Essential Plugins 101 Articles

By Brad Berman ·
January 09, 2014

What Is An Electric Car?

An electric car is powered by an electric motor instead of a gasoline engine. The electric motor gets energy from a controller, which regulates the amount of power—based on the driver’s use of an accelerator pedal. The electric car (also known as electric vehicle or EV) uses energy stored in its rechargeable batteries, which are recharged by common household electricity.

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By Brad Berman ·
November 12, 2013

A Quick Guide to Plug-in Hybrids

A plug-in hybrid car is similar to a conventional hybrid vehicle—both use a gasoline engine as well as an electric motor. However, a plug-in hybrid uses larger battery packs that can be recharged by connecting to common household electricity. Plug-in hybrids can be driven for long distances—from a few miles to as much as 40 miles—without using any gasoline.

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By Brad Berman ·
October 24, 2013

Electric Cars Pros and Cons

Like almost anything in life, electric cars have their pros and cons. You can expect a site like PluginCars.com to generally promote EVs as having, on balance, a lot more benefits than shortcomings—but that doesn’t mean we can’t offer an honest assessment of the pros and cons of cars that use electricity rather than petroleum. Here it is, short and sweet.

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By Brad Berman ·
June 10, 2013

Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car

Shop around. Consider the incentives. Have faith in the battery. And four other essential things to consider when buying a plug-in vehicle.

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By Brad Berman ·
April 02, 2014

Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars

We're doing our best to track the growing list of federal and state-based incentives for purchasing an electric car or plug-in hybrid. See how much you can save to get behind the wheel of an electric-drive plug-in vehicle.

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By Brad Berman ·
March 06, 2014

The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks

A comprehensive guide to the top electric vehicle charging networks (with info about access and costs), as well as background information and high-level recommendations.

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By Brad Berman ·
January 13, 2014

Quick Guide to Buying Your First Home EV Charger

It’s slightly misleading to say we’re providing guidance about chargers, because we’re really talking about buying an EVSE—which is essentially no more than an electrical device allowing drivers to safely connect an electric car to a 240-volt source of electricity. It’s not rocket science, and you should not overthink the selection and installation of an EVSE. That said, there are important differences to consider.

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By Brad Berman ·
September 02, 2011

Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules

One key advantage of driving an electric car is that it’s much cheaper to fuel than a gas-powered vehicle. It's a sure thing—that is, if an EV owner has done the necessary research about rate plans and charging times. But blindly driving forward, without thinking about the rate plans offered by your local power company, can lead to unexpected—and sometimes unfortunate—outcomes.

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By Patrick Connor ·
December 20, 2012

The Basics of Electric Vehicle Public Charging

Most electric vehicle owners charge their cars at home overnight. But charging on the road allows you to drive more than the range of a single charge. To cover the basics, we’ll explore the types of charging, how to find public charging stations, and the best way to plan a trip.

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By Brad Berman ·
June 14, 2013

Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette

Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.

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New to EVs? Start here

  1. What Is An Electric Car?
    Before we get going, let's establish basic definitions.
  2. A Quick Guide to Plug-in Hybrids
    Some plug-in cars have back-up engines to extend driving range.
  3. Electric Cars Pros and Cons
    EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
  4. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  5. Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  6. Eight Factors Determining Total Cost of Ownership of an Electric Car
    EVs get bad rap as expensive. Until you look at TCO.
  7. Quick Guide to Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
  8. Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules
    With the right utility plan, electric fuel can be dirt cheap.
  9. The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
    If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).
  10. Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
    Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.