation.
Here are answers to common questions about electric vehicles.

An electric vehicle (EV) is one that is fully or partially powered by electricity that produces fewer or no tailpipe emissions.

At National Grid, we are committed to supporting clean, efficient transportation options for our customers. There are significant environmental benefits to EVs, and many customers find these new types of vehicles exciting to drive. Some may even see savings on the total cost of vehicle ownership!

The three states in which we operate—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York—have set goals for improving air quality and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. At National Grid, we are doing our part to help increase the adoption rate of electric and other zero-emissions vehicles.

EVs provide a great opportunity for National Grid to advance the Connect21 strategy through 21st-century technologies that help customers take control of their energy use and lessen their impact on the environment.

To date, we have supported electric vehicle adoption by:

  • Installing and managing 150+ public-accessible EV charging stations in MA, RI, and NY, with plans to demonstrate the next generation of faster-charging stations
  • Committing at least 5% of our annual fleet acquisition budget to purchasing plug-in EVs and technologies through a collaboration with the White House and Edison Electric Institute
  • Providing employees access to workplace charging stations and hosting EV “ride and drive” events as a Department of Energy Workplace Charging Partner

EVs mean fewer or no trips to the gas pump, depending on the type of vehicle. They offer cost savings on fuel, and a smoother, quieter ride with stronger acceleration. They also require less maintenance than gasoline-powered vehicles, and can be conveniently charged at home.

Electric vehicles benefit everyone because they produce fewer or no tailpipe emissions, resulting in air quality improvements for you and your community. (Battery electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles produce zero emissions when in electric mode.)

Electric vehicles can be divided into three categories, each of which uses different technologies:

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs): PHEVs are powered by an internal combustion engine that can run on conventional or alternative fuel and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. The vehicle can be plugged into an electric power source to charge the battery. Some PHEVs can travel more than 70 miles on electricity alone, and all can operate solely on gasoline (similar to a conventional hybrid).

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs): These all-electric EVs use a battery to store the electric energy that powers the motor. Owners charge the EV batteries by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source. Compared to the range provided by a conventional tank of gas, BEVs have a shorter range per charge due to the cost of the batteries. For now, only the most expensive vehicles provide more than 200 miles of range per charge. But as technology rapidly improves, longer-range vehicles will become available at prices many more drivers can afford.

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs): Fuel cell electric vehicles are not yet available for widespread use, but automakers are working to bring them to our region. They store hydrogen gas in a tank to create electricity, and are recharged not through plug-in technology, but through refueling with hydrogen.

Find out what kind of electric vehicle may be right for you, and what models are currently available in the market. Or learn more about the benefits of electric vehicles.