Introduction to Electric Vehicles

Plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) are fast, fun, and efficient. Maintenance is simpler and cheaper. Re-"fueling" is as simple as plugging into an electrical outlet, and you'll spend the equivalent of about a $1.50 per gallon of gas to do so. EVs increase our energy independence and contribute to healthier air and lower carbon emissions. And purchase incentives are available to help reduce the cost of your EV purchase—so the time to take advantage is now!

Types of EVs

Plug in electric vehicles (EVs) come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are a variety of super-efficient options powered by electricity, like electric-assist bicycles, neighborhood electric vehicles, and motorcycles. For the passenger cars and trucks used by most Vermonters there are two basic EV designs:

All Electric Vehicles (AEVs)

Powered solely by electric energy stored in the battery

The Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model 3, and BMW i3 are examples of all-electric vehicles in Vermont.

Is it for me?

Good option for two-car households, those with shorter commutes, and EV lovers with a pioneering spirit. Range on the coldest Vermont days will be much less than the official manufacturer ratings. For example, an AEV with 150 miles of official range might be closer to 80 miles in frigid conditions, so this should be factored into vehicle purchase considerations. Several all-electric models with well over 200 miles of range are now available, making it easier than ever to make the switch.

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

Powered by a combination of battery power and gasoline engine

The Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Energi, and Toyota Prius Prime are examples of PHEVs. Generally they do not travel as far as all-electric vehicles on battery power, but when the battery runs low, the gasoline engine turns on to extend their range.

Is it for me?

Convenient option for longer commutes, road trippers, and people who need more range flexibility.

Where Are the Vermonters with Electric Vehicles?

Hint: They are plugging in all over the state

As of July 2019 there were 3,288 passenger EVs in the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles registration database. This is a 26% increase over the past year. Electric cars are also spreading across the state, and are now in 88% of Vermont communities.

About 60% of the EVs are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) which can run on both electricity and gasoline, providing greater range confidence among drivers with the flexibility to run on gasoline when needed.


See the latest updates on EVs registered in the state of Vermont:

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In Your Own Words

Check out some of the testimonials below and see what Vermont electric vehicle owners are saying.

Photo of Bruce Bentley

Bruce Bentley, Rutland

Reason #1 to Drive Electric: Save Money on Gas

After one year, Bruce reports he has only used 40 gallons of gas. This is no small feat in a state like Vermont. How did Bruce do it? He is leasing a Chevy Volt which he uses on his daily commute and occasional longer trips to Montpelier and Burlington (about a 130 mile circuit). Bruce leases a Volt for a lower monthly cost than his old car. Gas savings over the course of the year have allowed him to meet personal goals to reduce money spent on transportation and lower his carbon footprint.

Bruce says, "I love my EV—it keeps me from doing something I hate, which is burning gas. I'd recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to waste their hard earned money on gas."

Want to Hear More from Vermonters?

Read more testimonials, hear tips, or ask questions in the Drive Electric Blog

Current Electric Car Ownership Snapshot

Vermont has experienced substantial growth of electric vehicles registrations over the past year. As of July 2019:

  • EVs are registered in 88% of Vermont communities.
  • The number of EVs increased by 676 vehicles or 26% over the past year.
  • Plug-in vehicles comprised 4.1% of new passenger car registrations over the past quarter.
  • About 30% of plug-in vehicles registered in the last quarter were leased, a popular and affordable way to obtain an electric car.
  • Used EV registrations continue to grow as an estimated 16% of EVs registered in the last quarter were used.
  • About 60% of the EVs are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) which can run on both electricity and gasoline, providing flexibility to run on gasoline when needed.
  • There are 48 unique models of plug-in cars registered in the state. New models entering Vermont this quarter included the Audi e-tron, Hyundai Kona Electric, Porsche Panamera SE Hybrid, and Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid.
  • The Nissan LEAF had 97 added registrations this quarter, the most of any model. This was followed by the Tesla Model 3 (35), Chevrolet Bolt (32), Ford Fusion Energi PHEV (25), Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid (20), Hyundai Kona Electric (12) and Chevrolet Volt (10).
  • Chittenden County has the most EVs registered (1,226) and highest rate of EV ownership with about 1 EV for every 127 people.
  • There are now 222 public charging stations for electric vehicles across the state.
  • Vermont has 26 DC Fast Chargers available for EVs equipped with this technology to quickly recharge in about 30-45 minutes for longer trips. 

Electric Vehicles Outperform Gas-Powered Cars

Electric Vehicles (EVs) often come with features typically seen in luxury vehicles such as navigation, Bluetooth, heated seats, heated steering wheels—even solar panels. In addition to finding everything inside your EV that you would in most other vehicles, EVs also provide tremendous traction due to the distributed weight of their batteries. Some EV owners report that they are better in the Vermont snow than any AWD vehicle they have owned.

The Key Difference

Internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles burn fuel to generate the heat that creates propulsion, whereas electric car motors generate torque from the start.

There is no delay when you press the accelerator on an electric car, unlike when you touch the pedal on a gasoline powered vehicle. The Formula E racing series demonstrates how vehicles powered by electricity are competing at the top levels of racing. And in this video two Lotus sports cars, one powered by electricity and the other by gasoline compete. (It isn't even close!)