Charging Your Vehicle
Imagine never stopping at a gas station again, and instead, have an unlimited supply of fuel available at home or wherever you normally park. For many electric car drivers, this is a reality. All-electric cars never need gas, and for short trips, plug-in hybrids might use no gas.
Electric car charging is simple, cost-effective and convenient, particularly when you are plugged in at home—filling up your car even while you’re asleep. How long it takes to charge depends on the charging equipment and the size of the car’s battery and its available charging capacity.
Although electric car drivers primarily charge at home, workplace and public chargers are increasingly available in communities nationwide.
There are three convenient ways to charge your electric car.
I can charge at home any time I want, and it is quiet and drives beautifully!
It’s so quiet and quick. I wake up everyday with a full charge, ready to go.
No need to gas up weekly! After work I just come home and plug my car in.
See how easy it is to charge? Now compare electric cars and find out more about range.
You can charge your electric car using standard 120 volt(V) home outlets (Level 1), 208-240V outlets like those used by your dryer (Level 2), or dedicated 480V public fast chargers (DC Fast Charging). The time it takes to charge using each of these three options depends on your drive and the size of the battery. Charging speed is also determined by the size of the vehicle’s on-board charger and the power lever of the charging equipment.
Level 1 charging uses a standard 120-volt plug. Today, new electric cars come with portable charging equipment to allow you to plug in to any 120-volt outlet. Typically, the average daily commute of 40 miles can be easily replenished overnight with a Level 1 charger.
In most cases Level 2 charging requires charging equipment to be purchased and installed. The typical Level 2 charger can replenish the same 40 mile average daily commute in less than 2 hours.
DC Fast Charging
DC fast chargers can provide 10 to 20 miles of range per minute.
DC Fast Charging is for public charging stations only and not for home use.
Most fully electric cars are equipped for DC Fast Charging today, but always be aware of your car’s charging connector before you try to plug in. You will either have a Tesla connector that can be used at a Tesla Supercharger, an SAE Combo connector or a Chademo connector.
Want to learn more on Fast Charging?
Check out this Quick Guide to Fast Charging by ChargePoint.
Level 1 and Level 2 Charging Options
Level 1: Electric cars come standard with a 120-volt Level 1 portable charger. Yes, these chargers can be plugged into a simple household outlet, and don’t require any special installation. Pretty cool, right?
Level 2: Drivers can also pursue a higher-powered Level 2 unit for sale and installation in their home. Shop Level 2 chargers and learn about incentives using our Home Charging Advisor. Learn more about home charging with our FAQs.
Tesla’s electric cars come with a plug-in 120/240-volt Level 1/2 charger. These require a 240-volt outlet, which most owners need to have professionally installed.
In general, most electric car drivers want the assurance and convenience of a quicker charge and eventually install the 240-volt, Level 2 charging ability in their home.
Home Charging Advisor
Find chargers and apply for incentives for charging your EV at home.
See how easy it is to charge? Now compare electric cars and find out more about range.
If charging at home is not an option or if you need to “top off” during the day for an extra errand, workplace charging is another convenient location to charge your car. Many employers are installing charging for their employees, so check with your company to see if this is an option for you.
If your employer has not implemented workplace charging yet, you can advocate that workplace charging is a good move. You can also provide them resources to help them consider the benefits.
Never fear! There are so many great charging station locators and mobile apps that help you find public charging stations when and where you need it. You can now expect public charging stations in public parking lots at the mall, the grocery store, movie theaters, community centers, arenas, hotels and airports.
Many are free or are offered at affordable prices, usually much less than the cost of gasoline.
You can search by charging speed and even by the station location you are interested, if it is available or currently in use.
Be sure to check with the car manufacturer and electric car driving manual for charging options that are right for your electric car. You may also need a subscription to charge with some of these networks, so plan ahead and do your research before going on that long road trip.
If you are a city or county looking to install public chargers in your area, check out the permitting video and resources to learn more about how you can increase charging in your area.
High power charging station
The United States needs many more EV-charging stations—and federal funds for them are coming. Seven principles could help US states and companies accelerate this buildout effectively.
In response, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provides 7.5 billion to develop the country’s EV-charging infrastructure. The goal is to install 500,000 public chargers—publicly accessible charging stations compatible with all vehicles and technologies—nationwide by 2030. However, even the addition of half a million public chargers could be far from enough. In a scenario in which half of all vehicles sold are zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2030—in line with federal targets—we estimate that America would require 1.2 million public EV chargers and 28 million private EV chargers by that year. 2 Private chargers are charging stations that are located in homes, workplaces, or other private settings and might have access or technology limitations. All told, the country would need almost 20 times more chargers than it has now.
