What to Consider When Buying an Electric Car?
While knowing your EV’s range is important, knowing where and how you can actually charge your car is even more crucial.
Yeah – we get it. If you drive an ICE car, you can pull into any one of the bajillion gas stations. Blah, blah, blah (queue all the haters shelling for the oil corporations, we see y’all in our FB comments – YAWN).
EVs are a new technology altogether. They’re a changing of the guard. And with any change, there are a lot of unknowns. Where do you charge? What kind of plug do you use? What if you can’t find a charging station?
Chill bro. We got you. Let’s break down the basics of EV charging.
Where to charge
If you drive an ICE, you’re caught in a loop: fill ‘er up, drive, fill ‘er up, drive. Always coming back to the gas station – like a moth to the flame. Waiting in that line again. Grabbing that dirty handle again. Pouring your paycheck into the pump again. Don’t you think it’s time to break free?
With EVs, you can charge ANYWHERE: at home, at the office, in parking lots, heck – even at the park.
Yeah, sure. In the early days of EVs, it may have been harder to find a charge. But we live in the present. And presently, charging your EV is literally as easy as plugging in your smartphone.
Here are the most common places where you can charge your EV:
- At home
The biggest advantage for many EV owners is home charging. No more public stations, waiting in lines, or avoiding eye contact with the creep at the pump next to you. Plus, the convenience of waking up with a full battery cannot be overstated.
- At work
Topping off your battery at your 9 to 5 ensures you have a full battery at the end of your workday. More and more workplaces are installing EV chargers as part of their sustainability initiatives and to improve employee satisfaction – works for me!
- At public charging stations
Governments and companies around the country are making public charging stations more widely available. While not as convenient as charging at home, they still have their place in the ‘EV ecosystem’, especially for EV drivers who may not have access to private charging (living in apartments, condos, etc).
- Gas stations
Yes, I know what I said about the gas corporations above (and I stand by it!), but even THEY can see the writing on the wall. Gas stations are tapping into the potential of EVs by offering DC fast charging stations. While not as instant as gassing up, they can still give you a full charge in about 30 minutes – enough time to eat a snack, drink a coffee, and post a new photo of your EV to the Gram.
- Malls and supermarkets
Top up your EV battery while buying groceries, having dinner, or watching a movie. More shopping centers are putting up charging stations in their parking spaces.
Bottom line is, EVs offer a greater chance of integration with your everyday life. You don’t need to make special trips. You can go about your business and charge when and where you need to.
But what about the chargers?
There are three levels of EV charging: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (otherwise known as DC fast charging). Basically, the higher the level, the faster charging rate you’ll get.
Level 1 chargers
Level 1 charging uses a standard, run of the mill, AC power plug (NEMA 5-15 if we’re being technical). While the most convenient of the three, its major drawback is the limited power output of household outlets. At 2.3 kW, you’ll get around 4 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging. It’s worth noting though that the average American only drives about 40 miles a day. So, while Level 1 sounds slow, it should be more than enough for most drivers.
Level 2 chargers
Level 2 charging usually plugs into a large appliance outlet (also called an RV outlet, or NEMA 14-50). They can be found in residential, business, and public parking locations. You can get up to 75 miles of range per hour from a Level 2 charger. Most EV owners opt to invest in Level 2 chargers in their homes since it’s faster than Level 1, giving you a full charge overnight.
Level 3 chargers
Level 3 chargers, or DC fast chargers use direct current (DC) to charge up your battery, eliminating the need for AC/DC conversion (fun fact: all EVs run on DC power, AC power gets converted to DC inside the vehicle). This allows Level 3 chargers to bring DC power directly to your battery for faster and more powerful charging. Taking your EV from empty to full in just 20 minutes!
Keep in mind that charging speeds can be affected by many different factors, such as your car’s battery capacity. Not all EV batteries are made equal, and some have limitations when it comes to the amount of power they can take. Case in point, first generation EVs that are only capable of 50kW charging can’t take advantage of 350kW fast charging.
OK, but what about the plugs?
EVs come with different charging ports, which means the shape of the plugs vary as well. Not all public charging stations will be compatible with every type of EV. The basic division is between Tesla and everybody else.
Every EV in the US (besides Tesla) uses a standard plug for Level 1 and Level 2 charging. This plug is called an SAE-J1772 (or a J1772, or a J-plug). But for Level 3 charging, every EV besides Tesla uses another standard, known as Combined Charging System (or simply CCS). CHAdeMO is another Level 3 standard, but it is only used by a few select Japanese automakers and is basically on its way out.
Teslas are exclusive (at least when it comes to charging). They use a proprietary plug for all levels of charging, including DC fast charging (which they call Supercharging).
Is there ANY way to charge with a different plug?
Yes. Funny you should ask. Lectron provides powerful chargers and adapters for both Tesla and standard EVs, allowing you to access any charger from any EV!
This Tesla to J1772 Adapter for example, allows both regular EVs and plug-in hybrids access to Tesla charging stations.
Meanwhile, this CCS Charger Adapter for Tesla gives Tesla drivers access to an additional 5,000 fast chargers nationwide.
Adapters are making owning EVs more convenient and cost-effective. If you’ve been thinking of switching EVs but are still on the fence because of the available charging solutions, check out Lectron’s EV adapters. Lectron is simplifying the approach to EV charging, making it faster, easier, and more affordable to charge all EVs at home and on the road!
Lectron is Leading the Charge
Lectron is on a mission to make electric vehicle charging fast, easy and affordable for all EV drivers. We offer a wide selection of convenient and easy-to-use EV charging stations, chargers and adapters. Lectron is pioneering ways of eliminating range anxiety and compatibility issues for both Tesla and J1772 EV drivers by making it easier and more reliable than ever to charge EVs at home and on the road.