Section Topics

EV Misconceptions
Batteries
Charging Your EV
Public Charging Stations (EVSEs)
Private Charging Stations (EVSEs)
General EV Questions

See your most common EV questions answered below!

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Section Topics

EV Misconceptions
Batteries
Charging Your EV
Public Charging Stations (EVSEs)
Private Charging Stations (EVSEs)
General EV Questions

EV Misconceptions

Q:Are EVs less powerful than gas vehicles?

A: People often think EVs underperform in the speed and power category when compared with today’s gas cars. Today’s electric vehicles meet, and in many cases exceed, the performance of comparable gasoline or diesel vehicles. In addition to having all of the options and conveniences of their conventionally powered counterparts, some have even more advanced electronic features, such as battery power gauge and built-in directions to the nearest public charging station. The instant torque and acceleration of an electric motor offers a more responsive feel than a gas or diesel engine can ever provide.
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Q:Will EVs explode in a serious crash?

A: We’ve all seen the news of a laptop or another electronic device catch fire because the lithium ion battery overheated or malfunctioned. There have even been cases where it’s happened to cell phones. Batteries store energy, and big batteries, like what are used in electric cars store a lot of energy. However there really is no need to worry. Laptops, cell phones and other consumer electronics don’t use automotive-grade batteries and they don’t employ sophisticated battery management systems which monitor the cells, cool or heat them when necessary, and contain them in the rare case of cell or module failure.

The automotive industry has some of the most stringent safety standards of any industry. Cars are subject to various crash tests and extensively rated in multiple categories. With hundreds of thousands of electric cars on the roads around the globe, there have been very few reported instances of car fires. In fact, using the limited data available today, it would seem that electric cars are much less likely to be involved in a fire than a gasoline car.
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Q:Is it true that EVs can't be used for long trips because of the time it takes to charge them?

A: Most electric cars sold today are capable of DC Fast Charging. This process uses a high speed Direct Current Fast Charger and is capable of adding over 200 miles of range to the EV in an hour. The DC Fast chargers are just beginning to proliferate and soon will be along many of the major freeways allowing long distance traveling in electric vehicles with minimal inconvenience.

These fast charging stations enable very long trips, and even cross country trips in an electric car. Remember, there was once a time when there were very few gasoline stations, and many automobile owners had to buy gas from hardware stores. We are just beginning the electric car revolution, the fast charge infrastructure in coming, but it will take a while before it’s ubiquitous.

Also, if you enjoy the occasional long road trip, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) offer electric vehicle technology alongside a gasoline powered engine which will kick-in in once their battery’s charge is depleted. While the all-electric range (AER) on many current PHEVs is lower than that of battery, or full, electric vehicles (BEVs), a PHEV's gas engine, like other gas powered vehicles, can go several hundred miles on a full tank.
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Q:Doesn’t there need to be charging stations on every corner, like gas stations, before we can seriously switch to EVs?

A: Electric vehicle refueling really is a paradigm shift from refueling gasoline or diesel cars. It’s understandable why many people unfamiliar with EVs would believe that there needs to be charging stations on every corner before people will embrace them. However, the fact is most people will refuel their EVs at home at night, something you can’t do with a gasoline car. There is definitely a need for public charging stations, especially the DC Fast charge stations which would better allow for long distance travel in an EV, but the reality is that most people won’t frequently use public charging stations since they leave their home every day fully charged

The challenge comes with people living in apartments, multi-family complexes and condos where EV charging currently isn’t available. In those circumstances, the owner may rely predominantly on public charging. If that’s the case, the owner needs to secure a parking spot where they can charge their car. More and more apartment buildings and multi-family residences are starting to install charging options for their residents. Additionally, some states have passed legislation that will help EV owners install charging equipment for private use, without needing to worry about an association or a landlord saying that they cannot. If you don’t live in a private residence where you know you can plug in your car when you need to, make sure you know your rights as a tenant, and have a workable solution for your charging needs before you get an EV.
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Q:Can the average person afford an EV – or are they just toys for the rich?