Merely setting up more charging stations isn’t all that matters. The BIL highlights equity, to name one specific priority. Electricity purchased at a public charger can cost five to ten times more than electricity at a private one. To keep EVs powered up, public charging stations will probably need to be economical, equitably distributed, appealing to use, and wired to a robust power grid. They will also probably have to present a viable business opportunity for the companies expected to install and operate them. States and businesses could better fulfill America’s need for public charging by taking such considerations into account in their planning efforts.
Going electric: The outlook for EV-charging infrastructure in America
A mass shift from cars and trucks with internal combustion engines (ICEs) to ZEVs will be critical to achieving the country’s overall net-zero goals. The federal government has set a target: half of new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 should be ZEVs—a category that includes both battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which can be recharged with electricity, and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), which run on hydrogen. 3 “Strengthening American leadership in clean cars and trucks,” Federal Register, August 10, 2021. (In this article, the terms “electric vehicles” and “EVs” refer to battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.) The extent of the GHG emissions reductions resulting from a shift to EVs will depend largely on how much GHG emissions come from generating electricity. Decarbonizing the power sector is thus integral to lessening emissions from cars and trucks—and the FOCUS of a federal goal to make the US power sector carbon free by 2035.
In a scenario in which the nation reaches the federal ZEV sales target, we estimate that the country’s fleet of EVs would grow from less than three million today to more than 48 million in 2030—about 15 percent of all vehicles on the road in the United States. Passenger cars could number more than 44 million; the rest of the EV fleet would consist of buses, light commercial vehicles, and trucks (Exhibit 1). 4 In this article, all estimates of EV uptake, charging infrastructure, and electricity use by EV owners in 2030 reflect this 50 percent sales scenario.
As the number of EVs on the road increases, annual demand for electricity to charge them would surge from 11 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) now to 230 billion kWh in 2030, according to our scenario-based modeling. The demand estimate for 2030 represents approximately 5 percent of current total electricity demand in the United States. Our modeling indicates that nearly 30 million chargers would be needed to deliver so much electricity in that year. While most of these chargers would be installed at residences, 1.2 million would be public chargers, installed at on-the-go locations and at destinations where vehicles are parked for long periods (Exhibit 2). We estimate that the cost of hardware, planning, and installation for this amount of public charging infrastructure would come to more than 35 billion over the period to 2030 (Exhibit 3).
Executive orders and federal legislation signed over the past 18 months aim to accelerate the shift to EVs by expanding the nation’s charging infrastructure. An executive order issued in August 2021 set the ZEV sales target noted above. Another goal, announced in December 2021, calls for the federal government to buy only EVs for light-duty vehicles by 2027 and nothing but EVs for all vehicle classes by 2035. What’s more, 12 states are formally members of the Zero-Emission Vehicle program, which requires an increase in ZEV production and in-state sales from the largest vehicle manufacturers through 2025.
Of the 7.5 billion the BIL provides to pay for the installation of public EV chargers, 5 billion is available through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula program, which focuses on adding public charging stations in underserved communities and on highways. States are expected mostly to contract with private companies to install, maintain, and operate public chargers. To tap into these funds, states must present plans demonstrating how they will meet the federal government’s requirements. These include promoting equity, serving rural and urban areas, and creating opportunities for small businesses to participate. As we explain in the next section, those requirements could be addressed by a balanced consideration of factors.
Plugging in: Principles for building EV-charging infrastructure
We have experience designing charging-system plans for private-sector players in the United States and several players in Europe, where EVs account for one in five new-car sales (as opposed to one in 20 in the United States). In this way, we have identified principles that could help determine whether a charging infrastructure can both meet drivers’ needs well enough to enable a broad shift to EVs and be built and operated in a financially sustainable way, involving a combination of viable business opportunities and public support. Of course, Europe’s market conditions differ from those of the United States. Here we examine these principles in the light of current conditions and future requirements in the latter.
Promoting equity in the public EV-charging system
One factor, highlighted in the funding guidance that the federal government issued for the BIL, merits consideration: equity. For EVs to catch on with all drivers, America’s charging infrastructure must serve a diverse population. This includes sizable groups of drivers who will make extensive, if not exclusive, use of public chargers because they may lack home charging equipment. It also includes the many drivers who need public chargers to keep commercial or ride-sharing vehicles powered throughout long days (and nights) on the road. Finally, it includes rural drivers, who see plenty of filling stations but few fast EV chargers in their areas and don’t want to risk running out of power.
