When is an electric car not an electric car?
I drive an electric car, not one of the new electric cars from a major manufacturer, but a home built electric conversion of a classic car. My 1971 Karmann Ghia is extremely well restored and catches a lot of attention, after which people notice it's also an electric car, which gives them a whole new level of appreciation for the car. Almost every time I drive this car someone will approach and start asking questions. Today's questions included one about "fuel efficiency" of the car, and when I answered this car does not take "gallons", she exclaimed "Oh, it's an all electric car like a Chevy Volt?" Ignoring the inner sigh, I mumbled "yes" and, because I was blocking traffic, drove away.
The problem is that the Chevy Volt, while an excellent car, it is not an all electric car. Technically the Volt is a plug-in hybrid, but GM muddies the waters by insisting on the phrase "extended range electric vehicle" (EREV). Enough are confused that it's worth going over the distinction between an all electric car, and a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt. The confusion is not just among the random passerby, but extends to "journalists" for some major news outlets, one of whom published an article over the weekend claiming the Prius Plug-in is an all-electric car when in fact it is a plug-in hybrid.