New Tool Helps Midwest Car Buyers Assess Electric, Hybrid Vehicle Options

Consumers seeking information about plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles can use a new tool designed by Argonne National Laboratory as a part of the seven-state Midwest EVOLVE project.

Midwest EVOLVE (Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience) is a partnership between the American Lung Association and eight Clean Cities coalitions throughout the Midwest to educate consumers about the advantages of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.

The new consumer tool, called “EVolution: Choices for a Smarter Purchase,” is designed to help car buyers make informed decisions when purchasing a new vehicle. It starts with consumers’ purchase considerations, such as purchase price, and compares the monetary and environmental benefits of various passenger electric-drive vehicles and equivalent conventionally fueled models.

The EVolution website connects to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, FuelEconomy.gov, U.S. Energy Information Administration websites, and others in one platform.

“The new guidance tool helps consumers compare the cost of owning different electric-drive powertrain technologies, as well as the environmental impact of these vehicles,” says Yan Zhou, principal environmental transportation analyst for Argonne National Laboratory. “By entering your zip code, your results are customized to show local fuel and electricity prices, vehicle purchase price accounting for incentives, charging availability, and commute time to determine cost of ownership.

“The climate where you reside, based on the entered zip code, and your commute time help the tool factor how often you need to charge each type of plug-in electric vehicle,” Zhou continues.

“A map showing public chargers by location and type is also provided to assess your potential charging availabilities. At the end of the six steps, you will know the differences in costs, emissions and petroleum consumption between the various types of vehicles you are considering. There is an electric-drive powertrain to fit anyone’s driving needs,” Zhou says.

Midwest EVOLVE launched in early 2017 with more than 60 partners, including automakers, utilities, state agencies, municipalities, dealerships and dealer associations. The project was announced at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.

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