Westar Energy

About Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Westar Energy is committed to helping you make the transition from your traditional gasoline internal combustion engine vehicle to your new plug-in electric vehicle. Here you'll learn the basics about plug-in electric vehicles.

What is an electric vehicle (EV)

  • An electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle that gets some or all of its power from electrical energy. All EVs use electric motors and most store electrical energy in batteries

  • EV batteries must be replenished by plugging in the vehicle to a power source.

How EVs work

  • EVs use electrical energy, this electricity can come from a home, business, charging station or any electrical outlet that will support EV charging needs.

  • An EV uses a controller (its electronic brain) to deliver stored electricity to the motor.

  • In most EVs, the controller gets power from a group of rechargeable batteries.

Benefits of EVs

  • EVs will generally cost less than gasoline-powered cars to own, operate and maintain on a day-to-day basis.

  • EVs have fewer moving parts than gasoline-powered cars. Fewer moving parts will mean less maintenance and less manufacturing costs.

  • Many EVs are considered zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) because they produce no exhaust or emissions (Volt is an EV that is not a ZEV).

  • EVs run quieter and use our existing, domestic electricity infrastructure, rather than foreign oil.

  • Ability to charge vehicles during non-peak electric load times and take advantage of renewable energy resources such as wind.

  • Purchase of a new, qualified EV is eligible for a tax credit up to $7,500.

Vehicle Types and Definitions


Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle
Typical internal combustion engine on the road today, powered by an engine fueled by gasoline or diesel. Example: Ford Mustang.

HEVHybrid Electric Vehicle
HEVs work through a combination of an internal combustion engine, a bank of batteries and an electric motor. This combination varies from 'mild hybrids', which simply reduce the engine size and boost acceleration with an electric motor - to a set up where the engine runs only to produce electricity, that then runs an electric motor. Example: Toyota Prius, Honda Civic-Hybrid.

PHEVPlug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Like HEVs, have an onboard internal combustion engine that charges batteries to provide electricity to an electric motor. What makes a PHEV different from a HEV is the ability to charge the batteries by plugging the vehicle in. Example: Toyota Prius Plug-In.

BEVBattery Electric Vehicle
A vehicle that uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs to power an electric motor. Powered exclusively by electricity. Example: Nissan Leaf.

NEVNeighborhood Electric Vehicle
A small, low speed BEV that is restricted to posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less. Usually are built to have a top speed of 30 mph. Example: Zapcar.

EREVExtended Range Electric Vehicle
An electric vehicle that relies on an electric motor to provide power to the drive train but also relies on a gasoline internal combustion engine to provide some energy. Example: Chevy Volt.

To learn more about EVs, visit our EV resources page.

If you have additional questions, contact us by email at EV@WestarEnergy.com