A: Most new technologies are expensive when they first appear on the market, but once competition begins to happen and improvements are made, the products become more and more affordable. For example, when cell phones, plasma TVs and laptop computers initially hit the market, they were too expensive for the average person to justify the purchase, but within a few years the cost reduced enough that most people could afford them. It’s clear that EVs, if anything, are currently in their infancy, and are set to continue as a rapidly advancing and growing industry.

When the recent wave of electric cars first started appearing in showrooms, they were more expensive than their gasoline equivalents, prompting some people to call them “toys for the rich.” Each year, however, the price of electric vehicles continues to drop, and the gap closes between gasoline cars and those powered by electricity. The initial cost of an EV is still a little more than its gasoline equivalent, but the operating costs are much lower in the EV. Therefore, the TCO (total cost of ownership) for the electric vehicle is actually less than a comparable gasoline car in many instances, even if the initial purchase price is higher. State and Federal incentives can also lower initial purchase price, so check to see what incentive you may qualify for before you purchase your next car.

As EV technology advances, these cars will become cheaper. For example, with price tags under $40,000 (before incentives), the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 are a few of the new EVs aimed at mass market adoption.
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Q:Why should I consider purchasing an EV if they have been out for several years now and have not made a significant industry impact?

A: We’ve only just begun the transition into electric cars. As of 2016, electric cars have only been on sale in the U.S. for four years, and there have only been a handful of electric car options available to the public. There are hundreds of different choices of conventionally fueled cars, in all sizes and shapes, so it’s no surprise they vastly outsell electric cars.

Still, electric car sales have been gaining momentum and annual US sales have exceeded 100,000 cars for each of the past two years. There are nearly half a million plug-in electric vehicles on the road in the US, and that’s happened in only a few short years. As more electric vehicle choices are offered, and more manufacturers have an electric car offering in their showroom, the electric vehicle adoption rate is going to accelerate exponentially, especially within the next 5 years.
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Q:Are EVs worse for the environment than gas cars since they just transfer the pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack?

A: To truly measure the environmental impact, you need to look at the “well to wheels” emissions of a vehicle. With electric cars, that means looking at the source of electricity generation used to power the car. This varies greatly depending on where you live. For instance, there are some areas that use a high percentage of renewable energy in their electricity generation. Conversely, there are areas that use predominantly coal-based power plants.

Burning coal is bad. In fact, it’s just about the dirtiest form of electricity generation we currently employ. Luckily, we continue to decommission the oldest and worst polluting coal power plants every year, as we slowly transition off coal. According to the US Department of Energy, the good news is that even if you are charging your car with electricity that comes from coal burning generation, it is still cleaner than a car powered by gasoline or diesel fuel.
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Q:Do EVs have many of the same features as regular gas-powered cars (i.e. air conditioning, heat, radios, etc.)?

A: Electric cars have all of the accessories and functionality of conventionally powered cars. In fact, in many instances they have even more of the latest tech options because the rest of the vehicle is, in nature, cutting-edge technology.
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Batteries

Q:Are batteries in EVs bad for the environment and poisonous to landfills once we need to replace them?

A: Today’s electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are vastly different than lead acid automotive batteries of the past and not nearly as toxic. However, the real reason they won’t pose an issue with regards to landfills is they won’t be discarded at all. The end-of-life for automotive use of an electric car’s battery pack is usually considered once the pack can only hold 70% of its original capacity. That is expected to occur after about 7 to 8 years of normal use and once the vehicle has well more than 100,000 miles on it. At that point the battery pack will then begin its second use life. Since the pack can still hold about 70% of energy it could when new, it’s still very valuable. Utilities will buy them to use for energy storage and load balancing. Companies are forming now that will buy them, to sell to consumers for home back-up systems in the case of power outages and the car manufacturers are already forming partnerships with other entities to utilize the used battery packs for a variety of other uses. Used automotive battery packs will actually be used longer for their second life than they were in the electric vehicle. Then, after a couple decades of use, they will be fully recycled. They are simply too valuable to just toss in a landfill.
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Q:How long do EV batteries keep their charge?

