EV 101: Your Introductory Guide to Electric Vehicles

Sean T. Johnston

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Over the past decade, we’ve made incredible advancements in the way automobiles are powered. Remember when seeing a hybrid driving down the street was rare and electric cars were basically science fiction? That’s not the case anymore.


Today, you have a wide range of options for how your vehicle can get from A to B. And the electric vehicle revolution is just getting started! In fact, Ford plans to invest over $4.5 billion in electrified vehicle solutions between now and 2020.


It’s all part of a sustainability initiative aimed at not only helping owners reduce gas consumption but also helping the planet by reducing global carbon emissions. We’re constantly striving to make electric vehicles better for you and for the environment.


Meet the Fleet

So what are hybrid electric and electric vehicles (EV) exactly? EVs are a class of vehicles that use an electric motor for propulsion. There are three main types of electric vehicles, each with its own capabilities and usage styles.






Hybrids, like the Ford C-MAX Hybrid1 and Ford Fusion Hybrid2, are a combination of gasoline and battery-powered vehicles. They work by switching almost imperceptibly between gas and electric power while you drive.


While your hybrid runs on the gasoline engine, technology like regenerative braking uses the kinetic energy usually lost when applying the brakes to help recharge the batteries. With the battery charged, the electric motor can kick in to take over for the gas engine.


Hybrids don’t need to be plugged in to charge their batteries, and their range is limited only to how far they can drive before fueling up with gasoline. This makes hybrids an appealing choice for drivers who would like improved fuel economy without drastically changing their driving habits.


Plug-in Hybrids


Plug-in Hybrids


If you’re not quite ready to go all-electric just yet, plug-in hybrids are a great choice. Think of plug-in hybrids as the next phase in the evolution of vehicles from gasoline to purely electric.


They operate in much the same manner as hybrids, with both a gasoline engine and an electric motor, but also provide an intriguing third option – the plug. Vehicles like the Ford C-MAX Energi3 and Ford Fusion Energi4 can be charged using the traditional 120-volt cord or an available 240-volt home charging option. The 120V can charge the battery overnight, while the 240V can charge it in just a few hours.


With the battery charged, your plug-in hybrid can drive (approximately 19 miles) completely on battery power, without using a drop of gasoline. When the batteries are depleted, the vehicle acts just like a hybrid, with the gasoline engine powering the vehicle while the batteries recharge.


Plug-in hybrids are a fantastic “best of both worlds” option for drivers who want the convenience of a gasoline engine for longer trips but the ability to drive short distances without using gas.


All-Electric Vehicles


Focus Electric


Welcome to a world without ever having to gas up. Cars like the Ford Focus Electric operate exclusively on their lithium-ion batteries, with no gasoline engines. Electric vehicles can be charged using the same available 120V and 240V kits.


The 2017 Ford Focus Electric can run about 100 miles on a full charge5. Now, we know what some of you are thinking: “What if I need to drive farther?” Vehicle-charging stations in parking structures and public facilities are popping up every day and provide a convenient way to keep the juices flowing while you’re out and about. The all-new Focus Electric charges to 80% capacity in about 32 minutes6.


With an all-electric vehicle, you can cut your gasoline budget and carbon emissions down to zero. Are you ready to go gas-free?


Electric Vehicle Etiquette

Driving is a little different in a world of hybrids, batteries and charging stations. With new technology come new challenges and responsibilities. So, we came up with a few tips to help you squeeze the most juice from your batteries and some pointers for being a good EV citizen.



Intrigued by EVs and curious to learn more? Check out this handy electric vehicle infographic and see how all three types compare!





1 2016 C-MAX HEV (2.0L I-4 CVT): EPA-estimated rating of 42 city/37hwy/40combined MPG. Actual mileage will vary.

2 2016 Fusion Hybrid Electric (2.0L iVCT Atkinson-Cycle I-4 Hybrid Electric Vehicle. EPA-estimated rating of 44 city/41hwy/42combined MPG. Actual mileage will vary.

2017 Fusion Hybrid Electric (2.0L iVCT Atkinson-Cycle I-4 Hybrid Electric Vehicle): EPA-estimated rating of 43 city/41hwy/42combined MPG. Actual mileage will vary.

3 2016 C-MAX PHEV (2.0L I-4 CVT): EPA-estimated rating of 40 city/36hwy/38combined MPG. Actual mileage will vary. EPA-estimated rating of 95 city/81hwy/88combined MPGe. Actual mileage will vary.

4 2016 Fusion Energi (2.0L I-4 eCVT): EPA-estimated rating of 40city/36hwy/38combined MPG. Actual mileage will vary. EPA-estimated rating of 95 city/81hwy/88combined MPGe. Actual mileage will vary. 2017 Fusion Energi (2.0L I-4 eCVT): EPA-estimated rating of 43 city/41hwy/42combined MPG. Actual mileage will vary.

EPA-estimated rating of 104 city/91hwy/97combined MPGe. Actual mileage will vary.

5 Range estimate based on testing used to determine EPA-estimated range value; actual range varies with conditions such as external elements, driving behaviors, vehicle maintenance and lithium-ion battery age.

6 Charge times vary. See owner’s manual for details.


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