Electric Cars

Transportation is the largest contributor of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in Vermont, accounting for 44.5% of total state GHG emissions. The South Burlington Climate Action Plan outlines goals is working to lower the climate impact of transportation.  Currently, there are federal, state and local (Green Mountain Power) rebates and tax incentives that bring down the price for many models of electric vehicles. Have you read about Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and still have questions?

There are two types of electric cars:

  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs aka EVs) - Powered solely by an electric battery, with no gas engine parts. These vehicles do not have a gas engine. Maintenance is simpler and less expensive than that of gas-powered vehicles.   The battery recharge is as easy as plugging into an electrical outlet and less expensive per mile than running on gas.  Most BEVs are capable of fast charging and can use Level 2 charging. They range from 100 -300 miles before they need a charge.  No gas option.  Zero emissions.  Lifetime cost of ownership is lower since electric motors are much simpler than internal combustion engines (ICE) and don’t require the same regular maintenance such as oil changes.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) - Similar to a Hybrid, but with a larger battery and electric motor. Has a gas tank and a charging port. Can charge by using Level 2 chargers.  These typically offer all-electric range of 20-50 miles. When the battery runs down, the gas engine takes over. While operating in electric mode, these offer many of the same fueling and per mile cost savings as EVs. Although less frequently, their ICE still requires the same regular maintenance as any gas-powered vehicle.
Charging explained 
  • Charging at home - Charging at home is one of the greatest benefits of owning an EV. Just plug in at night and wake up to a full charge each morning
  • Charging away from home - To refuel away from home, stop at a public charging station. See the map of public charging stations on the Drive Electric Vermont website. In the Burlington/South Burlington area there are about 260 public EV charging.  You can find them using these apps, and also use them when you are travelling:

Types of Charging

  • Level One Charging (120 Volts) uses standard household outlet – for homeowners and commercial


  • No installation cost if you already have an outlet near where your electric car is parked
  • Low impact on electric utility peak demand charges (often applied to commercial accounts)

Disadvantages - Slow charging, typically 3-5 miles of range per hour

  • Level Two Charging (240 Volts) May require a service upgrade. For homeowners and commercial. Providing this type of charging requires installation of an EVSE unit and electrical wiring capable of handling higher voltage power. Green Mountain Power is offering free level 2 charging equipment (does not include installation by an electrician).


  • Faster charge time - typically 10 – 20 miles of range per hour of charge
  • More energy efficient than Level 1 - about 3% gain in efficiency
  • Variety of EV charging manufacturers provides differentiated products for distinct markets and requirements, including networked systems that can schedule charging, track use, and collect fees

Disadvantages - Installation may be required - Possible higher hardware cost

  • Level 3/DC Fast Charging (480 Volts) For commercial locations. DC fast charging provides compatible vehicles with an 80% charge in 30-60 minutes by converting high voltage AC power to DC power for direct storage in EV batteries. Automakers currently use the same Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J-1772 plug for level 1 and 2 charging, with the exception of Tesla which has an adapter. For DC fast charging there are three plug types used by different automakers: the CHAdeMO, SAE Combined Charging System (Combo/CCS), and Tesla Supercharger. Nissan and Mitsubishi vehicles use CHAdeMO while current and upcoming vehicles from US and European manufacturers have SAE CCS ports. Tesla's Supercharger equipment is only compatible with Tesla vehicles, although they offer an adapter which allows Tesla owners to use CHAdeMO equipment.


  • Charge time is reduced drastically--it's nearly as fast as refueling a gasoline vehicle
  • Variety of charging equipment manufacturers provides differentiated products for distinct markets and requirements


  • Significantly more expensive than Level 1 or Level 2 equipment and high voltage 3 phase power connections to utilities further increases installation costs
  • Potentially increased peak demand charges for commercial locations
  • Different plug types are confusing to potential EV buyers and charging station operators
  • Depending on the vehicle and charging equipment, fast charging can be slowed during cold weather

Additional Resources

  • Drive Electric Vermont can answer most all your questions, including how EVs work, different models available for sale in Vermont, and purchase and ownership costs. Their factsheet on EVs covers standard purchase and lease costs, and their incentive calculator helps you figure your net cost. You can double check with this summary of federal, state, and utility incentives for electric cars, by zip code.
  • Green Mountain Power will provide customers a rebate, a free level 2 charger  a special EV rate.
  • Plug In America helps consumers, policy-makers, auto manufacturers and others to understand the powerful benefits of driving electric.
  • Consumer Reports: Electric Cars 101: The Answers to All Your EV Questions: 
  • MileageSmart is a program that aims to get more high-mileage cars on the road in Vermont for Vermonters who are at or below 80% median income.  It's for used cars, purchased through Vermont dealers, rated at 40 MPG or higher.
  • 2023 EV ranges  
  • How many solar panels to charge your EV?