A: Once charged, the high voltage battery of an electric car will hold the charge for a long time, many months in fact. Every car is slightly different but they all have small parasitic loads that slowly use energy, even if the vehicle isn’t being used. However, most electric cars won’t lose more than 1% of their battery state of charge per week of inactivity.
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Q:How long do EV batteries typically last before they need to be replaced?

A: The batteries used in electric vehicles are much higher quality than what is used in basic consumer electronics, and are engineered for longer life. They are good for thousands of discharge/recharge cycles and the auto manufacturers offer comprehensive battery warranties, many of which cover the battery for 100,000 miles.

Based on the data collected from current electric vehicles, there’s no reason to believe the battery on a new electric vehicle won’t provide at least 8 to 10 years of service and well over 100,000 miles.
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Q:How much, on average, do EV batteries cost?

A: This is a tough question. Manufacturers have been reluctant to reveal the cost of a replacement battery. Since the high voltage battery packs from all currently sold EVs are still under warranty, the customers haven’t had to buy a replacement pack, but that will change in a couple of years as the original 8 or 10 year battery warranties expire.

The problem with giving a price now, is that since the cost of the Lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles is dropping by about 7% to 8% each year, we would only be estimating what they will cost once the warranties are up, and people actually have to pay for a replacement pack. Urged by consumer pressure, Nissan recently placed the cost of a replacement battery pack for the popular Nissan LEAF electric car at $5,499.00.
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Q:Does cold weather hurt an EV’s battery pack?

A: Cold temperatures do not hurt batteries, but it does temporarily affect their performance. Cold temperatures affect batteries of all chemistries, and the lithium ion batteries of modern electric vehicles are no different. Basically, the cold temperatures slow down the chemical reactions in the battery cells and this lowers the power they can produce. This will reduce the power sent to the motor and also reduce the range the car is capable of.

Every EV is affected by cold weather and the range can be impacted by as much as 30% in extreme adverse conditions. The good news is that most electric cars have thermal management systems that can heat or cool the battery when needed. These systems will help offset the effects the cold weather has on your range, but not eliminate it.
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Charging Your EV

Q:What are the different types of EV charging?

A: There are three different types (levels) of charging currently available:

Level 1: Level 1 charging is using a regular household outlet to charge your EV with the cable that comes with the car (no equipment installation is required). In the US, a regular household outlet can charge and EV at 120 volts (in Europe, the standard household outlet delivers 230 volts, so that will deliver more power and charge the car faster). In the US, a typical 120 volt household outlet will deliver about 1.5 kW of power. This low power delivery will take a long time to fully charge an EV's battery and can take 10 hours to as much as 60 hours if you have an EV with a very large battery, like a Tesla Model S. Level 1 charging can be very effective, however, for charging plug-in hybrid electric vehicles though, since their batteries are smaller than a BEV's battery. In most instances, you can fully recharge most PHEVs from a 120 volt outlet in 5 to 8 hours.

Level 2: Level 2 charging requires a 240 Volt supply and a 240 volt EVSE. The EVSE can be hardwired, or plugged into a 240 volt receptacle. Such receptacles are commonly used for electric clothes dryers or electric cooking ranges. A 240 volt EVSE can supply the vehicle anywhere from 3.3 kW to 20 kW, although most commercial and residential EVSEs only provide up to 7.2 kW. Most PHEVs available today only can only accept up to 3.7 kW and the majority of BEVs on the market can only accept up to 7.2 kW when charging from a level 2 supply. Depending on the size of the battery the car has, most BEVs will fully recharge in 3 to 8 hours while charging from a level 2 source.

DC Fast Charge: DC fast charge is the fastest way to recharge an electric vehicle. DC fast charge stations are only available as public, commercial stations since they are very expensive and require power that most households cannot deliver. DC fast charge is sometimes called "level 3 charging,” however this is technically not correct. That is because the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) hasn't officially announced the specifications for what will eventually be termed "level 3 charging" for electric vehicles.
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Q:What is an “EVSE,” and is it different than a charging station?

