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Three types of vehicles are powered by electricity: electric vehicles (EV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), and plug-in-electric vehicles (PHEV). These vehicles offset petroleum usage and cost less to refuel per mile than conventional vehicles.
Electric Vehicles (EVs) are propelled by a battery-powered motor, and the battery is charged by plugging the vehicle into the electric grid either at home or at a public charging station. EVs do not have an internal combustion engine and therefore do not use petroleum.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) are powered by conventional or alternative fuels as well as electric power stored in a battery. The battery is charged through regenerative braking and the internal combustion engine. In other words, the battery captures energy normally lost during breaking by using the electric motor as a generator. Unlike EVs and PHEVs, HEVs are not plugged in to charge. Because HEVS use both electricity and petroleum, this car is a good option for driving long distances.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) are powered by conventional or alternative fuels as well as electric power stored in a battery. The battery can be charged by plugging it into an outside power source, by the internal combustion engine, or by regenerative breaking. Unlike HEVs, which still depend on petroleum, it is possible for PHEVs to run on only electricity when fully charged. Because PHEVs can run off petroleum or electricity, they are a good option for driving long distances if you are uncertain about charging station availability.
Side-by-Side Comparison: To learn more about each vehicle type, view the Department of Energy's side-by-side comparison of their fuel economy and fuel cost savings.
Public charging station locations: Indiana has fifty-six public charging stations. Click here to view charging station locations, hours, and type of charging equipment. Be sure to call in advance to make sure the charging equipment is currently available.
Home charging stations: Once a charging station is installed in your home, charging your EV or PHEV is as simple as plugging it into an electric outlet. PHEVs have relatively small batteries, which recharge in shorter times and can use a regular 120 volt outlet. Depending on the vehicle type, Level 1 charging can take 8-12 hours, which is perfect for overnight charging. Full battery EVs have larger batteries, so a Level 2, 240-volt circuit charging station will be more suitable. Level 2 charging takes 4-8 hours.
Electricity costs vary across the U.S. depending on location, type of generation, and time of use. For average U.S. electricity prices, see the Energy Information Administration's Residential Electricity Prices: A Consumer's Guide.
Tax credits for charging equipment: Consumers who purchase qualified residential charging equipment prior to December 31, 2013 may receive a federal tax credit of up to $1,000. Businesses and investors who purchased charging equipment may receive a federal tax credit of 30% of the equipment and installation cost, up to $30,000. If you installed a charging station in 2012, you have until April 15 to prepare and file your income tax return for 2012. Learn more about the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property credit here.
Utility incentives for charging equipment: If you are a NIPSCO customer and own or are considering purchasing an EV, you may be eligible to receive a credit of up to $1,650 for the installation of a residential electric vehicle Level 2 charger. Along with this charging stations, you would receive free charging between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily. Learn more here.
Tax credits for new EVs and PHEVs: The Qualified Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit provides a $2,500 federal tax credit for vehicles with batteries of at least 4 kWh and $417 for each extra kWh. The maximum tax credit is $7,500. The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid qualifies for $2,500, and the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit. Click on the following links to see the tax credit amounts for PHEVs and EVs. This incentive applies only to the first 200,000 cars sold for any given company, and the credit will be slowly phased out after that. This credit also applies only to new cars, so make sure the car dealership has not already registered the car in its own name. You can learn more about the tax credit here.
To claim your federal tax credit, complete the 8834 tax form titled "Qualified Plug-in Electric and Electric Vehicle Credit. Then report that you have claimed a credit on your "U.S. Individual Income Tax Return" 1040 tax form. Businesses should fill out the 3800 form titled "General Business Credit" and fill out Section B of the 8834 form. Finally, the tax credit only applies to your tax liability - if you have a tax liability of less than $2,500, then you will not receive the full credit. These forms can be obtained from www.irs.gov.
Is your community ready for increased use of electric vehicles? Community leaders and planners can assess their community's EV readiness by using this tool from the Federal Department of Energy. After assessing your community's current EV readiness, the tool provides tips and sucess stories for areas where your community could use improvement.