Electric cars are designed to run by the use of a battery or 'electric' parts rather than from fuel like gasoline. Electric cars don't pollute like gasoline ones do so that makes them environmentally friendly. I believe in the future of electric cars. But there are some draw backs.
Are they expensive? Yes. The return on investment is not there. A hybrid runs on dual fuel of battery and gasoline. It runs primarily on battery but when the batteries get low, they will switch to gas. I saw one site that listed hybrids ranging from $40,000 to $60,000. You can buy 2 or 3 trucks for that but you won't get the mileage. The Volt gets really good mileage. Since it's a hybrid - both gas and battery for fuel, it works on both worlds.
By changing to a hybrid vehicle, it will help erase some of your gasoline bill while helping the environment. If you spend $300 to $400 a month (or more) on fuel, multiply $400 a month times 12 months, that's $4800 a year on fuel. It would take several years to pay off the Volt. By that time, the car may be shot. You won't erase your entire gasoline bill - because you use both battery and gasoline - but it will help reduce it. I think purchasing a hybrid is a good thing but it's too long for a payback. I know the technology is available but the ROI, return on investment, is not there. If you spend $40,000 to $50,000 you may not be able to get that back within 5 years or longer.
A hybrid car running on batteries need to be plugged in to recharge your car batteries. So, you are using your house electrical power to recharge your batteries in your car. You probably use 15 amps over a period of 3 to 8 hours. I know you can use solar to recharge. It depends how far you drive during the day whether you would need to recharge them every night.
Do batteries need to go completely dead before recharging? No, the batteries will deplete to 80% of their discharge rate before it will automatically change to gasoline fuel. Most batteries even though they say they don't have memory, they do - even lithium-ion batteries. They are very good but I've recharged some that do have a memory. Some people say they will forget and have no memory but you must run them 100% down before recharging. I have power tools that can run for 10 minutes before needing to be recharged. Then, I have some tools that can run for hours before needing a charge. I know it has to do with the rate of discharge on the lithium-ion. Even though they say they don't have a memory, in my case, they do.
Return On Investment
Electric cars are great but the ROI is not there. Should people hold off on purchasing them? That's your decision. The gas industry is a lifeline for many people. But the gas industry is making record profits on hard-working people. If fuel was cheaper, we could be driving our big gas guzzlers and SUVs. But the gas industry is making it more difficult for small businesses especially in a time where they can't hold on in this economy. The gas companies say it's due to government industry standards. But they knew about the standards years ago. In fact, they know when government is changing the rules and regulations because they have lobbyist they try to block them.
Solar has come a long way. The electric cars use too much energy too fast so it has to be recharged quickly. We use too much power in too short a time. We want to drive 60 or 70 miles an hour on a highway everywhere we go. In order to get up to that speed and keep the energy going, it uses a lot of power. In order for you to get the recommended MPG on a vehicle, it would depend upon your driving speed. So a gasoline car for the dollar is still worth the money now, unless they improve on the electric cars. And I'm hoping they will!