A: EVSE stands for “Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment” and is technically the proper name for what many people call “charging stations.” There are EVSEs for private, at-home use, as well as those for public, commercial use. There are different levels of charging as well for both private and public EVSEs.

The reason charging stations should technically be called EVSEs is because they don’t actually charge the car – they supply the electricity to charge the car. The actual charging equipment is built into the vehicle. The EVSE just allows the safe delivery of electricity to the charging equipment that is built into the car.
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Q:Do all charging stations (EVSEs) work on all the different EVs currently on the market?

A: All modern electric vehicles use the same connector in their respective markets, except Tesla products. Tesla uses a proprietary connector but they also include with the car an adaptor that allows the car to charge on the standard connector for that country. In the US, the standard connector is called the J1772. All EVSE’s purchased in the US will have the J1772 connector on it.

In Europe, the standard connector is called the Mennekes Type 2, and all electric cars, again except for Tesla use this standard for home charging.
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Q:Will my electricity bill increase by a lot because of charging my EV?

A: Your electric bill will indeed go up - after all, you are using electricity to power your car. However, just like gasoline use, it will depend on how much and how efficiently you drive. Most electric cars will average 3 to 4 miles per kWh, so you can figure out about how much you should expect your electric bill to increase depending on how much you drive.

For example, say you drive the national average of 15,000 miles per year and you pay the national average of 12 cents per kWh for your electricity. That would mean your annual cost to charge your car would be about $515.00 (15,000 miles driven divided by the efficiency of 3.5 miles per kWh, then multiplied by 0.12 - the cost in cents per kWh). So someone driving the average EV, paying the national average for electricity, and driving the average amount of miles per year would pay – on average – about $43.00 to drive 1,250 miles per month.
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Q:Can I use other electric devices in the house, such as my central air conditioning, while my EV is charging?

A: You will be able to use any electrical appliance you want to while your EV is charging, unless your electrician improperly installed your home EVSE. This is another reason why it’s extremely important to hire a licensed electrical contractor to install your home charging equipment.
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Q:How much does it cost to charge an EV?

A: The cost to charge an electric vehicle depends on two things. First is the size of the battery. Some electric car batteries can hold as much as 90 kWh of electricity, while some store less than 20 kWh in their battery. Obviously, the larger the battery, the greater the electric range the car will have, but the cost to charge the car will also be higher.

The second factor is the price of electricity where you are charging the vehicle. The average cost of electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kWh. However, it can be as high as 34 cents per kWh in Hawaii and as low as fewer than 7 cents per kWh in states like Idaho, Louisiana and Washington. Take a look at your electricity bill to see what you are paying for a kWh of electricity. Using the national average of 12 cents per kWh, an EV like the Nissan LEAF will cost about $3.00 to charge and can go about 85 miles.
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Q:How much do charging stations (EVSEs) typically cost?

A: There are many different charging stations (EVSEs) available from many different manufacturers with different levels of functionality. Some are available for as little as $300.00, while others can be as expensive as $1,000.00. They will all charge your electric vehicle, but some have features like Wi-Fi connectivity for energy monitoring, others allow the user to select the amount of power delivered to the car and others let you select the length of the cable that comes with it is. The good news is there are so many choices you can easily find one that suits both your budget and your needs.
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Q:Can I install a charging station (EVSE) at my house?

A: Charging stations (EVSEs) are intended for both private (i.e. your home) or pubic (i.e. workplace, retail parking space, multi-family building) installation. Most are suitable for outdoor or indoor use and can charge your vehicle in any weather condition. You should always consult with a licensed electrician for an estimate of the cost to install your home charging station before you purchase an electric vehicle. In most instances the cost won’t be more than a couple hundred dollars, but if your home has an older electric service that hasn’t been upgraded, you may not have the capacity to add another dedicated 40amp circuit. In that case, you may have to upgrade your electric service to accommodate the charging station and that can cost a couple thousand dollars.
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Q:Can you charge an EV in the rain or snow?

