Charging Electric Vehicles 101. Be charge charging station

Electric Vehicle Charging Overview

Imagine never having to stop at a gas station again – and instead, having an unlimited supply of fuel available at home or wherever you normally park. For many electric vehicle (EV) drivers, this is a reality. Battery electric vehicles never need gas, and for short trips, plug–in hybrids might use no gas.

EV charging is simple, cost–effective, clean and convenient, particularly when you are plugged in at home – filling up your car, even while you’re asleep.

There are three categories of electric vehicle (EV) charging: Level 1, Level 2 and DC fast charging. Levels 1 and 2 charging use a universal connector that can be plugged into any EV. DC fast charging uses three different connector systems called CHAdeMO, CCS Combo and Tesla Supercharger.

Although EV drivers primarily charge at home, workplace and public chargers are increasingly available in communities nationwide. Use our EV Charging Station Map to find nearby charging stations.

Level 1 Charging

Level 1 is the slowest method of charging but is sufficient for drivers who charge overnight and travel 30–40 miles per day. Charging cables usually come with a vehicle and plug into a standard 120–volt AC outlet with no equipment installation required. Level 1 charging works well for charging at home, work or anywhere a standard outlet is available – and when you have sufficient time to charge.

Level 1 charging uses a standard J1772 or Tesla connector that can plug into any EV, either directly, or through an adapter.

Level 1 charging adds about 3.5 – 6.5 miles of driving range per hour of charging time.

Level 2 Charging

Level 2 charging is considerably faster, but requires installing a charging station, also known as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). EVSE requires a dedicated 240–volt or 208–volt electrical circuit, similar to what is required for a clothes dryer or electric range. Level 2 is found at many public and workplace charging stations, but also in many homes. It uses the same standard connector as Level 1 charging, meaning any EV can plug in at any Level 2 charger.

Level 2 charging uses a standard J1772 or Tesla connector that can plug into any EV, either directly, or through an adapter.

Depending on battery type, charger configuration and circuit capacity, Level 2 charging adds about 14 – 35 miles of range per hour of charging time.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging, also called quick charging or supercharging, provides the fastest available fill–up. It requires a 480–volt connection, making DC fast charging unsuitable for home use, and not every EV model is equipped for it. Stations offering DC fast charging are found in shopping centers and often along major travel corridors, allowing EV drivers to charge up quickly and take longer trips.

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DC fast charging uses CHAdeMO, CCS or Tesla connector systems. Check with your vehicle manufacturer to determine if your car has fast charging capability and what connector systems are compatible with your EV.

Depending on battery type, charger configuration and circuit capacity, DC fast charging can add up to 100 miles of range in about 30 minutes of charging time.

Electric Vehicle Charging Costs

Home Charging CostsThe cost to charge your electric vehicle depends on your vehicle’s battery size and the price of electricity where you live. Most utilities offer time–of–use (TOU) rates that greatly reduce costs associated with charging a vehicle at home by charging during off–peak hours. Contact your utility to find out more. 1

While electricity costs vary greatly, the average cost of electricity in California is about 16.58¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh). 2 At this price point, charging a 40–kWh battery with a 150–mile range would cost about 4.42¢ per mile (or about 6.63 to fully charge). Meanwhile, fueling a 25–mpg gas vehicle at California’s average gas price of 3.11 per gallon 3 would cost about 12.44¢ per mile (or about 18.66 for enough gas to drive approximately 150 miles).

Home charging costs can be offset by hosting your charger on a home charging sharing network. EV drivers can earn money by sharing their home chargers or connect with other hosts to find convenient charging on the go. For more information about how you can earn money by sharing your home charger, please see these popular sharing networks:

Public Charging CostsWhile charging at home is generally preferred, many people also charge their EV at public charging stations. These stations can be free, pay–as–you–go or subscription-based, and are set by networks or property owners. Some vehicle manufacturers, such as Hyundai, Nissan and Tesla also provide complimentary public charging.

One popular public charging network charges members 1.50 per hour to charge on Level 2, and 26¢ per minute for DC fast charging in California. 4 At these rates, charging a 40–kWh battery with a 150–mile range would cost about 8¢ per mile on Level 2, and 9¢ per mile for DC fast charging.

