Electric Vehicles

What is an Electric Vehicle?

In an electric vehicle (EV), a battery or other energy storage device is used to store the electricity that powers the motor. EV batteries must be replenished by plugging in the vehicle to a power source. Some electric vehicles have onboard chargers; others plug into a charger located outside the vehicle. Both types, however, use electricity that comes from the power grid or through stationary renewable energy. Although electricity production may contribute to air pollution, EVs are considered zero-emission vehicles because their motors produce no exhaust or emissions.

There are limited light-duty electric vehicles available from the major auto manufacturers, but production is increasing and vehicles will be introduced in 2010 and 2011 such as the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Volt and EV Focus.  Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs), are being manufactured by a variety of companies.  These small vehicles are commonly used for neighborhood commuting, light hauling, and delivery. Their use is limited to areas with 35 mph speed limits or for off-road service on college campus or at airports or resort areas.

For information about preparing Virginia for electric vehicles, please visit our Virginia Get Ready page.

What Electric Vehicles Are Available?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are available as neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and as scooters and bicycles. Conversion kits are also available to transform a conventional light-duty vehicles into one that runs on electricity.  While the Tesla Roadster and other electric vehicles from smaller manufactures have been available for a few years, full sized electric vehicles will initially be released to US markets in 2010 and 2011.

For more information on EV models, visit the AFDC page.


  1. Brian nester says:

    I am converting a gas car to electric. Do you know what the state of Virginia require to register and for inspections? Thanks

    1. Kayla Cook says:

      Yes you must register it and get it inspected.

      This the regulation language for Virginia:
      Aftermarket Electric Vehicle (EV) Conversion Regulations
      Any motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, that has been modified to replace the internal combustion engine with an electric propulsion system must be titled by and registered with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as a converted EV. DMV converted EV registration requires certification by a certified Virginia safety inspector that the conversion to electric propulsion is complete and proof that the vehicle has passed a Virginia safety inspection. The inspector may charge a fee, not to exceed $40, in addition to any fee imposed for Virginia safety inspection.

      Converted EVs must be equipped with special equipment, including high voltage cables, a temperature monitoring system for traction batteries other than lead acid batteries, and labeling on three sides of the vehicle identifying it as “Converted Electric.” For more information, see the DMV Titling a Converted EV website. (Reference Virginia Code 46.2-602.3, 46.2-625, and 46.2-1001.1)

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