Current charger installations tend to be located in higher-income areas, following the location of early EV sales (Exhibit 4). Future charger installations could be planned for areas on all income levels to make ownership of EVs as practical as ownership of ICE vehicles. Broader geographic accessibility to chargers will likely be pivotal to improving visibility and viability; in a McKinsey survey, seven out of ten respondents who don’t own EVs said the areas near their homes lack a significant number of chargers. 5 The online survey, in the field in December 2021, garnered responses from 26,285 participants in nine countries (Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States) that together account for approximately three-quarters of global vehicle sales.
Building public chargers where people need them
Another important principle to consider is placing public chargers where EV owners will charge their vehicles. This point may seem obvious, but it can be challenging to accomplish in practice. To distribute public chargers in the right numbers and places, states and companies can analyze the driving and parking behavior of motorists in detail at the local level.
Our modeling suggests a few guidelines states could bear in mind as they determine where to place public chargers. In the United States, most EV charging (in terms of electricity consumption) now takes place at home. By 2030, in the scenario we analyzed, we estimate that considerably less charging would be done at home, and the amount of charging in fleet depots would nearly double. Overall, private use cases would still account for a large majority of all charging. One reason is that newer EVs, with ranges of more than 200 miles per charge, can meet the needs of most drivers if charged while parked overnight: on average, each person in the United States travels about 30 miles a day by private vehicle.
EV drivers who cannot charge at home or must recharge on the road will want chargers to be placed where they need them. In the scenario we analyzed, our estimates suggest that public charging would deliver more than 20 percent of the electricity EVs would use in 2030 (Exhibit 5). Determining how much public-charging demand a state’s infrastructure must serve, and how much demand there will be in particular locations, is a consideration not only in building an equitable infrastructure but also in helping businesses that operate public charging stations to be profitable. States could think creatively about providing chargers that work well in public settings such as curbsides, parking lots, and highway rest stops.
Matching charging speed to customers’ needs
States and businesses may also want to consider choosing charging technologies that best meet customers’ needs. Fast direct-current (DC) charging technology is pivotal to relieve range anxiety, but our estimates suggest that it isn’t necessary in every charging application. Drivers of private passenger cars with access to home or overnight charging will mostly charge at home, given the significantly lower cost of energy, and seven in ten drivers are likely to install a home-charging system, according to the McKinsey survey cited above. These drivers will need fast chargers only when they are on long-distance trips and can’t take the extra time to refuel at a slower public alternating-current Level 2 (AC L2) charger or when they forgot to charge at home and can’t make the round trip in the time available.
Drivers of private passenger cars who don’t have access to home or overnight charging, by contrast, will choose either fast or slow public charging, depending on their daily trip plans. Drivers of electric commercial-fleet vehicles will charge publicly only as required by the length and location of their trips. Overall, six in ten charging sessions globally will take place at home or work, according to the McKinsey survey, and US drivers say they expect to rely more on home charging than drivers elsewhere do.
So the use cases for fast charging are limited, to say nothing of the steep extra cost of fast chargers and the significant burden they put on the grid. States and businesses may therefore want to be careful not to install fast public chargers where slow chargers would do. At parking lots and other public destinations, for example, DC charging can be available as a premium service, but when a driver is parked for an hour or more, slower AC L2 charging usually works well enough. For EV owners who can’t install their own chargers where they live, AC L2 chargers can be exceedingly useful—and less expensive for municipalities to install—for public overnight charging. Exhibit 6 sets out our estimates for the proportions of fast and slow chargers needed for various use cases.
Making public charging affordable
Utilities largely determine the consumers pay for electricity at EV-charging stations by establishing electricity rates (varying with the time of day) and demand charges (covering a utility’s infrastructure maintenance expenses). EV drivers who rely on public charging stations have less flexibility to choose when and where they can charge than those who charge at home. (The time of day matters because most public charging takes place during the day, when the cost per kilowatt-hour is typically higher.) These drivers might therefore end up paying between five and ten times more per kilowatt-hour than those who charge their EVs at home.
In laying out plans to build an EV-charging infrastructure, states may want to prioritize efforts to ensure that public-charging costs are equitable. They could do so by helping defray demand charges, by subsidizing the installation and operation of chargers in less profitable locations, or by other means to help defray demand charges.
