Things To Know Before Buying An Electric Vehicle
Electrical Vehicle Charging Fundamentals – Part Two
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.)
Last week we went over some basic information on EV charging stations, charging cords, and relevant facts. We also took a look at the AeroVironment Dual Voltage Plug-In Car Charger; this week, we’ll review actual models of electric vehicles and compare their electrical needs – and whether or not your EV purchase will require an electrician’s expertise.
While that might be disappointing, this sentiment is expressed only about the charger – and not about electric vehicles themselves. Let’s take a look at some EVs and what their electrical needs are, like those listed in Kelly Blue Books Most Popular Electric Cars of 2014:
- The Toyota Prius Plug-In: While the Prius can be charged from any normal outlet, Toyota recommends a Leviton Charging Station at 240 Volts, which must be installed by a licensed electrician. This vehicle is a hybrid, so it uses both electricity and fuel.
- The Ford Fusion Energi: Normal voltage or plugging-in is considered ‘trickle charging’ and won’t get you the promised 2.5 hours of ‘flash charging’ without an electrician-installed 240 Volt charger. This vehicle is also a hybrid, so it uses both electricity and fuel.
- The Ford C-Max Energi: While 240 Volt super charging is recommended, the battery is small enough – at a 20 mile radius – that a three hour charge isn’t imperative. The cord-set that comes with the vehicle is designed for charging on a traditional, residential 120 Volt circuit in six to seven hours of sitting. This vehicle is a hybrid, so it uses both electricity and fuel.
- The Tesla Model S: Inarguably the purest electric vehicle on this list, the Tesla S requires a whopping 10 kiloWatt charger on a 240 Volt circuit for its normal charging station. Home consumers can opt for a 20 kW twin-charger, also at 240 Volts. The public superchargers offer a 120kW flash charge, free of charge, thanks to Elon Musk. In other words: call an electrician for the correct installation and powering of this beast of an electric vehicle.
- The Nissan Leaf: This is another pure-electric vehicle; however it doesn’t bring anywhere near the same kind of punch as the luxury sedan listed above. It is economical, compact, and very accommodating – coming home with a 110 Volt trickle charger, and compatible with a 240 Volt Nissan charging dock. One requires an electrician, and one requires a patient customer. (AeroVironment offers ‘white glove service’ – scheduling the installation with an electrician, a charger, and a warranty for the bargain basement price of $1,999. Thanks, Nissan!)
- The Chevrolet Volt: This is a hybrid vehicle in an uncommon way – the combustion engine is designed to fuel … an electric generator, which charges the batteries. Weird, but it makes for guaranteed range: 380 miles on 9.3-ish gallons of gas. However, it also means that charging is easier, since the Volt offers convenient, non-proprietary charging means – but a normal 110 Volt circuit will be a trickle charge, and getting full charge into their batteries requires 240 Volt power either from an installation at home or in public.
The comparison of widely-available electric vehicles has to stop here by nature of the limited market. Unfortunately, things like the Honda Accord PHEV or FIT EV did not make it to Colorado (or more than eleven thousand vehicles off the manufacturing line, apparently). It’s kind of discouraging when you consider how big the new car market is, and how narrow it is for electric vehicles. However, it does leave room to get excited about upcoming projects, like the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (coming in 2016) or the Audi electric SUV (coming in 2017)!
Thinking about getting an Electric Vehicle of your own? Have questions you’d like an electrician to address? Don’t hesitate to start up a conversation in the comments!
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.
Call, e-mail, visit our website, or stop by our office today, and allow Swartz Electric to serve YOU.
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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