Things To Know Before Buying An Electric Vehicle – Part 1

Electrician Colorado Springs
September 2, 2015

Things To Know Before Buying An EV

Electrical Vehicle Charging Fundamentals – Part One

One of our largest growing areas of business over the last year and a half has been Electric Vehicle charging stations.  It doesn’t sound very glamorous – but, we did install a Tesla destination charger at the Old Town Guesthouse in Old Colorado City.  Most of these charging adapters or stations (or even just a high voltage, high amperage outlet to plug your PEV in to) end up in homeowners garages – and while that doesn’t let us show off, we know we’re doing an awesome job, everyday, for every customer!  (Don’t believe me?  You can always check out our Google+, Yelp, or Customer Reviews to see just how awesome.)

The idea of an electric vehicle is extremely appealing – but there are other factors to consider when making such an important purchase.  Since an electric vehicle (or hybrid) is powered by electricity, consideration should be paid to how you will fulfill your car’s requirements for electricity.  With a traditional combustion vehicle, you would just go to a gas station and fill your tank – likewise, electric cars can be charged via charging stations or an electric vehicle charger at home.  Keeping in mind that you are powering a motorized vehicle, it would make sense that your vehicle would need a lot of juice from its’ charging system, right?

The new ‘gas station’ for a brighter EV future…

But what is an electric vehicle charging station?  What does it require?  Not only that – but is it really required for you to purchase a high-voltage, high-current circuit or have us hard wire in your charger?  Why can’t you just drive your car home and plug it in to any old outlet?

To begin with, let’s consider that electric vehicle owners are going to need places to charge their cars.  Not only that, but what about the cord – do you bring your own?  What style should it be?  Where will you plug in?  Did you know that there are more than one kind of plug – and more than one kind of charging power?  Not only that, but your car chargers are smart tools, equipped with the ability to monitor your batteries charging capacity, discharge state, and transmit data on temperature, and how quickly the battery pack wants the charge to flow.   So what does that mean in terms of electric vehicle chargers?  Does that mean you shouldn’t get an EV, or not charge it at home, or…?

Make no mistake – you can always use a public charging station.  Like a gas station pump, they’ll require you to pay for the electricity your vehicle is going to consume.  However, you can leave your car charging – while you are working, shopping or otherwise spending time elsewhere, and your car sits unused.


We’ve already discussed that sometimes just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.  This means that even though you might think your car doesn’t need an electrician to operate at its best capacity, every manufacturer (and charging distributor) suggests having a licensed electrician do a high-powered charging port install.

AeroVironment Dual 120/240V Plug-In EV Charger, courtesy your favorite DIY box store

While we would never want to stand in the way of someone’s dreams of a greener, cleaner and leaner environment, we always recommend our customers make informed decisions and – when necessary – consult with a professional.  If we take the AeroVironment Dual 120/240V Plug-In EV Charger pictured above, do you wonder why you would need an electrician for such a thing?  Well, let’s look at some statistics.

  • The lower voltage charger (110V) uses 12 Amps – a traditional home circuit can only support 15.  This means plugging it in at home could lead to tripping breakers, and that at the very least the charging cord needs to be on a dedicated circuit with no other items plugged into it.
  • The charger turbo-charges when using 240 Volts.  Most buildings don’t offer that kind of power just for the asking.
  • The Turbocord needs a Nema-6P outlet – even the manufacturers website says,

The TurboCord was designed to be small, light, and safe. The NEMA 6-20P Plug configuration was chosen because of its small size which allows the body of the TurboCord to be much smaller than if a 30 Amp plug been used. The 20 Amp rating of the plug matches the electrical code requirements for the 16 Amp rating of the TurboCord. Consult a qualified electrician for your installation. The installation of the outlet requires a NEMA 6-20R receptacle, an outlet cover for outdoor use, and a 20 Amp 2-Pole Circuit Breaker.

Join us next week as we address specific vehicles electrical needs, and explore the different kinds of electric vehicles available today – hybrids, combustion energized, and straight electric powered.

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Swartz Electric – Your Colorado Springs Electrician performs electrical work throughout Colorado Springs, Monument, Black Forest, Fountain, Falcon, Woodland Park, and everywhere in between. We are the electricians in Colorado Springs to solve your electrical problems and meet your electrical requirements.

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This is an original article written by Mai Bjorklund for Swartz Electric. This article may not be copied whole or in part without the express permission of Swartz Electric, LLC.

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