Enhancing the public-charging experience
The McKinsey survey suggests that customers’ experiences with public charging are often unsatisfying. Respondents mentioned the speed, cost, availability (including both free and working chargers), and safety of charging locations as the main shortcomings of public charging. Drivers struggle to find chargers because information is limited; mobile apps for locating them tend to exclude competitors’ chargers, and that reduces both availability and pricing options. Pricing systems can vary considerably—from pricing by the minute or kilowatt-hour to different rates for memberships or pay per use. It isn’t always easy to tell which option offers better value, and payment is often a hassle. Finally, the design and operation of chargers differ greatly, and customer service isn’t always prompt or helpful.
State regulators can’t address all these problems, but they could consider addressing several of them with standards and mandates aimed at simplifying and enhancing the charging experience. For example, they could require all stations to accept credit cards and use standard plugs and connectors. They might also call for the use of “plug and charge” adapters. These collect the driver’s billing information automatically from the vehicle once the charging cable is plugged into the electricity port, so drivers can charge their vehicles without having to provide a form of payment.
Building up America’s network of charging stations could make EVs more appealing to more people and thereby accelerate their uptake.
Integrating chargers with the power grid
While most power grids in the United States can supply enough electricity to meet demand from EV charging, few can deliver large amounts of electricity to many EVs at high rates at the same time. A particular concern is that grid constraints will occur locally, in neighborhoods and business districts (and near fleet depots) where EV charging will be concentrated. Upgrading grids will be costly: for a single public direct-current fast-charging (DCFC) station consisting of four DC 150-kW chargers, the cost of upgrading the grid and the site could be more than 150,000. In addition, to maximize emissions reductions from the transition to EVs, grid power would have to be as low carbon as possible. Grids themselves play an integral role in reducing the carbon intensity of electricity.
Our experience suggests that state-led EV-charging programs could accelerate the reinforcement of power grids and the buildout of renewable-generation capacity in several ways. They could, for example, set up initiatives to help utilities add storage capacity to bank renewable electricity during the day and then feed that electricity to commercial-fleet vehicles (or home-charged EVs) at night. Or they might allow charging providers to purchase renewable energy or renewable-energy credits at a discount. Utilities, too, could help accelerate the adoption of EVs—for example, by reducing the costs of energy and grid upgrades, and by supporting improvements in the planning and design of networks (which would enable the higher utilization of chargers).
Creating viable opportunities for charging businesses
Today, most charging companies in the United States use one of two business models. Under the first, companies sell electricity from public charging stations they own and operate. Few of these stations get used enough to generate a profit. Under the second, companies collect service fees for installing, operating, and maintaining charging stations at third-party locations, such as shopping malls or parking garages. These companies, too, are seldom profitable.
Making it profitable to sell public-charging services will probably be a prerequisite for building out a nationwide infrastructure, since government agencies are unlikely to build, own, or operate all the public-charging stations drivers will need. States could help support charging businesses in various ways, such as defraying the up-front capital cost of installing chargers and establishing offtake agreements to purchase a set amount of charging service each month, regardless of how much EV users pay for. They also could consider incentives to deploy charging infrastructure, as well as premiums for providing renewable energy (these would improve the economics of charging businesses by providing ancillary revenue streams). States could also streamline permitting processes so that providers can install and start operating new chargers more quickly; as it is, it can take nine to 24 months to get a charging station up and running.
Building up America’s network of charging stations could make EVs more appealing to more people and thereby accelerate their uptake. That will help abate GHG emissions, in line with the nation’s goals. States and companies that want to develop EV-charging infrastructure could do so more effectively by adhering to the principles described here.
Philipp Kampshoff is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Houston office. Adi Kumar is a senior partner in the Washington, DC, office. Shannon Peloquin is a partner in the San Francisco office. Shivika Sahdev is a partner in the New York office.
The authors wish to thank Morgan Lee for his contribution to this article.
This article was edited by Josh Rosenfield, an executive editor in the New York office.
Charging Electric Vehicles 101
Charging an electric vehicle (EV) is like filling up a conventional vehicle with gas, except the gas station is a charging station, and the fuel is electricity.
Level 1 charging
Charging a vehicle at “Level 1” means plugging into a standard 120-volt outlet (a typical household electrical outlet). All drivers can charge their EVs at Level 1, which requires no extra equipment or installation. On average, Level 1 provides two to five miles of vehicle range per hour the vehicle is connected.
Level 1 chargers are well-suited to places where people park vehicles for a long time, such as workplaces and homes. EV drivers who typically drive 40-50 miles per day or less may find that a Level 1 charger is adequate for home charging.
Level 2 charging (J1772)
Charging a vehicle at “Level 2” means plugging into a 240-volt outlet (the same kind that powers appliances like dryers). On average, Level 2 stations provide 10 to 50 miles of range per hour the vehicle is connected.
