You'll never pump gas again with this guide to electric car charging
This is your guide to charging a plug-in electric vehicle (EV), including how to charge at home, at work, and at public charging stations. Transportation is the largest contributor to Vermont’s GHG emissions. Plugging in your EV where it is easiest for you means you’ll reduce your carbon footprint wherever you go.
Charging your electric car at home is as simple as charging your smartphone. Did you know that 80% all EV charging is done at home? Your closest electric outlet can be your new gas station! To charge at home you can use a standard household outlet or install a wall charger for a quicker charge.
All EVs come with a 120-volt-compatible, or level 1, home connector kit. This lets your car to be plugged into a standard outlet on one end and into the car on the other end. A level 1 charger will provide about 5 miles of range per hour of charging, so is well-suited for overnight charging.
If you’d like to charge faster, you can get a Level 2 charger. These can use a 240-volt outlet, like your clothes dryer. There are also level 2 chargers that can be directly wired to your electrical service. These are typically installed by electricians in your garage or on an exterior wall. Some Vermont utilities offer level 2 smart charger rebates or free equipment when you buy an electric car. A smart charging station connects to the internet. That means you can start, stop, or schedule your charge on your phone – from anywhere. The utility can also manage your charger, turning it off during periods of peak demand. This helps drive energy costs down for everyone.
Many EVs can also use DC Fast Charging (DCFC). DCFC charging is sometimes called “Level 3” and offers the fastest charging. The equipment is more expensive than level 2 and is typically used for public charging.
Most EV drivers find overnight charging is the most convenient way to charge up their electric car. This is also a time when usage rates from your utility may be lower. Some utilities offer special rates for EV owners. Depending on your EV and how much driving you do, you may not need to charge every night. But daily charging is a good habit to get into, just like charging your smartphone.
The office is a convenient place to plug in, and some companies offer charging stations for employees. Most chargers at office buildings are level 2 charging. If your workplace doesn’t provide EV charging yet, you can always suggest it. It adds value to properties and can help companies reach sustainability goals while providing a perk to employees.
There might come a time when you may need to charge up your EV at a public charging station. It’s nothing to worry about. If you do find yourself in need of a charge, there are over 300 public charging stations in Vermont! More and more places, like gyms and supermarkets, offer charging stations, sometimes for free.
Most public charging locations need payment. You may need a subscriber’s swipe card or mobile phone app to unlock the charger. The app will also tell you the location and availability of nearby charging stations. Some popular choices for apps are ChargePoint and PlugShare. A little bit of planning ahead can help you avoid a wait while someone else is charging. As of 2021, costs for public level 2 charging are typically around $1 an hour and DCFC is more expensive at about $0.35 a minute.
Charging your EV is easier than pulling up to the pump. You can do it from home, work, and on the go at public charging stations. Here are some key points to remember:
- Charging at home is the most convenient method
- There are three types of charging stations for electric cars, and the most basic plugs into a standard wall outlet
- If you want to charge your car faster, you can also have an electrician install a level 2 charging station at your home
- Charging at work is a good option if it is available
- Public charging is simple, but plan ahead