Charging into the future with EVs
When it comes to gas-powered cars, everyone over the driving age knows how and where to fuel their car. But if you've been thinking of making the switch to a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), you need to know how and where to charge it up so you can get out and have some driving fun!
All currently manufactured electric vehicles (EVs) come with the onboard capability to charge at a Level 1 or Level 2 rate, which is the rate the battery takes on power. Level 1 chargers charge at a slower rate, typically 3-5 miles per hour of charging. Level 2 chargers are faster, charging anywhere from 20 to 30 miles per hour of charging.
Also available is DC fast charging, available on a small amount of currently available EVs and the proprietary Tesla supercharger network. These aren't widely available charging options for most EV owners, though, so we'll focus on Level 1 and Level 2 charging.
Now that you know how EVs charge, you need to know where to charge. The answer might surprise you. Most EV charging takes place at home, a far cry from needing to hit up the gas station. EVs come with a Level 1 charger that can be plugged into a standard 110v electric outlet and connected to the port on the vehicle. This is the easiest, although slowest, way to charge your vehicle, and doesn't require any additional parts or purchases.
But let's say you're out and about and you need to "top off" your battery, just to get some extra errands complete around town. In many major cities around the country, like Los Angeles and Atlanta, there is quite an impressive network of chargers that can be found. These stations are equipped with Level 2 chargers, fast enough to get up to 30 miles of range in about an hour.
And even more convenient, most of these stations are located at shopping centers where you can grab a bite to eat and shop until you've charged up. Making it easier, there are apps available for download that help drivers locate charging stations near their current location and destination.
Level 2 chargers can also be installed at home residences, which requires purchasing a Level 2 charger from one of the many manufacturers. You also need a 240v wall outlet (like the outlet for a home dryer), which needs installation by a professional electrician. Then they plug into the charging port on the vehicle, just like a Level 1.
Should you install a Level 2 charger at home? That depends on your own driving needs.
- Do you only need a commuter car to get you to work and back home, or would you like to charge up and use it in the evening hours?
- What is your daily driving range and how much time will it take to charge your battery back-up to full?
- What is your range anxiety tolerance level?
- What's the average temperature where most of the driving will take place?
- Are you able to charge your vehicle at work?
These questions also depend on the range of your EV. Currently, the battery range for available cars varies between 151 miles of range for the Nissan Leaf, up to 238 miles of range for the Chevrolet Bolt.
Are you looking to add electric cars to your fleet? The options for EV driving and charging are growing rapidly. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are currently more than 17,000 charging stations throughout the U.S., with plans to increase accessibility throughout the country. And the options for driving electric become more robust with every model year, with with the number of available BEV and PHEV options always on the rise.
The switch to electric can be scary, but it can be exciting too. It takes a lot of knowledge to know what's next in mobility, and LeasePlan can be your partner. Contact us today so we can discuss your electrification and sustainability fleet goals.