One of the aspects of electric cars that seems to be an important factor for consumers in deciding whether to buy an electric vehicle is range. Pure electric vehicles (EV) like the Nissan leaf have a range of about 100 miles. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) like the Volt has a range of about 40 miles under electric power, but has a gasoline engine to extend the range. The range of hybrid vehicles (HEV) like the Prius don't differ that much from internal combusion engined cars (ICE).
GE's Data Visualization site has very effective graphics showing some of the characteristics of U.S. driving patterns and electric power usage that are relevant to electric vehicles.
Not everyone needs a vehicle with a range of hundreds of miles. Over 50% of all US household trips are under 6 miles. This begs the question what percentage of U.S. households have never taken a car trip that exceeds 100 miles ?
The graphic shows driver behaviour for the typical EV owner. Driving (orange) typically occurs between 9 am and midnight. For current electric vehicle onwers, who can't charge at the office, charging (green) typically starts about 6 pm when the owner gets home. The blue area shows roughly when power utilities have greatest excess capacity for power generation. With an appropriate time-of-use pricing policy, power utilities can encourage vehicle owners to take advantage of excess grid capacity by charging at off-peak times.