Places where EV drivers will be staying for a while are great locations for Level 2 chargers. Level 2 stations offer faster charging than Level 1 chargers but are much less expensive to install than DC fast chargers. Examples of public locations include workplaces and destinations like hotels, retail centers, major attractions like zoos and parks, park and ride lots, and public parking ramps. Residential examples include single-family homes and multi-unit dwellings such as apartment buildings and condominiums. Homeowners who often drive more than 40-50 miles in a day or want the option for faster charging may choose to install a Level 2 charger.
Direct current (DC) fast charging
DC fast-charging stations offer the quickest charge available, fully charging a vehicle in around 30 minutes or less, depending on several factors including how “empty” the vehicle battery is, battery capacity, and fast charger’s power output. Additionally, vehicles take longer to charge in cold weather.
The higher the power output of the charger, the quicker the charge:
- 50kW stations are most common, providing vehicles with 80-90 miles of range in 30 minutes.
- 150kW is becoming more common, offering increased speeds and convenience.
- Tesla V3 Supercharging stations with a peak efficiency of 250kW can charge a 2020 long-range Tesla Model 3 (322-mile range) about 23 percent in about five minutes, 80 percent in about 20 minutes, and 100 percent in less than 25 minutes.
- Ultra-fast charging stations with an energy output of 350kW can charge vehicles with large batteries (100kWh) to 80 percent in about 15 minutes. Vehicles that can accept that power level are only starting to enter the market.
Fast charging provides the ability for EV drivers to travel beyond their home base, making long-distance trips doable in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, they are important in metropolitan settings, with public and private fleets, and for people without good access to home charging. They also boost prospective EV owners’ confidence and reduce perceived range anxiety, helping to increase EV adoption. Further, fast charging stations are critical for increasing EV adoption amongst transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.
DC Fast Charging plug standards
Three plug standards exist in the United States and are used by different vehicles.
Used by: American/European and certain Asian EVs. Examples include the Chevrolet Bolt, BMW i3, Kia e-Niro, and Jaguar I-Pace. Also used by heavy-duty vehicles like transit buses.
Plug standard: CCS-1 (or SAE Combo)
Energy output: 25kW-350kW
Used by:In North America, only the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi Outlander. Tesla vehicles can also use with an adapter. However, an announcement made in 2020 signals the shift away from CHAdeMO for new vehicles
Plug standard: CHAdeMO
Energy output: 25kW-150kW
Used by: Tesla vehicles only.
Plug standard:Tesla Supercharger
Energy output: Up to 250kW
Electric utility programs
Electric utilities, from local municipal utilities to investor-owned utilities, play an important role in accelerating EV adoption. Integrating EVs into the electric system can drive down electricity rates for all customers, including those that don’t drive an EV.
EVs charging on the electric grid can require distribution system upgrades if not carefully planned. One of the ways utilities are planning for increased electricity load is by encouraging consumers to charge during low demand times like overnight (i.e., off-peak) through specialized rates and Smart charging technology, generally making it cheaper for EV drivers to charge their vehicle.
These time of use rates assess higher fees outside of the low demand times and can apply to the entire house or to the EV itself only. However, applying the rate specifically to the EV generally requires installing a separate meter to track energy usage, though utilities are beginning to pilot ways to encourage charging during low demand times without requiring the customer to sign up for a whole-home time of use rate or install a separate meter.
Find a program near you
The Great Plains Institute compiled a list of programs in 2020 that Minnesota utilities offer to customers who drive an EV. It indicates what subscribers pay during off-peak and on-peak times of the day and contains information about available rebates and renewable energy programs.
Links are provided below to some of the more common programs available in Minnesota. Be sure to check your utility’s website, or contact your utility, to receive information on programs available to you.
Charge your EV with renewable energy
Many utilities also offer renewable energy programs, allowing EV drivers to reduce their carbon footprint even further. The list below provides links to some of the larger programs available in Minnesota. Be sure to check your utility’s website, or contact your utility, to receive information on programs available to you.
Otter Tail Power Company TailWinds Wind Energy Program
Beyond utility programs, EV drivers can also power their vehicle directly with renewable energy, which not only makes the vehicle emission-free, but can create additional cost savings and benefits.
Solar energy is the most common on-site option for linking renewable energy to EV charging, and doing so can maximize the value of the on-site solar production and reduces the grid impacts of EV charging. This option works best if the EV is being charged during the middle of the day, such as when vehicles are parked at home during the day, or at workplaces, parking ramps, retail centers, and public amenities like parks. However, technology to link and manage on-site solar production with EV charging is still nascent, so it may not be available for all charging types or utility service areas.
