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Home Charging vs Public Charging: Pros and Cons

Home Charging vs Public Charging: Pros and Cons

If you're new to the world of electric vehicles (EVs), the idea of upgrading to a home charging station has undoubtedly crossed your mind. Having your own charging spot is a natural step forward, but is it better than relying on public charging stations? Public charging stations are there for anyone to use, although they usually come with a fee. On the flip side, a home charging station is installed where you live, and you only need to pay for the electricity it uses.

Before you decide if upgrading to an at-home charging station is right for you, let's break down the advantages and disadvantages of both home and public electric vehicle charging options.

Pros and Cons of Public EV Charging Stations

Pros:

  1. On-the-Go Convenience: If you're frequently on the move, public charging stations strategically placed in shopping centers, workplaces, and along highways provide a convenient option to keep your electric vehicle powered up.

  2. Access to Faster Chargers: Public charging networks often offer high-speed charging options, allowing you to quickly recharge your car's battery during short stops.

  3. No Home Charging Setup Required: If you live in an apartment or lack home charging infrastructure, public charging stations become a lifeline to keep your electric car charged and ready.

Cons:

  1. Potential Waiting Times: During peak hours, public electric car charging stations might be occupied, leading to possible wait times and disruptions to your travel plans.

  2. Variable Cost: Public charging costs can vary significantly depending on the charging network and location, potentially resulting in higher expenses compared to charging at home.

  3. Range Anxiety: Relying solely on public charging might lead to range anxiety, as you have to actively search for charging stations, especially in areas with fewer charging options.

Pros and Cons of At-Home EV Charging Stations

Pros:

  1. Convenience and Accessibility: Charging at home offers unparalleled convenience – simply plug in your EV overnight and wake up to a fully charged battery each morning.

  2. Cost Savings: Home charging is generally more cost-effective than public charging, especially if you can take advantage of off-peak electricity rates.

  3. Charging Infrastructure Control: With a home charging station, you have control over the charging process, ensuring your EV is always ready when you need it.

  4. Increased Home Value: Installing an at-home EV charging station can enhance your property's value, appealing to potential buyers who also own electric vehicles.

Cons:

  1. Upfront Installation Costs: Setting up a home charging station requires an initial investment in charging equipment and installation. However, some governments and utility companies offer incentives to offset these expenses.

  2. Limited Charging Speed: Charging at home might be slower compared to certain high-speed public chargers, which could be a limitation if you're in a hurry.

  3. Unavailable for Apartment Dwellers: If you live in an apartment or a rented space without charging infrastructure, home charging might not be a feasible option for you.

Types of Home and Public Chargers

Home Chargers:

  1. Level 1 Chargers: These chargers use a standard household electrical outlet (120 volts) and are typically included with your EV purchase. Although they are the slowest charging option, Level 1 chargers are suitable for overnight charging.

  2. Level 2 Chargers: Installed using a dedicated 240-volt circuit, Level 2 chargers provide faster charging compared to Level 1. They are commonly used for home installations and can fully charge an EV in a matter of hours. However, there are portable Level 2 chargers that don't require installation. The Lectron V-Box, for example, can be plugged directly into a NEMA 14-50 outlet.

Public Chargers:

  1. Level 2 Chargers: These chargers are commonly found in public spaces like shopping malls, offices, and parking lots. These public stations offer faster charging than Level 1 chargers and are suitable for topping up during your daily activities.

  2. DC Fast Chargers: Public charging networks often include DC Fast chargers, which offer fast charging for compatible EVs. They can charge an EV to 80% capacity in approximately 20-30 minutes, making them ideal for longer trips and quick stops.

Costs of Charging at Home vs. in Public

Calculating the cost of charging your EV at home versus using public charging stations involves considering factors like electricity costs, charging speeds, and potential fees. Let's break down the costs for both scenarios:

Charging at Home:

  1. Electricity Rate: Suppose your local electricity rate is $0.12 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

  2. Charging Efficiency: On average, EV charging is about 85% efficient. This means that for every 100 kWh of electricity you use to charge, your EV's battery stores around 85 kWh.

  3. Charging Time: Let's assume your EV has a 60 kWh battery capacity and you charge from 20% to 80%, which is 48 kWh (60 kWh x 0.8 - 60 kWh x 0.2).

Calculations:

  • Energy Used: 48 kWh (battery charge needed)

  • Cost: 48 kWh x $0.12/kWh = $5.76

Charging at a Public Station:

  1. Charging Rate: Public charging stations may have different rates. Let's assume you use a Level 2 charging station that costs $0.25 per kWh.

  2. Charging Time: Similar to the home charging scenario, you're charging from 20% to 80%, which is 48 kWh.

Calculations:

  • Cost: 48 kWh x $0.25/kWh = $12.00

Comparison:

Charging at home: $5.76

Charging at a public station: $12.00

As you can see, charging your EV at home is significantly cheaper than using a public charging station for the same amount of energy. This calculation doesn't include any membership or subscription fees that some public charging networks might require. Additionally, charging speeds vary, so while home charging might take longer, it can be more cost-effective if you charge overnight or during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower.

Remember that these calculations are simplified examples. Actual costs can vary based on factors such as your specific electricity rates, charging speeds, and any additional fees associated with public charging. Some electric cars also come with complimentary free charging, often arranged through partnerships between automakers and charging network operators.

What You Need to Know Before Charging at Home

Charging your electric vehicle at home comes with great convenience, but there are a few important factors to keep in mind before setting up a home charging station:

  1. Electrical Capacity: Ensure that your home's electrical system can handle the additional load from an EV charger. You might need an electrician to assess your electrical panel and make any necessary upgrades.

  2. Installation Costs: Installing a home charging station involves initial costs for the charging equipment and any necessary electrical work. Research available incentives and rebates that might help offset these expenses.

  3. Location: Decide where to install the charging station. It's recommended to place it in a convenient spot near your parking space with proper ventilation and protection from the elements.

  4. Permitting and Regulations: Check with local authorities if permits are required for installing an EV charging station. Additionally, understand any regulations or guidelines related to EV charging infrastructure.

FAQs

  • What is the difference between public charging and home charging?

    Public charging refers to using charging stations available to the general public at various locations such as shopping centers, parking lots, and highways. Home charging involves using/installing a charging station at your residence for personal use.

  • Is it worth charging EVs at home?

    Yes, charging EVs at home offers significant convenience. You can plug in your vehicle overnight and wake up to a fully charged battery, making it convenient for daily use. Additionally, home charging is often more cost-effective compared to using public charging stations.

  • Is it cheaper to charge EVs at home or in public?

    In general, charging EVs at home is cheaper due to lower electricity rates and the absence of potential fees associated with public charging stations. However, public charging can be useful during travel or when you don't have access to home charging.

  • What percent of EV owners charge at home?

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, around 80 percent of electric vehicle charging takes place at homes.

    Looking for reliable EV chargers? Lectron's lineup of J1772 and Tesla chargers ensures you get the most out of your EV's range!

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