A: You can charge an electric car while it’s raining or snowing without concern. The charge ports on the vehicles are designed for charging during inclement weather so there is no need for concern for the car or the operator’s safety. The connector de-energizes as soon as the operator grabs the handle and presses the trigger to disconnect it from the car.
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Q:Can the electrical grid handle millions of electric cars charging at once?

A: According to a US Department of Energy study, the United States national grid can handle 180 million electric vehicles without the need to increase our electric capacity and upgrade the grid (provide link). The fact is that the transition to electric vehicles will be a slow and steady one. We won’t wake up one day and add ten million plug-in cars to the market. It’s going to happen at a pace that will allow our electricity providers to gradually make adjustments as necessary, just like they did when central air conditioning started being installed in the majority of new homes, or when telecommunications providers installed more towers when cell phones started becoming more prevalent.

Plus, the vast majority of electric vehicle charging is done at home, particularly at night when there is a surplus of electricity. EV owners in many areas can even choose time- of-use electricity plans to take advantage of the reduced rates at night when demand is low, and charge their car for much less than it costs to charge during the daytime hours.
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Public Charging Stations (EVSEs)

Q:How much do the public/commercial-use charging stations (EVSEs) cost?

A: Commercial grade EVSEs suitable for public use can cost anywhere from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on what features the station has, and how much energy it can deliver.
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Q:What is the cost of installing a public charging station (EVSE) at my property?

A: It’s not possible to really answer this without knowing some information, such as: Where is your property located? Is it on a major thoroughfare, or on a quiet back street of a small community? How many vehicles would you like to be able to charge at once? What kinds of businesses are nearby? Are these businesses quick-serve restaurants or movie theaters? The type of business will determine how long the customer will be there, and therefore what type of charging equipment is appropriate for that location.

These and more questions need to be answered before you’ll know what type of charging station (EVSE) suits your property’s needs (Installation can range from about one thousand dollars to many thousands of dollars, depending on numerous factors).
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Q:Where is the best place to install a public charging station (EVSE)?

A: The location of the EVSE is a very important decision to make. There are cost factors to consider, but generally the best place usually isn’t the closest parking spots to the businesses. Locating the EV charging equipment in prime parking spots close to the building increases the chance that people will park there that don’t have EV, just for convenience and the EVSE’s will be blocked from use.
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Q:As a commercial property manager, do I need a Wi-Fi-capable/public charging station (EVSE)?

A: Depending on your needs, you may be able to install a much lower cost EVSE that isn’t networked. However, public EVSEs that are networked allow the owner to charge fees to use it, monitor its usage, and obtain data on the charging that takes place. Therefore, networked public charging stations do give the owner a lot of controls for charging, but they are significantly more expensive.
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Q:How do I calculate the cost benefit for having a public charging station (EVSE) on my property?

A: Depending on what kinds of businesses you have on the property, it is possible to calculate the benefit of offering EV charging on site, but it will require time to gather the data. There are restaurants that report customers staying longer and spending more money when they are plugged in at the site than the average customer that isn’t, and there are other case studies from retail outlets that have demonstrated that having EV charging equipment available for their customers has been a financially sound decision.
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Q:Does a DC Fast charging station (EVSE) make sense for my property?

A: Whether or not a DC fast charger is right for your specific location will depend on factors like: location, types of businesses on site, local electric supplier demand charge rates, amount of available parking on site and more.
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Q:Will I have to pay demand charges for installing a DC Fast charger on my property?

A: It’s possible, depending on the amount of energy the DC Fast charger will deliver. Demand charges will vary from utility to utility and even from month to month. There are now low power DC Fast chargers becoming available which can avoid demand charges. It’s important to contact your utility provider to find out about possible demand charges before installing a DC Fast charger on your site.
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Private Charging Stations (EVSEs)

Q:When it comes to private charging stations, do I need a 240 volt (Level 2) EVSE? Can't I just charge my EV using a standard household 120 volt (Level 1) outlet at home?

