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Electric Vehicle FAQs

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about Electric Vehicles

How long will it take to charge my vehicle?

Charging times depend on the amount of electricity flowing through the charger and the size of the battery. The AC Level designation of the charger determines the output rate. You can fully charge most electric vehicles on a Level 2 charger overnight (8 hours or less). Level 1 chargers will take much longer to fully charge a vehicle and DC Fast chargers can get your car ready to hit the road trip in as little as 10 minutes.

Using a 40 mile range as a benchmark, to charge your car enough to make your daily running around possible you’d need:

  • Level 1 : 9 hours
  • Level 2 : 2 hours
  • DC Fast : 10 minutes

How much will it cost to charge my car at home?

The cost to charge your EV will vary depending on how much you pay for electricity and the capacity of the battery. On average, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) costs less than $1 a day to charge. Electric vehicles will cost $2-$4 per day to charge at home.

What is the difference between Level 1, Level 2 and Fast Charge EVSEs?

Level 1: Level 1 charging uses the car’s 120 Volt charge cord to plug into a common 120v outlet. Although slow, the outlets are virtually everywhere and most cars spend more than 21 hours a day parked. If plugged in while parked, the car can maintain over 40 miles a day by just plugging-in overnight at home. There is no charging infrastructure to Level 1 charging as all that is needed is the charging cable that is included with the car and a 120V outlet.

Level 2: Level 2 chargers require additional EVSE and utilize 240V, just like a washing machine. Public charging stations are commonly Level 2 as they can deliver up to 20 miles of charge/hour, if using a 7.2KW charger. EV owners can also opt to install a Level 2 charger in their home starting at $599 for the charging unit and anywhere from $200-$1,000 for the installation and included permit. Commercial Level 2 chargers are more expensive if they are connected to a network.

DC Fast Charging: DC Quick Chargers are the fastest charging stations available for EV owners. These chargers utilize 480V and can support up to 125amps, which can charge an EV up to 80 miles in about 20 minutes. DC Quick Chargers are becoming increasingly common and are typically found at commercial sites and along highways to support through travel.

How long do batteries last?

The jury is still out on this one. Most EV manufacturer’s warranty vehicle batteries between 8 and 10 years or up to 100,000 miles. Some makes are also protected from excessive loss of capacity (below 70%). Batteries generally don’t fail, but become less efficient over time, leading to reduced range on a charge. A battery’s life is counted not in years, or miles, but in cycles. How often you charge and deplete a battery will impact its effective life, and other factors like ambient temperature (think Phoenix, Arizona) can cause it to operate less efficiently over time.

How can I make my battery last longer?

EV maintenance costs are low, so protecting the battery life helps you to get the most out of your investment. EV enthusiasts have developed some habits to baby their batteries and keep them running longer at optimum capacity:

  • Don’t leave battery sitting at 100 percent state of charge too often
  • Avoid deep discharging of battery
  • Avoid extreme temperatures (store in a garage whenever possible)
  • When on vacation, set charge level to 50 percent and leave your vehicle plugged in
  • Minimize fast charging whenever possible

Are electric vehicles safe to drive?

Electric cars still have to undergo the same safety testing and evaluations their fuel-powered counterparts are subject to. Even if the supply of electricity is cut in an accident, the airbags will still deploy. Many people are concerned about the batteries in electric vehicles as a fire risk, but the risk of fire in an accident is much lower than in a gasoline powered internal combustion engine (ICE). Pedestrian and bicycle involved accidents are statistically more likely with EVs because the lack of engine noise sometimes causes them to not remain safe around your vehicle. Drivers should keep this in mind and remain cautious of this possibility.

Can you charge an electric vehicle in the rain?

Electric vehicle charging stations use a connection port standard referred to as J1772. This design includes several layers of shock protection and specifically protects safety even in wet conditions. The pins are inside the charging head preventing physical contact. Until a connection with the vehicle port is made, no voltage flows to the pins, and power will not flow until requested by the vehicle. If a port is removed during charging, proximity detection pins are the first to disconnect and automatically interrupt the flow of power.

Can an electric car charger start a fire in my garage?

You can find sensational stories about EVs spontaneously combusting in garages on the internet. The fact of the matter is that garage fires happen no matter what vehicle is parked in them. The best way to insure that your electric vehicle will not pose an outsized risk to your property is to have your residential car charger installed by certified electricians. Clinton Electric runs a dedicated circuit for residential EV chargers and adheres to local and national standards to prevent your charger being the source of any overheating. Residential EV chargers are equipped

What is “smart charging”?

Utility companies have moved toward a Time-of-Use model to help manage grid resources. EV owners can opt-in to a program with their utility provider (BGE and PEPCO both have programs in Maryland) and with a monthly service charge receive reduced rates for vehicle charging during off-peak hours. These programs use data from Smart Meters to assess usage and enable EV owners to charge their vehicles over-night for as low as $0.03/khw.

Where can I charge my electric vehicle?

Maryland and 7 other states have adopted the Zero-Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate which requires 300,000 vehicles and supporting charging infrastructure by 2025. Clinton Electric participates in the MDOT’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council to advise on strategy for deploying an increasing number of EVSE stations throughout the state. Many useful tools can help you find places to charge your vehicle including ChargePoint’s mobile app (https://www.chargepoint.com/drivers/mobile/) and the PlugShare map (https://www.plugshare.com/)

How far can you drive in an electric vehicle?

Small EV versions of the Honda Fit and Chevy Spark are able to drive upwards of 80 miles on a charge. Mid-tier models like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric achieve a range between 100 and 150 miles. The 200-mile threshold was once territory occupied only by Tesla, but Chevy’s Bolt is making extended range electric vehicle purchases affordable. Renault and Hyundai are moving into the club as well.

If you are interested in having EV charging stations installed on your property, contact us and request an appointment today. Clinton Electric serves customers throughout Baltimore County and the Mid-Atlantic area.

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