Thinking about buying an electric vehicle (EV)? If you’re worried about the battery range not being long enough, you are not the only one. Based on AAA research, North Americans have 2 fears switching over to electric cars – not having enough car charging stations (58%) and running out of charge (57%).
Just by driving an electric vehicle, most people’s anxiety can be quelled. A new AAA study finds that 95% of EV drivers have never run out of charge. To alleviate more stress about owning and driving an EV, it may be useful to check your access to electric car charging stations before you buy an EV.
Have a look at this step-by-step guide to see how an EV will work for you:
What are your “At Home” charging options?
Do you own your home?
- According to energy.gov, 80% of North Americans charge their EV’s at home. With home charging it’s like parking your car at a gas station and starting each day with a full tank.
Level 1 Charging
- Most EV charging cables can be plugged into any standard wall outlet like you would to charge your phone. No special equipment is needed. From a standard electric plug, EV batteries recharge at a speed of 3 to 8 km/h of charging. Average N. American’s drive approximately 52 km per day. If this is you, charging an EV on a wall charger or “Level 1 Charger” for a night should be sufficient.
Level 2 Charging (240 volts)
- If you have a need for more power or have the need for speed, a Level 2 charging station can get your battery charged at a rate of 16 to 32 km/h of charging. These types of charges can cost as little as $500 and are available at stores like Amazon and Walmart. With the help of a certified electrician, they can be installed in your home or garage. At minimum, these level 2 chargers should have a dedicated 40-amp circuit. Better yet, a 50 or 60 amp circuit would be best.
- Some electric utilities offer rebates to their customers for installing electric car charging stations in your home along with special rates for EV customers. Check with your utility’s provider for more information.
Do you rent an apartment?
- Is your parking spot near an electric plug in? Like one you would plug your block heater into? This could be used for your EV to charge. Your landlord could also be open to installing a faster level 2 charger. If you only have street parking, it’s still possible to find a charging station near you. See the next step.
Locate DC Fast Chargers near you
- You may hear these referred to as “Level 3” chargers, DC Fast Chargers or Superchargers (for Tesla). They are special high-powered equipment designed to charge a battery from empty to 80% capacity in 30 minutes or less. Since installation of these chargers is expensive, they are rarely installed in-home.
- Because of their speed of charging, DC Fast Chargers are becoming increasingly available as public charging options. Even if you have at home charging options, you should know where your DC Fast Charger near home is in case of needing a rapid charge.
- Many gas stations such as Petro Canada now have charging stations and list them on their websites: https://www.petro-canada.ca/en/personal/fuel/canadas-electric-highway. You can also locate DC Fast Charging stations across Canada with this website: https://www.electrify-canada.ca/locate-charger/.
Plug into free Workplace Charging
- Some employers will now offer free workplace charging. Electric car charging can be and in many cases is already cheaper than gas. Maybe your employer could pay for your fuel while at work. Workplace electric charging stations are becoming an increasingly popular perk. Most chargers are level 2 so your EV battery could be just about charged in an 8-hour workday.
Plan your big trips for EV charging stations
- Most EV’s now come with navigation systems designed to give you recommendations on where to find charging stations based on your route.
- Using a site like https://www.plugshare.com/ allows you to plan your route with charging stations so you never have to worry about running out of battery.
Having roadside service can add peace of mind
- If you are still concerned about running out of electric charge, you can sign up for roadside service through companies such as AMA. If you get stranded without power, AMA can tow you to the nearest electric charging station. Some manufacturers such as Tesla offer this service for free.
Check out the savings you could have with an EV
- With the amount of charging options available, you can save thousands of dollars by owning and driving an EV!