According to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Electric Vehicles (EVs) cost less to operate than gas powered cars, are more environmentally friendly and have some performance advantages.
The environmental benefits of EVs are particularly appealing in Clarksville, TN because more than half of the electric power that TVA generates and CDE Lightband sells to customers is carbon free.
There are a few types of EVs available today. These types are often referred to as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs). These types are mainly defined by the kinds of fuel they use and the methods by which they are refueled or recharged.
If you’re interested in buying an EV, you are not alone. Statista predicts steady market gains for EV sales in the future, and there are already significantly more EVs available for purchase today than ever before. As of 2023 there are hundreds of different PEV models available for purchase.
If you purchase a new plug-in electric vehicle or fuel cell vehicle (FCV) in 2023 or later, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500 under Internal Revenue Code Section 30D. To find out if a specific vehicle is eligible for this tax credit you can search for a vehicle using the this fueleconomeny.gov web site. You can also browse a complete list of all eligible vehicles. To qualify, the vehicle must be for personal use, primarily used in the US, and meet certain income thresholds. From April 18, 2023, vehicles must also meet critical mineral and battery component requirements. Qualified vehicles must have a battery capacity of at least 7 kilowatt hours, weigh less than 14,000 pounds, be made by a qualified manufacturer, and undergo final assembly in North America. The vehicle’s MSRP cannot exceed $80,000 for vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks, or $55,000 for other vehicles. To see if a vehicle is eligible, customers can check its weight, battery capacity, final assembly location, and VIN on the window sticker.
You can find more information about available EV models and make comparisons between available EVs and other vehicles using TVA’s EV resources.
These are a few frequently asked questions about electric vehicle ownership:
Question: Will I be able to charge my vehicle reliably and conveniently?
Answer: Yes. EV chargers are widely available and more EV chargers are being installed every day. It’s important to keep in mind that approximately 80% of all EV charging takes place at home, and charging an EV at home can be as simple as plugging it into an existing outlet. The average range of a modern EV is more than 200 miles. According to plugshare.com, there are more than 150,000 public charging stations available in the United States for extended trips, and 46 stations available in Clarksville, TN. You can find an EV charger using plugshare or TVA’s EV resources.
Question: Is it cheaper to charge an EV than to fuel a traditional vehicle?
Answer: Yes. According to the TVA, at a fuel cost of $3.00 per gallon a traditional ICE vehicle that gets 24 miles per gallon costs approximately $1,875 per year to operate. At CDE Lightband’s average 2022 cost per kWh, an EV would only cost $506 per year to operate. You can learn more about the cost of operating an EV and experiment with different scenarios using the calculator below or using the calculator here.
Question: Are EVs better for the environment than traditional ICE vehicles?
Answer: Yes. According to the TVA, a traditional ICE vehicle may generate approximately 11,839 lbs. of CO2 per year, while an EV may cause the generation of 4,162 lbs. of CO2 per year. It is correct to acknowledge that electric utilities generate power from a variety of sources and that electricity is not always 100% carbon free, but electric power, especially in the Tennessee Valley, is significantly more carbon neutral than gasoline and diesel for transportation. You can learn more about the Co2 reductions of EVs using TVA’s EV resources.
If there are emissions from the generation of that electricity, then EVs do in fact have a carbon footprint. There are also considerations that need to be made for the carbon emissions of producing the EV batteries. We will take a closer look at the impacts of electric vehicles, and we will start by looking at some data from the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
There are a number of resources online for estimating the carbon emissions of EVs. Figure 1 shows indirect emissions from EVs specific to the state of Tennessee compared to the emissions of other vehicle types. We can see in Figure 1 that EV emissions depend primarily on the state’s “electricity sources” (the types of resources used in the state to produce electricity). We can also see that EV emissions are estimated to be less than half the emissions of ICEVs in Tennessee. You can examine this more closely and download a PDF copy of the comprehensive report at energy.gov.
An above average percentage of the power generated in Tennessee comes from nuclear and hydro electric resources. This means that EVs charged in Tennessee have smaller carbon footprints than the national average of EVs. We can see this difference by comparing the data in Figure 1 for Tennessee to the national average data.
Of course these are averages. Some ICE vehicles are more efficient than others, and the same is true of EVs. To compare one specific vehicle’s emissions to another’s there’s DoE’s fueleconomy.gov. This resource allows us to see the fuel economy and emissions characteristics of specific vehicles compared side-by-side. One interesting thing to do with this tool is to compare the most efficient ICE vehicles on the market to the least efficient EVs. Even in these worst-case-scenario comparisons, EVs have lower emissions.
It’s also possible to charge an EV using only renewable energy, in which case, none of the above matters and the EV has no charging emissions and an even smaller carbon footprint. If you can’t install rooftop solar, you can purchase green power through TVA’s Green Power Switch program to offset the emissions of your EV.
We can go even further by looking into the additional emissions that may be required to manufacture and EV and it’s battery components. One study found that the total emissions from manufacturing one EV were approximately 32,394 lbs CO2, while the total manufacturing emissions from ICE vehicle productions were 20,220 lbs. CO2. So what does this mean?
Well according to Figure 1, EVs in Tennessee are responsible for 3,305 lbs of CO2 emissions annually and ICE vehicles are responsible for 11,435 lbs. of CO2 emissions annually. So let t = time in years and solve 20,220 + 11,435*t = 32,394 + 3,305t and you get t = 1.497. This demonstrates that after 1.497 years the EV has broken even on it’s increased manufacturing emissions by causing fewer emissions annually and for the rest of it’s life-cycle it reduces global emissions significantly.
You can read the full study about EV production emissions at sciencedirect.com.
Analyses of EV environmental impacts depend heavily on where electric power originates and what ICE vehicle counterparts the EVs are being compared to but it’s clear that, in any case, EVs are the more environmental friendly choice.
If you’re considering purchasing an EV, talk to us. We can help you navigate the resources mentioned in this article, calculate the cost of EV charging and just generally discuss the prospect.