Electricity is a type of alternative fuel that can be used to power electric drive train transportation vehicles of a variety of types–from bikes to semi trucks.electricvehicle (2)

Types of End Use

There are four classifications of electric vehicles: hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV), which have a smaller combustion engine that is supplemented by the energy stored in the battery; plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), which have an electric motor in addition to an internal combustion engine; all-battery electric vehicles (BEV), which have only an electric motor; and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Plug-in electric vehicle refers to both PHEVs and BEVs.  California offers a Clean Vehicle Rebate for qualifying vehicles, which you can find out more about here.

Electric vehicles are available for passenger, fleet, medium/heavy duty, and transit purchase.  View the available options here.  There are also zero emission bicycles, scooters, motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles (among others) available for use as well.  Lastly, electricity can be used for the overall electrification of transportation as well–providing an alternative for goods movement and transit.

The San Diego Center of the Advanced Transportation Center (managed by the Center for Sustainable Energy) manages the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project.  As of 2014, Southern California has nearly 40,000 clean vehicles that have utilized the state’s rebate program.  See below for a distribution of this use.

Generation and Storage

Electricity as a fuel source can be generated through a variety of uses–ranging from traditional energy sources (such as coal) to renewable energy sources (such as solar).  Renewable energy also has the ability to be stored for later use.  Find more about energy storage and management technologies here.

Resources on Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicle/Battery Research

  • National Renewable Energy Lab’s (NREL) Vehicle-to-Grid Integration: NREL’s electric vehicle grid integration work supports the development and implementation of electrified transportation systems, particularly those that integrate renewable-based vehicle charging systems
  • UC Davis Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center: The Center collaborates closely with California utilities, the Electric Power Research Institute, automakers, and other research institutions on research aimed at developing a sustainable market for plug-in vehicles.
  • Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI): The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that conducts research, development and demonstration (RD&D) relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public.
  • Argonne National Lab’s Advanced Battery Research, Development, and Testing: This research focuses on advanced lithium battery technologies and their future for energy storage needs and the light-duty market.


Educational Resources

  • California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative: The California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative is a public/private organization comprised of 47 members that include key PEV stakeholders all working together to move the PEV market forward in California. The website contains a plethora of documents to increase awareness of workplace charging and multi-unit dwelling charging.
  • Alternative Fuel Data Center: This website from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program offers resources, basic information, case studies, and more about electric vehicles.
  • Plug-in America: Plug-in America is a nonprofit organization that seeks to move the PEV market forward in the United States. Their website contains a blog, charging station information, and vehicle information.
  • Go Electric Drive: This website is maintained by the Electric Drive Transportation Association. It includes up-to-date information about vehicles, charging stations, and incentives.
  • Electrification Coalition: The Electrification Coalition is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit group of business leaders committed to promoting policies and actions that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale. The website contains the group’s unique policy reports and analysis.


EV- specific Projects and Programs

  • U.S. DOE EV Everywhere: As part of the DOE’s Clean Energy Grand Challenges, this initiative seeks to U.S. becoming the first nation in the world to produce plug-in electric vehicles that are as affordable for the average American family by 2022 as a 2012 baseline gasoline-powered vehicle.
  • U.S. DOE EV Everwhere Workplace Charging Challenge: As part of the DOE’s EV Everywhere project, this program seeks to engage workplaces around the county to install charging stations at their offices. It includes unique research about workplace charging and other tools to facilitate charging installations at the workplace.
  • The EV Project: The EV Project was the largest deployment of PEVs and charging stations in history. Between 2009 and 2010, the company ECOtality was ultimately given over $230 million (a compilation of DOE funds and private match funding) to deploy chargers in major cities and metropolitan areas across the United States.
  • California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP): This is a program funded by the California Air Resources Board and administered by the Center for Sustainable Energy. The program offers $2,500 for a BEV purchase/lease and $1,500 for a PHEV purchase/lease. The website has project statistics and survey data about the CA PEV population.
  • Southern California Regional Electric Vehicle Program: The Southern California Association of Governments is working to prepare the region for PEVs in its near- and long-term future. The webpage includes a link to the Southern California PEV Readiness Plan, the Southern California PEV Readiness Atlas, and other helpful tools.
  • San Diego Regional Electric Vehicle Planning: The San Diego Association of Governments has partnered with the Center for Sustainable Energy to prepare the region for PEVs in its near-and long-term future. The webpage includes a link to the San Diego Regional PEV Readiness Plan, fact sheets, and other helpful tools.


Other EV stakeholders

  • CalETC – The California Electric Transportation Coalition is a non-profit association of stakeholders promoting economic growth, clean air, fuel diversity and energy independence, and combating climate change through the use of electric transportation.




State of CA EVSE Guidance – Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Guidance Document, Source: California Department of General Services, January 2014; Source: California Department of General Services.

State of CA ZEV Action Plan – 2013 ZEV Action Plan A roadmap toward 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roadways by 2025, Source: California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, 2013; Source: California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative Publications:

Why Plug In Cars? Source: Plug In America