For more information about public charging networks, here are some popular options available in California:

1 A list of utility providers is at https://www.energy.ca.gov/almanac/electricity_data/utilities.html2 https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state3 https://www.energy.gov/articles/egallon-how-much-cheaper-it-drive-electricity4 https://www.evgo.com/charging-plans/

Charging Station Rebates

Rebates for Residential Level 2 Charging StationsMany California utility providers and air districts offer rebates to make home Level 2 charging stations more affordable. Some of the rebates also help to offset the cost of installing the charging station at your home if additional electrical work is required. Find available rebates where you live.

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Rebates for Commercial EV Charging StationsProperty owners can take advantage of rebates for installing commercial charging stations for public use. EV charging is a desired amenity for many California drivers and can attract more traffic to your business, improve tenant or employee satisfaction and generate a new revenue stream (fees for charging). Following are incentives that decrease the cost of charger purchases and installation. Visit the websites for more information on program eligibility requirements and funding availability.

Utility Incentives

Air District Incentives

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.
    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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Drive Electric Minnesota is facilitated by the Great Plains Institute.

2801 21st Ave S., Suite 220 Minneapolis, MN 55407 [email protected]

Public Charging Map

Most EV drivers charge up at home overnight. If an employer has charging available that’s another popular option. Public charging helps out when you are on longer trips or don’t have access to charging at home. Vermont has about 350 public charging locations and more are on the way. We are fortunate to have the highest per capita rate of public charging availability in the United States, so odds are good there is a location near where you want to be. See our map and additional information below for details on finding and using public charging.

EV charging stations in Vermont:

Fast Chargers

Level 1/2 Chargers

Name

Fuel Available

The map shows current locations of EV charging stations according to the US Dept of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Station Locator. Please contact us if you are aware of a public charging site not shown on the map. Sites can take several weeks to appear after opening due to the verification process.

Charging Networks

Most public charging locations require payment. Typically Level 2 charging will cost around 0.20/kWh and DC Fast Charging will cost 0.35-0.50/kWh. Fast charging is significantly more than most people would pay to charge at home, although some automakers include credits for fast charging with an EV sale. Our charging station map does not include pricing information, so EV drivers are encouraged to sign up for an account with the payment network operator and check their website or smartphone apps before visiting. Current EV charging networks active in Vermont or nearby include:

Network information will appear in the station details pop-up when clicking on the map below. Some charging stations that are close together on the map may be hard to distinguish, so we recommend zooming in to your destination to confirm the location and number of charging ports.

Tesla also has their own dedicated network of Supercharger fast charging and level 2 Destination Charging. Most of these Tesla locations are available only to Tesla owners, but a small number of Superchargers are equipped with SAE CCS plug adapters to allow non-Tesla drivers to access them through Tesla’s smartphone app. Learn more about non-Tesla Supercharging at this Tesla support resource.

If you are traveling to Canada you will want to check out The Electric Circuit and Flo Network for charging on your journey. These networks also have Smart phone apps that can be used to start a charging session if you do not have an access card with you.

Other Charging Maps

Plugshare is very popular source of information on charging stations, with users able to filter locations based on their vehicle model, provide feedback, and plan trips through the smartphone app and website. ChargePoint also has a smartphone application which can show real time availability of charging stations on their network. Errors and omissions may exist in any of these sources.

Our current map of charging does not include information on plug types available at specific locations. We strongly recommend using PlugShare to filter charging locations to only show plug types compatible with your vehicle and reviewing recent user check-ins before relying on a DC Fast Charging location.

EV drivers are always encouraged to plan ahead and know where alternative charging station options may exist in case there is an equipment problem or a station is in-use. Some EVs have built-in systems to help plan long distance travel and find backup charging locations in case of an outage. PlugShare and A Better Routeplanner also offer EV road trip planning aids.

Future EV Charging Availability

Vermont has more public charging availability than many other states, but reaching the State’s goals for EV adoption will require expanding our network. Fortunately the State already has a contract in place with Blink EV Charging to build out 11 additional DC fast charging locations in Enosburg, Fair Haven, Johnson, Ludlow, Newport, Randolph, Rutland, Springfield, South Hero, St Johnsbury, and Wilmington. Another contract with Norwich Technologies will add fast charging at six more locations in Alburgh, Bradford, Brighton, Hardwick, Vergennes and Waterbury. Many of these should be installed in 2022. Additional information on State funding support for EV charging is available on the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s EV charging grant program resources. Adding charging at these 17 locations will mean travelers on Vermont roads will never be more than about 30 miles to a fast charging location.

The State is also working on a statewide EV charging plan to help guide future investments, including approximately 20 million in federal funding flowing to the State through the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. The Vermont Agency of Transportation’s website has a resource on NEVI requirements and opportunities for public comment.

