A Beginner’s Guide to EV Charging: Everything You Need to Know

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As an eco-conscious consumer, you’ve likely considered purchasing an electric vehicle. While exciting, transitioning to an EV also brings many questions about charging and infrastructure. To fully leverage the benefits of electric driving, you need to understand the basics of EV charging. This guide for ev charging will walk you through the different levels of charging, how to find public charging stations, installing a charger at home, and tips for efficient and cost-effective charging. By the end of this, you’ll feel well-equipped with the knowledge to choose an EV that fits your needs and keep it powered for all your journeys. The future of sustainable transportation is here – let’s get you on the road to an electrified commute.

Choose an EV Charger: Options for Home and Public Use

To charge your electric vehicle (EV), you’ll need to choose between at-home and public charging options. Each has its benefits, so evaluate your needs to determine the best solution.

  • Home chargers: Installing a Level 2 charger at home provides the most convenience. Charging times range from 3 to 12 hours for a full charge, depending on your EV model. The initial cost of a Level 2 charger and installation may be $500 to $2,500 after incentives. Popular brands include ChargePoint, JuiceBox, and ClipperCreek.
  • Public charging: For longer trips or if home charging isn’t possible, public charging stations provide Level 2 and DC fast charging. Locate stations along your route using apps like ChargeHub, PlugShare or directly through your EV automaker. Expect to pay an hourly rate or per kWh.
  • DC fast charging: DC fast charging can provide an 80% charge in 20 to 30 minutes at public stations along highways and in some towns. These 50 to 350 kW chargers are compatible with most newer EVs. The downside is higher per-minute charging costs, reduced battery life over time, and availability at fewer locations. Only use when necessary for long-distance driving.

Choosing the right charger or mix of options comes down to your needs, priorities, and budget. For the most flexibility, installing a home Level 2 charger and utilizing public Level 2 or DC fast charging when traveling longer distances may provide an ideal solution for new EV owners. With some forethought and planning, you’ll be charging your EV with confidence in no time.

Find an EV Charging Network: Locating Charging Stations

EV Charging Network

To utilize an electric vehicle (EV), you will need to charge the battery at public charging stations or at home. Locating charging stations along your route is essential for any EV owner. As an EV driver, you have a few options to find charging stations:

  • Use a charging station locator app or website. Website like Electrly allows you to search for charging stations based on your current location or along a planned route. These services provide details on the charging speeds available, plug types, and real-time availability of ports. Some also allow you to start and pay for charging sessions directly through the app.
  • Check with major charging networks. Large networks like Electrify America, EVgo, and ChargePoint have station locators on their websites and apps to help you find their charging stations. These networks operate stations across the country, so you are likely to encounter their chargers during your travels.
  • Look for signs on major roadways. Many charging stations have prominent signs displaying the network logo and the types of chargers available, including CCS, CHAdeMO, and J1772 plugs. Watch for these signs when traveling to locate a convenient station.
  • Ask about stations at your destination. If you are traveling to a specific location, check with businesses along your route or at your destination about available charging options. Many hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, and tourist attractions now offer charging for their customers. They should be able to provide details on any free or paid public charging they offer.

With some advance planning, you can feel confident driving your EV knowing that charging stations are within easy reach during your travels. The key is taking advantage of the many available resources like  Electrly to help you locate compatible charging where and when you need it.

EV Charging Levels: Level 1 vs Level 2 vs Fast Charging

There are three types of EV Charging on the market, Level 1 Charging, Level 2 Charging and DC Fast Charging, let’s take Electrly as an example to introduce these three types of EV Charging.

Level 1 Charging

Level 1 charging in Electrly uses a standard 120V AC outlet to provide charging via the portable charging cable that comes with your EV. This method is very convenient since standard outlets are ubiquitous, but the charge rate is slow, typically adding 3 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging. For most EV owners, Level 1 charging works best as a backup or supplemental option.

Level 2 Charging

Level 2 charging uses a 240V AC outlet, the most common being NEMA 14-50 outlets. Electrly ’s Level 2 chargers can charge an EV up to 10 times faster than a Level 1 charger. Level 2 chargers typically add 10 to 20 miles of range per hour of charging. Many EV owners install Level 2 chargers at their homes to enable faster overnight charging. Some businesses also offer Level 2 public charging for their customers and employees.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging, also known as DCFC or fast charging, uses industrial-grade high-power connectors to charge EVs at 50kW and higher. Fast charging can add 60 to 100 miles of range in just 20 minutes of charging for many models. DC fast charging requires specialized fast charging equipment and is typically more expensive to install compared to Level 2 charging. However, for long-distance driving or in areas where home charging isn’t available, fast charging is essential for convenient EV use.