A: You can charge your electric car from a standard 120 volt household outlet, but you may find it insufficient, depending on your driving needs. This is known as Level 1 charging, and it is the most basic of all charging options. Regular 120 volt household outlets deliver a low amount of electricity, and will only add about 3 to 4 miles of driving range per hour of charging. If you have a plug-in hybrid that has a relatively small battery, 120 volt charging may be all you need. However if you have an electric car with a larger battery, you may not be able to fully charge the battery overnight with 120 volt charging.

A 240 volt, or Level 2, private charging station will deliver 20 to 30 miles of range per hour of charging at your home, so you’ll always be fully charged by the next day even if you completely drained the battery from that day’s driving. Installing a proper Level 2 home charging station will allow you to get the most out of your electric car.
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Q:Can my home support a 240 volt (Level 2) charging station (EVSE), or do I need to upgrade my electric service?

A: Most homes built after 1980 have sufficient capacity to add a 240 volt/40 amp dedicated circuit necessary for a basic level 2 home charging station. In many cases older homes do also, as they have had their electric service upgraded at some point in the past. You should check with a licensed electrician to see if your service can support the added circuit for the charging station, or if you would need to upgrade the service to do so.
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Q:How much does a private/residential-use charging station (EVSE) typically cost?

A: Electric vehicle charging stations for private use can be purchased for as little as $300 and can cost as much as $1,000, depending on what features and power supply you desire. However, a lot of states offer incentives and discounts for purchasing EVSEs (both for private and public use), and depending on where you live, utilities companies offer lower charging rates for electricity during typical charging hours (i.e. overnight).
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Q:How long should a charging cable for a private charging station (EVSE) be?

A: You should decide where you plan to install the charging station in your garage and then measure how long the cable needs to be to reach any parking spot in the garage or outside the garage if you plan to charge it there. Cables can be as short at 12 feet and as long as 25 feet, so there is a big difference to consider. Know where you plan to charge first so you don’t come up short. It may be a good idea to get a cable a little longer than what you need now, just in case something changes in the future. You can’t add length to the cable at a later time.
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Q:Should I buy a charging station (EVSE) that plugs in or is permanently mounted and hard-wired for my private use?

A: Some charging stations are now available with a plug in option as well as the standard hard-wired unit. The plug in EVSEs usually come with either a NEMA 14-50, NEMA 6-50 or NEMA 6-30 plug which you simply plug into the appropriate 240 volt outlet. This model is becoming more and more popular as it allows the owner the freedom to simply unplug the unit and take it with you. You can then plug it in at your destination, provided there is the correct outlet there.

An example of how this may be convenient is if the owner had a second vacation home and didn’t want to install two charging stations. They could simply install outlets in both garages and carry the charging station with them when they visited the second home – or if they wanted to charge at their parent’s house when they visited them. This offers a lower cost solution since you only need one charging station and only need to install a couple 240 volt outlets.
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Q:What advantage is there in getting a Wi-Fi-capable/networked charging station (EVSE) for my private use?

A: Wi-Fi capable charging stations charge EVs the same way as stations that don’t offer Wi-Fi connectivity. The advantage in having a Wi-Fi enabled station is purely for energy use monitoring. Many people will find these features unnecessary, but if you like obtaining data and keeping track of your energy use, you may like the features that some Wi-Fi enabled charging stations provide.
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Q:Can I install a private charging station (EVSE) outside of my home?

A: Yes, most EVSEs are rated for indoor or outdoor use. If you plan on installing it outside, make sure to check with the manufacturer.
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General EV Questions

Q:What's the difference between Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)?

A: Here on EVSpace, when we say "EVs" we are referring to plug-in electric vehicles. There are two types of EV's: battery electric vehicles aka “BEVs” (these only have an electric motor - no internal combustion gas engine – and are therefore “all electric”) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles aka “PHEVs” (these have both an electric motor and an internal combustion gas engine which is only utilized once the charged battery which runs the electric motor is depleted). Hybrid electric vehicles, or HEVs, are different than both BEVs and PHEVs because they do not have the ability to plug in to recharge their battery. HEVs have a very small traction battery which is recharged by regenerative braking and also from the internal combustion engine; they always need their internal combustion engine and cannot operate on battery alone.