Frequently asked questions
You’ll need a charging station, or an outlet at minimum, to charge your EV. Often, you can install a dedicated Level 1 (120v–slow) or Level 2 (240v–faster) charging station in your garage or driveway. Or you can use an outlet and the adapter that came with your vehicle to charge your EV over an extended period (e.g., overnight, waking up with a full battery). Otherwise, you’ll need to find a public charging station, which you can find at PlugShare.com or another EV charging station locator.
Installing a Level 2 charger is a relatively simple process, much like installing the wiring for a clothes dryer or other heavy appliance. Electricians can usually install this in a few hours, and your electric utility can connect you to an experienced installer. Installation costs can vary for this service but tend to be around 500-2,000.
All electricians have the basic skill set needed to install home charging infrastructure. If needed, your utility should be able to provide the names of electrician companies that have provided this service in your area.
It’s important to check with your landlord or housing manager before purchasing an EV, as your ability to charge at your home depends on their willingness to install a charger for you. Some employers also provide a charging option for employees as a workplace amenity, providing you with an alternative charging option if you can’t charge at home. Some cities are even allowing installation of charging along city streets for people who live in apartments without parking spaces. For more information about installing charging in a multifamily dwelling, check out mudcharging.com.
It depends on the type of charger and the amount of battery life left. Level 1 charging provides 2-5 miles of vehicle range per hour, Level 2 provides 10-50 miles of vehicle range per hour, and DC fast chargers provide 60-80 miles of vehicle range in about 20 minutes. Some ultra fast 350 kW DC fast chargers have the capacity to charge up to 300 miles in 20 minutes.
Forgetting to plug in an EV at night is usually not a big deal since most people use less than half of the range in a day. If you do forget to plug in and need to go further than your current range, you will need to stop at a public charging station, which you can find at PlugShare.com or the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Most public stations are privately held Level 2 chargers and cost a few dollars an hour, making them much less expensive than filling a gasoline tank. Some public Level 2 stations are free to use, and most employers who provide employee charging facilities provide it as a free amenity. DC fast chargers will cost more to use than a Level 2, and the fees vary widely. Some stations assess a per kilowatt-hour fee (e.g., 0.30/kWh or more), others assess a per hour fee (e.g., 12/hour), and still others assess a connection fee in addition to a per kilowatt-hour or by minute or hourly fee (e.g., 2.50 to connect and 0.35/kWh). If you’re interested in making your trip truly zero emission, you can find stations 100 percent powered by renewables, like wind and solar energy. Find these on PlugShare.com.
Can I take my EV on a road trip?
Yes. While road tripping in an EV might not be quite as simple as in a gas-powered vehicle, many EVs come equipped with over a 200-mile range. Coupled with increasing charging infrastructure, there are plenty of options for even the longest day of errands and adventures. Apps such as PlugShare can help you map out a long road trip.
EVSE, or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, is another name for an electric vehicle charging station.
A time of use rate is a rate offered by utilities to incentivize consumers to use electricity during specific times, generally overnight or low demand times. Typically, this means that the rate is higher when demand for electricity is higher, so the time you use electricity becomes just as important as how much you use. This offers significant benefit to EV drivers as most EV charging is done overnight during the low demand, low rate times.
Dumb stations behave like a standard outlet and do not offer data tracking, payment collecting capabilities, or opportunities to connect to on-site renewable energy or manage charging to reduce electric costs. Smart charging stations come equipped with the capability to require payment for use and to track charging statistics and control charging patterns or connections to on-site renewable energy (e.g., time of charging, length of charging, number of unique users, variable pricing), often with the use of Cloud network services. While these services have an ongoing subscription cost, they can also enable significant reductions in charging costs for commercial applications compared to an equivalent dumb charger. So, Smart chargers are often more expensive to maintain than dumb ones. Additionally, some utility incentive programs require the use of a Smart charger so the charging time can be tracked or controlled.
The charger itself can be as little as 400 for a dumb charger (no ability to make users pay for use) or as much as several thousand for a Smart charger (credit card swiping, data collection, ability to control charging rates, etc.). Occasionally, utilities will offer a rebate or purchase incentive for a Smart Level 2 charging station if you sign up for their time of use or off-peak program. Installation costs can run anywhere from 500-15,000, depending on the location and how much work is needed to bring electric service to where the charger will be located (e.g., digging up concrete, installing a new panel, installing a new meter, etc.). Home charging installations typically range 500-2,000 while public installations typically range 5,000-15,000.
