More than 1.4 million plug-in electric vehicles can be found on American roads these days.
But these aren’t the kind of thing you can plug in just anywhere. Since they still make up less than 1 percent of new vehicle sales, electric car charging stations are uncommon, and a common household plug doesn’t suffice as an electric car charger.
So, just how do you charge electric cars? Whether you’re staying home or hitting the open road, keep reading to learn more about charging your electric vehicle.
Charging at Home
Electric car owners do more than 80 percent of their charging at home, which is kind of nice because that’s one less stop you have to make while you’re out and about.
So how long does it take to charge an electric car? It depends on which of the two options you have at home. Level 1 uses a standard household outlet, and Level 2 uses a 240-volt plug.
Your vehicle should come with a Level 1 home connector kit that will allow you to plug the car into a regular outlet. It is the slowest charging option with two-to-five miles of range per hour of charging, so you need to leave it overnight to get a full charge. Most of the time, this is fine, especially if your vehicle has a small battery or you drive less than 50 miles per day.
To use a Level 2 charger, you need a 240-volt outlet similar to what you use for a clothes dryer. The charger can run you $500-$700, and you’ll need an electrician to install it and put it on a dedicated circuit. But, you do get a much faster charge – 10-to-60 miles of range per hour of charging.
You can talk to experts where you buy your electric vehicle like this company for advice as to which option is better for your vehicle and driving situation.
Charging on the Road
When you’re on the road and using charging stations, you will need to know what level charger they offer, what plug types are available, and what company runs it.
Charging stations might have Level 2 chargers, but you will also find Level 3, also called fast chargers. They can get you 150 miles of range per hour of charging but at a price. The cost to charge electric car batteries can be more than $30 for a full charge depending on the size.
You also need to be aware of the type of plug or connector a Level 3 station offers – CCS, CHAdeMO, or Tesla. You shouldn’t have any compatibility issues with Level 2 charging options.
Most EV charging stations are open to the public, and some are free, especially those that offer Level 2 charges. However, others require payment or membership for you to use them, so you need to plan accordingly.
Several smartphone apps show charging stations with information on level and connector. You can also find some information on Google Maps, but not with the detail level of the apps.
Charge Electric Cars Anywhere
Knowing how and where to charge electric cars keeps you from being stranded along the side of the road. While more charging stations are becoming available, electric car charging at home will always be your safest bet for powering up your electric car.
If you’ve been thinking about replacing your car with an electric model, check out our various buying guides to help you make your next automobile purchase.