Electric cars are all the rage, and for very good reason. They’ve been around for a while, but as they’re becoming more and more highly-developed, many are arguing that they will continue to represent the next step in environmentally-friendly automobile evolution. With more and more companies offering a wider and wider selection of electric cars (from the more affordable Chevrolet Volt to the luxury Tesla Motors line), the option is becoming affordable to more drivers than ever before.
For many auto owners, however, the questions that are asked before buying an electric car have less and less to do with the car itself. How the car will drive, and what kind of mileage it will get have become afterthoughts do the question of how the car will actually get to be charged to begin with.
A few different ways exist to charge your electric or hybrid car at home, and the most common is what’s known as a “Level 1” system. Out of the three levels, Level 1 is the most accessible, and only uses 120 volts. It’s compatible with a standard three-prong wall outlet, so you don’t need any special equipment or accessories. The problem is that they’re fairly slow, needing around 8 hours (or more) to give your car a full charge. This is fine if you can plug your car in as soon as you get home and avoid using it all night, but isn’t wonderful for those who put a lot of miles on their car or use it constantly.
The second level comes in at 240 volts and offers you a much faster charge than the first level. If you’re running 240 volts and close to 30 amps, as the level 2 charger is capable of doing, then your charge time is cut nearly in half, ending in about four to six hours, typically. The drawback here is that this system has to be installed by a professional. They’re wall-mounted and will sit right there in your garage, but you’ll also need a permit before it can be installed. Once it’s in, however, you’ll have a quick and convenient way to charge your electric car. As they become more widespread, too, more and more car companies are partnering with companies to offer installation for customers who buy electric and/or hybrid cars.
“High voltage” charging is the third and highest level of electric car charging, and is normally available at rest stops, shopping malls, or other places like gas stations where a quick charge might be necessary. High voltage chargers will juice your car up quickly, hitting about 80% in under a half hour in most cases. This is an extremely expensive option for the home, but can be a possibility if you demand the fastest charging time available for your car.
Picking the right charger is the key to making sure your electric car gets you all the use you need from it. It’s easy to compare discount vehicle insurance online, but picking the right charger is a sensitive and potentially expensive decision. Now that you know a little more about at-home car charging, you’ll be able to make sure you make the right one.