Your Most Common EV Questions Answered
The global market for electric vehicles (EV) is on the rise. Global passenger EV sales climbed 94% year-on-year in 3Q 2021, marking over one million EV sales for four consecutive quarters. This figure comes as no surprise since you don’t have to worry about filling up or rising gas prices with EVs. Also, they’re much quieter than traditional vehicles, and they manage the energy more efficiently.
However, due to vague information available online, some people have unanswered questions as they are navigating their first electric vehicle purchase. Get the most common EV questions answered in this guide and get one step closer to becoming an EV owner.
How Long Does it Take to Charge an Electric Vehicle (EV)?
Coming in at the top of most common questions and concerns, many prospective EV buyers want to know exactly what to expect about charging times. This is an essential factor because we usually can fill up a gas tank in around 5 or 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple, and it comes down to the type of charger used to charge the EV.
Let’s dive into the charging differences between Level 1 (L1), Level 2 (L2), and Level 3 (L3) chargers.
Level 1 charges at the slowest pace of 3-5 miles per hour. You can expect them to take from 11 to 20 hours to charge an EV fully. These chargers plug into a standard 120-volt charger. The L1 charger is best for hybrids, non-daily vehicles, or EVs that only go 40 miles each day.
L2 chargers are a good balance between speed and value and therefore are a top choice among buyers looking for a home, workplace, or public chargers. Home users often choose Level 2 chargers since they can charge an EV overnight or in 6 to 10 hours and use a 240-volt appliance outlet.
The L3 charger, commonly known as a supercharger, can charge an EV in under one hour. However, these chargers are usually only found at public charging stations due to their electrical requirements and overall complexity.
If you are curious about other differences between L1, L2, and L3 chargers, check out this article, where we do a deep dive into the different types of EV chargers.
How Much Does It Cost to Charge An EV?
Charging at Home
According to J.D. Powers, electric vehicle users in the United States charge their vehicles at home 88% of the time, increasing their power costs.
Use this formula to calculate the monthly cost of charging your EV at home:
Total kWh per month X average cost per kWh = total monthly charging cost
Let’s break down the cost to see what this would look like:
Assume you drive 540 miles every month. An average, efficient EV can usually go 4 miles per kWh. So, in that time, an EV uses 135 kWh. Charging an EV would cost around $19 per month using the March 2022 US household average of 13.75 cents/kWh.
540/4 = 135 kWh
135 times .1375 = $18.56
If you live in an area with higher electricity costs, this will impact the overall cost of charging.
If you are interested in becoming an EV owner and charging at home, check out our article on choosing the best home charger for your needs.
Charging in Public
Like gas stations, there are different charging stations to let you charge your automobile whenever you need it. However, it’s rare to find free public chargers, and most charge by kWh per hour. They can also charge based on your charger level and the demand for charging connections.
Use this formula to calculate the general cost of charging your EV at a public station:
EV battery size (kWh) X price per kWh = total charging cost at a charging station
Let’s break down the cost to see what this would look like:
Assume you drive a Mini Cooper SE with a usable battery capacity of 28.9 kWh. Also, let’s assume you are using an L3 charger with a cost of $0.60 per kWh. Charging this battery from zero to full capacity would cost around $17.
28.9 kWh X $0.60 = $17.34
Of course, EVs with higher battery capacity will cost more to charge. So make sure you look into the battery size of the EV you are thinking about purchasing. In addition, some stations charge per minute, which can change the charging price.
Does the Car Type Impact Charge Time?
The short answer is yes: charging times vary depending on battery capacity, dispenser output, and other variables. Still, many cars may achieve an 80% charge in under an hour using most current L3 DC fast chargers.
Some EV manufacturers’ websites provide estimated recharging times. To determine an EV’s ideal charge time, divide the battery capacity by the onboard charger’s power rating, then add 10% to the charging losses.
Do I Need More Adapters if I Have Multiple EVs at Home?
A household can usually get by with one charger in multiple EVs. However, the answer depends on your situation.
You probably don’t need to charge as often as you think, allowing you to split the charger between vehicles easily. Also, you probably don’t drive as far as you feel, meaning you probably won’t be charging up from zero every time you charge. In these situations, you could quickly charge two EVs with one charger.
But there are benefits to having two chargers. The most significant advantage is that you can charge multiple EVs quicker with various chargers. It also gives you some flexibility with long trips that deplete your EV’s battery. Another bonus of having multiple adapters is that it allows you to take advantage of time-of-use (TOU) rates by charging multiple cars during certain times of the day. We will talk more about TOU rates later in this article.
Does My At-home EV Charger Need to Be Wall Mounted?
If you are a renter, someone who moves frequently, or live in a small living space, the idea of needing a wall-mounted charger may be concerning. Luckily, there is some flexibility with EV chargers. Many EV drivers use portable L1 and L2 chargers that only require a compatible plug. Note that it’s not always feasible to find a 230-volt outlet, so many drivers carry a backup 110-volt chord if they need to charge on the go.
