05/05/2022

A Quick Guide for New EV Owners

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5 Min. Read

The number of electric vehicle (EV) owners is increasing rapidly. With gas prices so high and a plethora of new car models from which to choose, that trend will only accelerate. If you’re among the many new EV owners, there are some things you should know. This blog highlights a few essential tips.

Charging at home is easiest for EV owners

In the U.S., 80% of EV charging is done at home, generally overnight, rather than at public charging stations. If you can plug in the car at work, great, but you’re not there seven days a week. So, it would help if you looked at home charging options. There are two big reasons for this:

  • Charging overnight at home ensures your vehicle will be sufficiently charged and ready to go each day. Most fully charged EV batteries have a range of at least 250 miles. Even if you’re commuting a short distance, it’s nice to have a full battery ready in the morning so you don’t have to think about it.
  • Time and money savings. Charging at home is cheaper and faster for EV owners than using public charging stations. By charging at home overnight, you take advantage of your downtime and cheaper electricity rates. Otherwise, you may have to search for an available charging station and then have to kill considerable time waiting to accumulate enough juice. Filling up at public charging stations also costs more. Besides recouping the cost of the electricity, the public charging station management needs to factor overhead plus profit into their pricing structure.

A Level 1 charger isn’t typically enough

New EVs typically come with a Level 1 charger. This lets you plug your car into a 120-V standard household outlet anywhere the charger’s cord reaches. A Level 1 charger is a great backup tool to store in your trunk for emergencies but not a realistic daily option for many vehicle drivers. Plugged in for eight hours, it can only give you about 40 additional miles in range. U.S. drivers average about 29 miles daily, so a Level 1 is adequate for many people. However, most EV owners find it way too slow, particularly if they need to travel a longer distance. In 24 hours, you are only adding 120 miles of range.

Accordingly, most EV owners find a Level 2 charging station meets their needs and strikes the right balance of speed, cost and convenience. Level 2 chargers are not too expensive, use the same 240-V power as a clothes dryer and can recharge EV batteries six to 20 times faster than a Level 1 charger. They let you add 25 to 40 miles of range per hour to quickly replenish your vehicle’s power overnight. Some of the newer chargers coming onto the market can charge up to 80 miles per hour

What about Level 3 DC Fast Chargers? These commercial-grade EV chargers use higher voltage and direct current (hence the DC in their name). That voltage is not ordinarily available in residential areas, and the charger itself can cost as much as your vehicle.

EV efficiency can be measured like mpg in gas-powered cars

To understand your new EV’s capabilities, it helps to learn its range and the battery’s charging speed. Additionally, you will undoubtedly want to be able to gauge (and brag about) your MPGe or miles per gallon equivalent. MPGe was developed to determine how far an EV can travel on the amount of energy that would have been derived using one gallon of gas. This measurement enables you to compare the “fuel efficiency” of your EV to that of similar cars and those with internal combustion engines.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) devised the MPGe formula. It determined that 33.7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity is equivalent to the energy content of a gallon of fuel. So, an EV uses 33.7 kWh of electricity to travel 100 miles, or an MPGe of 100. This enables you to calculate how much it costs to charge your car.

However, it is misleading to compare this directly to the mpg in your previous car. Instead, use the MPGe calculation to figure out how much it costs to charge your battery and go 100 miles. Then compare this to the cost of the number of gallons it took to drive 100 miles in your old gas-powered vehicle.

A U.S. News comparison between the gas-powered 2018 Ford Focus and the electric version determined that it cost $2.86 (when gas averaged $2.86) to go 31 miles but only $1.24 for the electric model. Of course, it depends on the local utility company’s electricity price, the time of day the battery was charged and whether the EV owner uses a public charger or one at home.

When installing a home charger, safety and experience are essential

Once you decide to install a Level 2 charging station, you need to ensure that your home’s electrical circuits are robust enough to support it. Your panel may need upgraded. Level 2 charging Stations require a dedicated 240-V outlet. With higher voltage involved and the risk of fire or damage to appliances, installing a Level 2 charging station is not a do-it-yourself project or even something any electrician can do.

You want to enlist a certified installer to ensure safety for your home and your new car. A certified installer has been trained and specializes in EV charging installation. They can help figure out the best location for the charger, determine what your home will need to accommodate it, get the required permits and complete a proper installation.

New EV owners can avoid any hassles with their charging installation by relying on experts, such as Qmerit’s network of qualified electrical service contractors across the U.S. and Canada who specialize in EV charging installations. You do not need to search for a dependable, qualified EV charging installer to help you; partnering with Qmerit makes it easy. We deliver trusted installation solutions to stakeholders across the EV ecosystem, including homeowners, automakers, EV charger manufacturers and fleet managers.

Qmerit products, services, and Certified Installer Network stand behind EV drivers to ensure the most satisfying EV ownership experience possible. Contact Qmerit today to find out how we can simplify your EV transition.

Author: Lowry Stoops Lowry Stoops President, Qmerit Network