DC fast-charging stations have significant capital investment associated with purchase and installation. A basic 50kW unit may cost 25,000-40,000 depending on manufacturer, and total turnkey installation may cost 60,000-100,000. Higher power levels that are more suitable for longer-range travel cost more. For example, 150kW DC fast chargers generally cost 75,000 or more just for the unit. Installation costs, which can be reduced by locating the unit close to an existing transformer, include utility power extensions, three-phase switchgear, parking space paint and signage, associated groundwork, and protection devices like bollards. Additionally, ongoing software and network, operating, and maintenance costs can be significant and should be considered prior to installation.
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DC Mobile EV Charging Stations
Bring the charger to the vehicle with EVESCO’s mobile EV charging stations. A mobile alternative to stationary DC fast chargers, the EVMO-S series from EVESCO delivers DC fast charging to any DC-compatible electric vehicle on the market via CHAdeMO, CCS (Combined Charging System) or GB/T. A genuinely portable EV charging solution with low weight and compact design can be deployed quickly and efficiently to meet growing charging demand without installing additional fixed charging equipment.
The mobile DC fast chargers are ideal for various applications and enable fleet operators, auto dealers, event planners, and other businesses to turn any three-phase outlet into a DC fast charging station. In environments with a high number of EVs bringing the charger to the vehicle can save an incredible amount of time compared to moving cars around to accommodate a stationary charger. A truly flexible solution with hot-swappable charging cables, broad supply input (305 VAC. 520 VAC, 40. 65 Hz), and an output voltage of 150 VDC. 1000VDC.
The EVMO-30 (208V) is a portable DC fast charger designed as a flexible alternative to stationary EV charging stations. It is a 30kW movable DC fast.
Specs: Output Power: 30kW Supply Input: 208VAC / 60Hz Cable Type: NACS, CCS1, CCS2, CHAdeMO or GB/T Charger Type: Portable DC fast charger
The EVMO-S Series of mobile DC fast chargers have been designed as a flexible alternative to stationary EV charging stations. The EVMO-30S is a 30kW.
Specs: Output Power: 30kW Supply Input: 305. 520VAC / 40. 65Hz Cable Type: NACS, CCS1, CCS2, CHAdeMO or GB/T Charger Type: Mobile DC fast charger
The EVMO-60 (208V) is a portable DC fast charger designed as a flexible alternative to stationary EV charging stations. It is a 60kW movable DC fast.
Specs: Output Power: 60kW Supply Input: 208VAC / 60Hz Cable Type: NACS, CCS1, CCS2, CHAdeMO or GB/T Charger Type: Portable DC fast charger
The EVMO-S Series of mobile DC fast chargers have been designed as a flexible alternative to stationary EV charging stations. The EVMO-60S is a 60kW.
Specs: Output Power: 60kW Supply Input: 305. 520VAC / 40. 65Hz Cable Type: NACS, CCS1, CCS2, CHAdeMO or GB/T Charger Type: Mobile DC fast charger
WHAT IS A MOBILE EV CHARGING STATION?
A mobile EV charging station, sometimes referred to as a portable EV charging station, is an electric vehicle charger that you can quickly and easily move from location to location or vehicle to vehicle. It is different from a stationary EV charger as it can be moved and is solely designed for the mobile charging of electric vehicles. Mobile EV chargers can come in various sizes and power configurations; there are level 2 EV charging stations that are portable and are available on the market; however, at EVESCO, we only offer level 3 mobile DC fast chargers as these can provide the quickest charge time for electric cars.
There are many use cases where a mobile EV charging station would be more beneficial than a fixed installation. These include auto dealerships and fleet operators who have to charge many electric vehicles. Bringing the charger to the car can save a lot of time and improve productivity, rather than having to get in each car and drive them to the charger only to have to get back in the car and move it back again and then repeat. Other use cases can include service stations and event planners.
EV Charging Basics
Learn more about different charging options for electric vehicles (EVs), plus where you can find rebates to help cover purchase and installation costs.
EV Charger Types
EV chargers are classified into three categories: Level 1, Level 2 and direct current (DC) fast chargers.
EV chargers are classified into three categories: Level 1, Level 2 and direct current (DC) fast chargers.
Important differences include:
- Input voltage. This is how much power a charger requires to operate and is expressed in volts.
- Power output. This is how much power a charger can generate and is expressed in kilowatts (kW).
- Charging speed. This is the number of miles added to the EV’s battery per hour of charging and depends on the charger’s power output.
