You choose an electric car because it offers great mileage and produces no harmful exhausts. If you get a pure electric, you no longer need to stop into gas stations to fill up a tank, but you do have to plug your car into a charger to replenish the batteries. You have several options for recharging your electric car at home, and the best ones will save you time and money.
How to Choose the Right Electric-Car Charger for Your Home
Electric-car driving ranges increase each year. Longer ranges require more charging, which makes it more attractive to invest in high-speed home chargers. It’s an important decision, because the top chargers can cost several hundred dollars, sometimes more than $1,000. A lot depends on how often and far you drive. If you driving is limited, you might be able to get by with overnight recharging via a regular 120-volt outlet. If you use your car daily, a stronger charger might be worthwhile. Other factors include the availability of remote charging stations (say, in your office parking lot), and the increase in your home’s resale value stemming from the installation of a high-power car charger.
What Types of Car Chargers Are Appropriate for Home Use?
There are basically two types of car chargers appropriate for home use:
Level 1: This is a standard 120-volt connection using a household outlet. No extra cost, but it can take a long time to fully recharge the car.
Level 2: A 240-volt outlet, similar to the type used for air conditioner units. You can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1,200 for this unit, but in return you will get much faster charging.
There is also Level 3, but his refers to very expensive high-power devices, costing tens of thousands of dollars. They are so strong that they can add 90 miles of driving range in half an hour, but they can also ruin your car’s battery over time.
Level 2 makes sense if you have a pure electric car that you use daily. You might get away with a Level 1 if you have a pluggable hybrid and don’t mind using gasoline. Level 1 is also viable if you follow a drive-and-ride routine — driving your car to a train station’s parking lot equipped with rechargers.
For a daily commuter, figure the number of miles you drive, the availability of remote charging at your parking lot or garage, the vehicle’s range and recharge acceptance rate, and whether the vehicle is a hybrid or pure EV. The best advice is to live with car for a few weeks before upgrading to a Level 2 charger.