Since HEVs don't plug in, they are basically just highly efficient internal combustion engine cars. Here at EVSpace, we are focusing on providing information about, and helping to educate the public on, cars that plug in and use grid electricity as energy to propel the vehicle.
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Q:Can an EV effectively serve your primary transportation needs?

A: Often, people will say that EVs would be a great second car, but you can't use them for your primary transportation needs. They believe that while it may be acceptable for commuting and running local errands, the limited range will prevent them from using it as their primary vehicle. Then, once they get it, they realize they aren’t really hindered as much as they thought they would be by the limited range, and end up using the EV as their primary vehicle.

In a recent UK study, 82% of EV owners who participated and who also had a gasoline or diesel car in the household, reported that the EV was indeed the primary vehicle used in the household. This isn’t really a surprise. EVs cost less to operate, and offer a better driving experience. Why wouldn’t they be the first choice?
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Q:How cautious should I be about an EV’s limited range?

A: It is true that electric cars have a shorter range than gasoline cars. That’s because gasoline is an extremely energy-dense fuel, not because gas cars are more efficient (they aren’t). Because of the shorter range, the driver needs to be a little more “range aware” than they do with a gasoline car that can travel many hundreds of miles between refueling. However, battery technology is constantly improving, so the range of electric vehicles continues to increase.

Many of the first generation of battery electric cars (BEVs) could only travel 70 or 80 miles per charge, but we now have electric cars that can go 200 to 250 miles per charge. As ranges increase, the concern of not having enough range for your daily driving needs is diminishing. Also, these cars have sophisticated range estimators, along with various audible and visual warnings to let the operator know when they are running low on battery so they never completely run out. There are over 50,000 public charging stations in the U.S. and this number is constantly growing.

It should be noted that 10 – 30 miles is about the average American’s daily one-way commute. All full electric vehicles (also known as battery electric vehicles or BEVs) can go distances at least three times this amount on a full charge – and the battery on many current plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) fall exactly within this range as well. This would mean that PHEV drivers who have charging stations at their home, as well as charging options near their work, can fully recharge their battery once they get to the office, and then once again when they get home. The day’s roundtrip commute would therefore be covered by their PHEV’s charged battery without ever needing to tap into its gas engine.
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Q:How much do EVs typically cost – and can you lease them?

A: Just like gasoline or diesel cars, electric vehicles come in many different forms and prices. For instance, you can buy a two-seat smart electric drive for $25,000 or a Tesla Model X electric crossover SUV for over $100,000. All electric vehicles qualify for federal tax credits for up to $7,500 and some states have additional incentives for buying an electric car so make sure you check with your accountant so you know how much of a discount you’ll qualify for. Electric cars can be leased or purchased outright, just like any other car.
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Q:Do EVs require a lot of service and maintenance?

A: The good news is that very little service and maintenance is required for electric vehicles. Most electric vehicle manufacturers will recommend only an annual inspection to make sure everything on the vehicle is working OK. Unlike gasoline or diesel cars, there is nearly no maintenance required for a full battery electric vehicle (BEV). Other than replacing tires and wiper blades, there is little regular maintenance. No need to worry about oil changes, spark plugs, air filters and the many other regular maintenance items on gasoline or diesel cars. Some of these costs, however, still apply for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which do contain a gas engine system, although it is used less due to the all-electric range (AER) capabilities of the car.

For both full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), the brake pads will last longer because the regenerative braking systems will use the electric motor to slow the vehicle down in most instances. Some electric car owners have reported getting more than 75,000 miles on their brake pads, something very difficult to do on a conventionally-powered gas vehicle.
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Q:How far does the average EV go on a full charge?

A: The range of an electric car varies greatly from vehicle to vehicle. There are some full electric cars (also known as battery electric vehicles, or BEVs) that get as much as 260 miles per charge; the second category of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids or PHEVs, have a much less all-electric range (AER) than BEVs, since they have a gasoline engine that can turn on and extend the range for several hundred miles once their battery is out of energy.
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