If you want to mount your charger but don’t have an accessible wall close to where you will charge your EV, you can install a sturdy post where the charger can be securely mounted. However, be sure to factor in this upfront cost when considering what type of EV charger you want to install.
How Do I Accident-proof My Home EV Charger?
Here are a few considerations for preventing accidents and fires with an EV home charger:
- The recommended height for an EV to be from the ground is between 750mm and 1200mm.
- Depending on the weight of your EV charger, you will want to make sure it is securely mounted to a wall or post.
- There may be codes and regulations for installing EVSE, so be sure to check with your local code enforcement office before installing a charger.
- Follow the manufacturer’s charging instructions.
- Invest in a charging device that has been approved by a reputable testing facility.
- Plug EV chargers directly into an outlet rated for their amperage.
- Connect a residual current device to the charger to detect defects and turn off the power if needed.
- When not in use, keep charging devices out of reach of children.
- Maintain your charging station components as directed by the manufacturer. Never use a damaged EV charger.
- Cover the EV charging station plug to divert water. Check the manufacturer’s requirements to ensure wet charging is safe.
For proper installation, it’s best to hire an electrician with experience in EVSE installations.
How Big/Heavy Is An EV Charger?
Level 1 Home Charger
L1 portable home chargers are light and meant to be easy to transport. They usually weigh less than 20 pounds.
Level 2 Charger
L2 chargers can vary since some are portable. For example, L2 portable chargers can weigh less than 20 pounds, while non-portable chargers can weigh as much as 50 pounds.
Level 3 Charger
L3 chargers are usually much heavier due to their complexity. These chargers can weigh up to 650 pounds.
Do EVs Come with Chargers upon Purchase?
Most new electric vehicles now come with portable L1 charging equipment that you can plug into any 120-volt outlet. While these chargers are slower than their higher-level counterparts, finding a 120-volt standard outlet for charging is usually straightforward.
Are There EV Chargers at Gas Stations?
In 2021, the United States had around 108,000 public charging ports. For every gas station in the United States, that’s approximately one port. However, keep in mind that not every gas station has an EV charger. If you are looking to charge your EV on the go, you can take advantage of several apps that provide information about public charging stations.
Some top-rated apps for finding public EV chargers are:
- Open Charge Map
Can I Charge Two EVs at Once?
Yes, but you have some options.
Option 1: Get a dual charger like the ClipperCreek HCS-D40 Dual Charging Station. The HCS-D40 can charge two cars at 32 amps on a single circuit. A total of 32 Amps is available while both EVs are charging, and up to 16 Amps when just one is charging.
Option 2: Install a pair of chargers on one circuit. Specific chargers are made to intelligently exchange power to avoid overloading the circuit. This option involves more complex electrical work for around the same price as many dual chargers.
What are Time of Use (TOU) Rates?
Using TOU rates allows you to pay for power depending on the time of day. Electricity is more expensive during “peak hours” when demand is high and less expensive during “off-peak” hours.
Best Time(s) of Day to Charge Your EV at Home
Charging between midnight and 3 p.m. saves money and maximizes clean energy consumption. Even better, you can set a charging timer so your vehicle charges after midnight and still has enough range for the following day’s commute.
Peak Shaving and Load Shifting
Reduced distribution system losses and longer transformer life are benefits of reducing peak load and moving it to off-peak times. Also, off-peak power pricing benefits EV drivers.
Best Time(s) of Day to Charge Your EV in Public
It isn’t standard practice for public charging stations to vary in price by the time of day. However, if you plan to charge at work or in public instead of at home, you should consider the total price difference from charging at home.
What Is Bidirectional EV Charging?
Unlike unidirectional (one-way) EV chargers, bidirectional (two-way) EV chargers allow electricity to flow both ways.
Vehicle to Grid (V2G)
EVs communicate with the utility grid to provide electricity. Many people think bidirectional charging will be vital in the future power grid and the growing usage of renewable energy sources.
Vehicle to Home (V2H)
An electric vehicle can also supply electricity to a house or workplace through its electrical panel, which is helpful during power shortages.
What Are The Benefits of Bidirectional Charging?
Simply said, bidirectional charging enables us to charge electric vehicle batteries while simultaneously re-directing energy from the batteries back to the power system to assist with balancing demand surges.
Can I Make/Save Money through Bidirectional Charging?
With a bidirectional EV charger, EV owners can earn money by selling extra energy back to the grid. This includes electricity from solar panels on your roof, renewable load balancing, your home’s power supply, or a public charger.
How Do I Find An Electrician to Install My EV Charger?
As stated earlier, when looking for the right electrician to install your EVSE, it’s essential to hire an electrician with experience and knowledge of EVSE installation. ClipperCreek offers an installer resource that can help you locate an experienced electrician in your area.
The demand for EVs is growing, and more people than ever are considering purchasing one. If you are in the market, hopefully, this article cleared up some burning questions about EVs and EVSE. Be sure to check out other EV-related articles to learn more.
Our platform connects you and your asset to a network of local, compliant, and certified service providers for any EV charger maintenance, repair, or installation. To learn more about onboarding and becoming a provider, contact the team for additional information or a platform demo.