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CUB guide plugs into electric vehicles

A Tesla car recharges at a shopping center in North Carolina in 2017.
Chuck Burton
A Tesla car recharges at a shopping center in North Carolina in 2017.

The Citizens Utility Board, the agency that is usually monitoring utility companies like Ameren and Commonwealth Edison, recently issued an online buyer’s guide for those considering electric vehicles.

“It’s not a hard sell,” said executive director David Kolata. “This handbook helps buyers decide whether an electric vehicle is the right choice by answering key questions, offering an EV checklist and providing a list of helpful additional resources.”

While acknowledging that electric vehicles historically cost more than their gas-powered counterparts, Kolata said the costs are coming down for battery-powered vehicles as technology improves.

The EV Buyer’s Handbook also notes that a new incentive, like the one the state of Illinois is offering, provides a $4,000 rebate for the purchase of a new or used electric passenger vehicle. Federal tax incentives are also available, he said.

Operating costs are reduced since there are no sparkplugs, belts, radiators, catalytic converters, mufflers, hoses, air filters or water pumps involved with electric vehicles, said Kolata.

The CUB guide also alerted consumers that the owner of an electric vehicle is likely to get reduced range in an Illinois winter—from 5 to 40 percent less range--depending on the severity of the weather.

Kolata said 90 percent of electric vehicle owners charge their vehicles at home with 10 percent relying on charging stations. More charging stations are expected in the future, he said.

While saving on gas costs, electric vehicles also offer a way to reduce vehicle pollution, now a more significant cause of carbon pollution than power plants, noted the CUB director.

The CUB guide is available here: https://citizensutilityboard.salsalabs.org/ev/index.html

Steve Tarter retired from the Peoria Journal Star in 2019 after spending 20 years at the paper as both reporter and business editor.