gas opt
KQED Quest

One of the enduring myths about electric vehicles is that they’re totally impractical for your average family. But the Union of Concerned Scientists did a little bit of figuring and found that, for a surprising number of households, that’s just not true. A quarter of U.S. households would do just fine with a full-on battery-powered EV. And more than 40 percent could start driving a plug-in hybrid, like the Chevy Volt, without changing their routine at all.

UCS looked at three main criteria that could prevent people from using plug-in hybrids for practical reasons:

  • Does the household have access to charging?
  • Are there generally four or fewer passengers in the car?
  • Do they haul stuff?

The vast majority (95 percent) of drivers in this country are not driving around the Brady Bunch and do have four or fewer passengers. A good majority (79 percent) of U.S. drivers are not hauling stuff behind their car, whatever SUV owners tell themselves. And most people have access to a parking spot and an outlet.

Oh, and range? Most U.S. drivers (69 percent) drive less than 60 miles on normal days, which means that they could use a full-on EV without changing up their routine.