The charging level that works best for you depends on factors like your daily driving needs, access to charging where you live and work, and your EV’s charging capability. For many EV owners, a combination of Level 1, Level 2, and fast charging options will provide the maximum flexibility and convenience. The good news is that as EV adoption increases, charging infrastructure manufacturer like Electrly is expanding quickly to provide more public charging options at each level.

EV Charging Etiquette: Proper Behavior at Public Charging Stations

Be Courteous to Other Drivers

When using a public EV charging station, be respectful of other drivers also needing to charge their vehicles. Move your vehicle from the charging space once fully charged or if not charging allow other EVs access to the station. Do not leave your vehicle occupying a charging space longer than necessary.

Choose the Appropriate Charger for Your Needs

Select a charging station that suits your needs based on your vehicle’s charging capacity and your desired charging speed. Faster charging stations like DC fast chargers should be left open for drivers needing a quick charge to continue their journey. If simply topping off your battery or in no rush, use a standard Level 2 charger.

Follow Posted Instructions

Carefully follow all instructions posted on the charging equipment or on signs in the charging area regarding proper use, payment methods accepted, charging activation, connector handling, and more to ensure safe, effective charging and avoid potential damage. Instructions may vary between locations and networks.

Report Any Issues Immediately

Notify the charging network operator right away of any problems with the charging equipment to get the station fixed and back in service promptly. Issues like non-functioning chargers, payment failures or damaged cords should be reported as soon as possible.

Be Safe

Exercise caution in the charging area and around the charging equipment. Watch for vehicles and pedestrians moving around the space. Do not leave charging cords lying on the ground where they can cause tripping hazards. Keep a safe distance from the charging equipment during the charging process.

By following these etiquette guidelines, you can do your part to ensure public EV charging stations work conveniently and efficiently for all drivers. Charging etiquette promotes the growth of EV infrastructure we all benefit from. Together, we can build a sustainable transportation future.

EV Charging Costs: What to Expect for Home and Public Charging

At-Home Charging

When charging at home, the two most common options are Level 1 (standard household outlet) and Level 2 (240V outlet) charging stations. Level 1 charges at a rate of 3 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging using a standard 120V AC outlet. This is the most budget-friendly option but requires the longest charge times. Level 2 charges at a rate of 10 to 20 miles of range per hour using a 240V outlet. Level 2 chargers, also known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), require installation by an electrician but charge EVs in a few hours.

Public Charging

Public charging stations allow EV owners to charge away from home. As more drivers go electric, public charging infrastructure is expanding rapidly. The two types of public EV charging are:

  • Level 2 (240V) public charging stations provide 10 to 20 miles of range per hour of charging. These stations are ideal for topping off your charge while shopping, dining or at work.
  • DC Fast Charging (also known as Level 3) provides 60 to 100 miles of range in 20 minutes of charging. These high-powered stations are ideal for quick top-ups during long-distance travel. However, frequent fast charging can degrade your EV’s battery over time so should only be used when needed.

Cost Considerations

The cost to charge your EV will depend on several factors:

  • The type of EV you drive and its battery capacity. EVs with larger batteries like long-range models may cost more to charge.
  • The type of charger used. Level 1 and Level 2 charging at home will cost less than public DC fast charging. The national average for Level 2 public charging is around $0.43 per kWh. Fast charging averages $0.30 to $0.40 per minute.
  • Time of charging. Electricity rates are often lower during off-peak hours like evenings and weekends. So charging overnight at home costs less.
  • Location. Energy rates vary in different areas and states. Charging costs may be higher in some locations.

While fueling an EV costs less than gas, you’ll want to consider your local electricity rates and driving needs to determine potential charging costs. With time, increased use of renewable energy, and improved technology, the cost of EV charging should decrease.

Conclusion

As you work to reduce your carbon footprint and drive an eco-friendly vehicle, understanding how to properly charge your EV is essential. With the variety of charging options and providers now available, you have more flexibility and convenience than ever before. By familiarizing yourself with the different levels of chargers, planning ahead for longer trips, and taking advantage of charging networks and apps to locate stations, you’ll be able to integrate charging into your daily routine. While the technology and infrastructure continue to improve, EVs provide an exciting opportunity to make a difference through sustainable transportation. By following this beginner’s guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an experienced EV driver. The open road awaits. Charge on!