If you have recently decided to make the trade from gas pump to plug and you’re the new owner of an electric-powered car, you’ll now have a convenient and affordable way to travel. However, with electric vehicles, you’ll need to plan ahead a bit and have a charging station installed and ready-to-use at all times so your car is ready to go when you are.
We can help!
As you may already know, Portland is a major market for electric vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for every 1,000 households in Portland, there are 8.8 EVs. That’s more than any other metropolitan area in the nation. So, if you’re looking to jump on the low-emission bandwagon, we’ve got some helpful information about charging your EV at home.
If having an electric car is going to be as convenient as it is eco-friendly, you’re going to need to charge it at home. Most plug-in electric cars come with a Level 1 charger that you can plug into any electrical outlet, which carries an ordinary current of 110 volts.
A Level 1 charger will charge your EV, from empty to full, in 10 to 20 hours depending on your make and model. If you’re like most people who are used to gassing up in 10 minutes, that might sound like a very long time. If so, a Level 2 charger might be more your speed. It can charge your car in four to eight hours, allowing you to have it charged overnight and ready in the morning.
While you may have an outlet in your garage ready for your Level 1 charger, you might be weary of the wiring. In that case, you’ll want to have an electrician look things over. They will need to make sure the outlet you’ve selected is on a dedicated circuit, serving no other outlets or switches. The electrician should also make sure the electrical panel will have enough capacity to deal with charging your car.
Level 2 Charging
Many electric car drivers want the speed of a Level 2 charger, which will need to be professionally installed. Basic Level 2 chargers have standard safety features and status lights, while improved, “smart” chargers have features like advanced displays, timers, and the ability to communicate with smart phones and meters. You’ll need to have an electrical contractor choose a spot in your garage where the charging cord won’t get in the way. They will assess the location and size of your electrical panel and existing circuits, and make any upgrades that may be necessary to account for the additional load. One of our electricians who specialize in car charger installations can also tell you about the associated tax credits and rebates.
Our certified team of electricians can install level 2 chargers that can provide 50 to 100 amps of power, charging your car quickly and efficiently. Plugging into a regular outlet can take far too long to charge and it is not as safe.
How It Works
Level 2 chargers charge through a box and a cord that improves safety by waiting to send power to the plug until it is plugged into the electric vehicle. These chargers allow for a wide range of charging speeds or about 70 miles of range per hour of charging and simply draw from the home’s electricity. Currently, all electric cars that are being sold in the United States right now are able to be charged with a level 2 charging station and our professional team is able to install chargers that work with Tesla, Nissan, Leaf, and Mitsubishi.
Charge Times and Battery Capacities
It takes about 8 hours to charge a Leaf from empty to full, but often your car’s battery is not completely empty. For example, it won’t make a difference if you’re driving a 40-mile Volt, a 100-mile Leaf or a 240-mile Tesla Roadster. If your drive is just 40 miles, you’ll only need approximately 3 hours to charge the battery to full capacity. Already, companies are working on developing electric vehicles that are capable of even faster charging.
If you have an electric vehicle and decide to plug your car into the wall at home, you won’t be charging your car very fast. In fact, every hour of charging will likely only add 4 miles of charge to the car, so installing in a level 2 charger is well worth the investment. In addition, hiring a certified team of electricians to install the unit is important, so you don’t end up wiring something incorrectly, which could cause damage to both your car and the charging unit. In addition, do you research on tax credits or rebates, as often there are federal, citywide, or state rebates for these sorts of installations.
Congrats on your new electric car! Our experts at Prairie Electric are more than happy to wire a state-of-the-art car charger for you. Contact us today with any questions you may have, or to book an appointment!