Be charge charging station

Welcome to EV101: Electric Vehicle Charging Basics

What Affects Charging Speed?

Your vehicle

There are a lot of variables that affect each vehicle’s charging speed. When a battery is more depleted, the charging speed is typically faster. However, batteries don’t like to charge quickly when they’re too hot or too cold, so charging may be slower in extreme temperatures.

Different vehicle manufacturers design different batteries. And because the battery is usually the single most expensive “thing” inside a vehicle, it’s in everyone’s best interest to maximize the battery’s longevity, health, and safety. As a result, when a vehicle charges, the vehicle decides the power it draws from the charger in a way that maximizes longevity.

The charging system

Different electric vehicles have different capacities for charging speeds; charging stations also have different capacities, and the maximum rate of your charging session is determined by whichever is lower, the capability of the car or the charger. For example, a 50 kW capable EV would not charge any faster at a 350 kW station. Also, it is worth noting that higher capable vehicles can charge at lower capable stations, they are just limited to what the station can provide.

Outside temperature

Electric vehicle batteries don’t like to be too hot or too cold. The charging of a battery generates heat (check your mobile phone when its charging), and the battery management system will protect a battery from overheating, so when the battery gets too hot the battery management system will slow down charging (and if the ambient temperature is high or you’ve been driving your EV for a long time then this might happen earlier as the battery temperature is already elevated).

How Does the Vehicle Decide Your Charging Rate?

The vehicle’s Battery Management System (BMS — or “brain”) considers all of the factors explained above in order to maximize the longevity of the battery. Is the battery hot right now? Is it cold outside? Is the battery old and deteriorated? How full is the battery? Given all of this information, the vehicle tells the charger the voltage and current it can accept. the product of which determines the charge rate.

When the vehicle starts charging, it may reach (or get close to) the maximum charging rate (i.e. 50 kW). But as the charge continues — and the battery gets hotter and its cells start to fill — the vehicle will slow the charging rate to reduce the strain on the battery. When the battery is about 80% full, the charge rate can slow rapidly, as shown in the example below:

Why Does My Charging Speed Slow Down as I Charge?

A helpful analogy might be to imagine sitting in a movie theater. When the theater is empty, it’s easy to find a seat right away. But as the theater fills up, we have to take a few moments to find a seat — and climb over people (without knocking over their popcorn). That’s what happens with battery cells at the molecular level. When the battery cells are nearly empty, it’s easy to “find a seat” to charge. But as the battery cells fill up, it takes more time to find (and navigate) the empty cells. Generally, above 80% full is when it’s hardest for electrons to find a seat in your battery’s movie theater.

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NOTE: Your charging speed will slow down throughout the course of your charge. And every vehicle decides that “slow down rate” differently. Every manufacturer determines this in order to keep your vehicle’s battery healthy and increase longevity.

Why Does My Charging Speed Slow Down as I Charge?

To answer that question, we first have to understand the vehicle’s battery. When most people imagine a car battery, they might imagine one big block sitting inside the car. In reality, inside a “battery pack” are hundreds — and often thousands — of smaller “battery cells.” (The Tesla Model S has up to 7,104 battery cells!) As a result, when a battery charges, those thousands of cells are actually what’s being charged.

A helpful analogy might be to imagine sitting in a movie theater. When the theater is empty, it’s easy to find a seat right away. But as the theater fills up, we have to take a few moments to find a seat — and climb over people (without knocking over their popcorn). That’s what happens with battery cells at the molecular level. When the battery cells are nearly empty, it’s easy to “find a seat” to charge. But as the battery cells fill up, it takes more time to find (and navigate) the empty cells. Generally, above 80% full is when it’s hardest for electrons to find a seat in your battery’s movie theater.

NOTE: Your charging speed will slow down throughout the course of your charge. And every vehicle decides that “slow down rate” differently. Every manufacturer determines this in order to keep your vehicle’s battery healthy and increase longevity.

Why Am I Not Getting the Maximum Charge Rate on My Car’s Nameplate?

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There are several reasons for this. When a car advertises a maximum charging rate of 50 kW, that doesn’t mean it can consistently charge at that rate.

When a vehicle connects to a charger, a conversation takes place between the charger and the vehicle — and it’s dominated by the vehicle. The charger tells the vehicle both the voltage and current rates it can accept, and the charger provides only what the vehicle can accommodate. As a result, the vehicle manages its battery to provide the longest useful life by not overcharging it. Here are some examples of things that affect your charging speed:

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