Electric Vehicles 101

Electric vehicles (EVs) offer you a clean, quiet, and enjoyable ride, and the coming years will offer more options than ever. With carmakers increasing the production of electric vehicles and more charging stations being installed across the country, there has never been a better time to drive an electric vehicle. EVs have the added advantage of being better for the environment, especially those getting their charge from clean energy sources, which greatly reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with driving.

If an EV is a good fit for your lifestyle and driving habits, you’ll find that there are other benefits compared to standard gas vehicles. Below is some information that may be helpful to you if you are considering purchasing an EV.

Residential Level 2 Charger Rebates & the Commercial EVolve Grant Program are Now Available!

Click here for more details!

Empower Auto

Selecting an Electric Vehicle

There are two types of electric vehicles on the market. The first type is the “Battery Electric Vehicle” (BEV), which is powered solely by electricity. The second type is the “Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle” (PHEV), which is initially powered by electricity and then switches over to gas once the electric battery power has been fully depleted. See below for more information about each type of vehicle.


Battery Electric Vehicles, often referred to as BEVs, are vehicles that are powered solely by electricity that is collected through rechargeable battery packs. The range of new BEVs has been progressively increasing with most new vehicles having a range of over 200 miles. Additionally, many manufacturers are starting to make extended range batteries that can increase that range to 300+ miles on a single charge.


Vehicle batteries are charged using an electric vehicle charger. A 240-volt “Level 2” charger is recommended for BEVs because of their long range. Level 2 charging stations are a great option for overnight charging at your home, with most vehicles being able to be fully recharged overnight. Although uncommon in a residential setting, DC Fast Charging is often available in public settings and is a great option for road trips or other times when you need to replenish your battery quickly.

Environmental Benefit

Battery Electric Vehicles do not have any emissions from the tailpipe, which helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. 

Market Examples

Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model S


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which are also known as PHEVs, are powered by a battery for short trips and an internal combustion engine for long trips. PHEV batteries are smaller than BEV batteries and therefore, give less electric range. However, the range that they lack in battery is made up for with gas. PHEVs are initially powered by their battery but once the battery is depleted, the vehicle seamlessly switches over to an internal combustion engine that uses gasoline to power the vehicle.


Battery power is the primary power type for these vehicles. The battery can be charged at home through a 120-volt outlet (also known as a “Level 1” station) by a 240-volt Level 2 Charger. When their battery no longer has a charge left, the vehicle is then powered by the internal combustion engine, which is fueled using gasoline. This reduces the anxiety of running out of battery power on longer trips.

Environmental Benefit

Although they still omit some tailpipe emissions, plug-in hybrid vehicles reduce both fuel consumption and overall emissions in comparison to a traditional internal combustion vehicle. As a result, they help reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions.

Market Examples

Toyota Prius Prime, Jeep Wrangler 4XE, Volvo XC60 Recharge

Electric Vehicle Charging

Level 1 Charger

Level 1 Charger

Current: 120 volts (standard outlet)

Location: home, business

Ideal Vehicle: PHEV

Charge Time: 3-5 miles of range per hour

Level 2 Charger

Level 2 Charger

Current: 240-volts (same as a typical dryer outlet)

Location: home, business, commercial

Ideal Vehicle: PHEV or BEV

Charge Time: 16-60 miles of range per hour

    DC Fast Charger

    DC Fast Charger

    Current: 480+ volts

    Location: commercial

    Ideal Vehicle: PHEV or BEV

    Charge Time: 20 to 30 minutes give you approximately an 80% charge

    Charger Comparison
    Charger Type Advantages Disadvantages
    Level 1 Charger Inexpensive, convenient way to charge a PHEV Slowest charging method. Not typically recommended as a primary charging method for BEVs.
    Level 2 Charger Allows a vehicle to get a practical charge at a home or business.  More costly than Level 1 Chargers. Electrical upgrades or rewiring may be necessary for installation.
    DC Fast Charger Fastest charging method Much more costly to install than other charging options.

    Need a charger?

    Visit this site that will allow you to search for chargers in your area.

    Cost Savings

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Federal incentives are available for the purchase of many EVs. To learn more about what federal incentives that you may qualify for, please click here.

    Electric vehicles can be charged at any time! That being said, Santee Cooper asks you to charge late at night if possible. Charging late at night when Santee Cooper doesn’t have as high of an energy load helps keep energy costs low for all of our customers.

    Horry, Georgetown and Berkley counties have electric vehicle chargers available to members of the public. To learn more about the locations of these chargers, click here.

    There are a variety of chargers available within the marketplace, each with their own benefit. Many commercial customers select either a Level 2 Charger or a DC Fast Charger because of their quick charging time. To learn more about charging options please see the EV charging section above or reach out to us directly using the contact info at the bottom of this page.

    It is recommended that you install a charger in your home because that is often the most convenient charging location. That being said, installing the most basic charger, a Level 1 Charger, is as simple as plugging the charger provided at the purchase of the car into your standard wall outlet. For vehicle owners looking for more charging power for at home, they can install a Level 2 Charger. If you are unsure if your home is suitable for level 2 charging, it is recommended that you call your electrician. They should be able to come to your home and install a 240-volt outlet if needed.

    Questions Concerning Electric Vehicles?

    Contact us by submitting your questions on the form below or calling us at 843-234-7147. Please allow 1-2 business days for a response.