At the end of November 2016, there were approximately 540,000 electric cars on the road in the United States. That accounted for only 0.22% of all cars on the road. But that number is certain to grow exponentially in the years ahead.
If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle, one thing you will need to know about is charging it. You will need to know how frequently it will need to be charged, and where public charging stations are. But you will also need to have your own EVSE, which stands for electric vehicle service equipment. EVSE is a fancy term for your charger. It is what connects the power source to the vehicle’s charging port. It can be mounted on a wall or pedestal.
There are three charging levels:
- Level 1 charging is the slowest form. It uses a plug to connect a standard 120V household outlet to the car’s charger. This is appropriate if you travel less than 40 miles and can let the car charge all night.
- DC Fast Charging (aka Level 3) utilizes a gas pump-sized machine to deliver about 80% charge in 30 minutes. There is no set standard for this type of charging – check with your vehicle manufacturer.
- Level 2 charging is what is recommended for most home EVSEs. These chargers provide power at 220v or 240v and up to 30 amps. An hour of charging adds 10-25 miles, although that will vary by car model. Brands such as the Chevy Volt can charge 11 miles per hour, while some Tesla models can charge up to 60 miles an hour. Level 2 chargers cost around $500 to $600, which does not include installation. Check for federal and state incentives.
Finally, before having your home charging system installed, make sure the area in which you plan to put the station can handle 30 amps. If you are not sure, check with an electrician.