- Equipment and installation cost. While basic EV chargers are inexpensive and can be plugged into a standard outlet, others have higher upfront equipment and must be installed professionally by an electric vehicle service provider (EVSP).
- EV power intake. Depending on your EV, the power output pulled from a charger (in kW) may be limited by how much the EV’s battery can withstand. Check your vehicle’s specifications to know which charging level your vehicle can use.
Numerous manufacturers produce EV chargers, with a variety of products, price points, applications and functionality. Because of these differences, it is important to choose an EV charger that fits your intended use and budget.
Direct Current Fast Charging
How fast is DC fast charging?
Depending on the EV, DC fast chargers can currently produce a 10-80% charge for a 300-mile range battery in approximately 20 minutes (~540 miles of electric drive per hour of charging).
What is the input voltage for a DC fast charger?
Currently available DC fast chargers require inputs of at least 480 volts and 100 amps, but newer chargers are capable of up to 1000 volt and 500 amps (up to 360 kW).
How much do DC fast chargers cost?
A CALeVIP Cost Data analysis found that the unit cost per charger for rebate recipients ranged from a minimum of 18,000 to a maximum of 72,500. The mean and median unit cost per charger was 29,135 and 23,000, respectively.
In addition to higher equipment costs, DC fast charger installations require a commercial electrician from the initial planning phase due to the electrical load and wiring requirements.
Is a DC fast charger the right EV charger for me?
DC fast chargers are the highest-powered EV chargers on the market. They often are used as range extenders along major travel corridors for long-distance trips and in urban environments to support drivers without home charging or very high mileage drivers. At current charging speeds, they are ideal for places where a person would spend 30 minutes to an hour, such as restaurants, recreational areas and shopping centers.
It is important to note that not every EV model is capable of DC fast charging, and therefore, they cannot be used by every EV driver. Further, DC fast chargers have multiple standards for connectors, whereas there is only one common standard for Level 1 and 2 charging (SAE J1772). DC fast chargers have three types of connectors: CHAdeMO, CCS and Tesla, though CCS is increasingly becoming the industry standard.
Level 2 Chargers
How fast is Level 2 charging?
A Level 2 charger can currently produce a full charge for a 300-mile range battery in about 6-8 hours and is perfect for destination and overnight charging.
What is the input voltage of a Level 2 charger?
Level 2 chargers typically require 220V or 240V service.
What is the power output of a Level 2 charger?
Level 2 chargers are available with a variety of power outputs from 3 kW to 19 kW, which can sometimes be adjusted.
How much do Level 2 chargers cost?
CALeVIP Cost Data show that rebate recipients reported average L2 equipment costs ranging from 685 to 6,626 per connector. The mean and median were 2,976 and 2,884 per connector, respectively.
Is a Level 2 charger the right EV charger for me?
Level 2 chargers are typical solutions for residential and commercial/workplace settings. Most offer higher power output than Level 1 chargers and have additional functionality.
Non-networked vs. networked chargers
In general, Level 2 chargers are distinguished between non-networked chargers and networked chargers.
Networked chargers have advanced capabilities, such as charge scheduling, load management and demand response. They are more common in commercial/workplace settings where payments are required or at multiunit dwellings (MUDs) where the property’s electricity bill is shared by multiple residents.
They may be designed for indoor or outdoor use (e.g., NEMA 3R, NEMA 6P, NEMA 4x rated).
Some models of networked chargers also can limit charging to certain hours, which allows the operator to maximize a time-of-use (TOU) electricity rate structure and only allow charging when electricity is the cheapest (usually sometime between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.). This type of control also increases the likelihood of participating in utility demand response programs.
Some of the enhanced features of a networked Level 2 charger include remote access/control via Wi-Fi or cellular connection, access control/ability to accept multiple forms of payment, load balancing across multiple chargers and more. Additionally, California will soon begin allowing the use of submeters already embedded within networked chargers to bill electricity use. For more information on submetering, visit the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) website.
Non-networked Level 2 chargers are used both in single-family residences and MUDs. They may be designed for indoor or outdoor use (e.g., NEMA 3R, NEMA 6P, NEMA 4x rated). Non-networked Level 2 chargers are useful for installations at MUDs or commercial sites that are powered by the residents’ or tenants’ subpanels.
In this case, any electricity used by the chargers will be charged to the individual’s electricity bill, thus eliminating the need to separately meter the chargers. Further, when electrical capacity is available, non-networked Level 2 chargers are useful for site hosts that need higher power than Level 1 charging but do not have a large budget.