While gasoline-powered cars tie you to regular gas station visits and price fluctuations caused by international events, EV charging is about flexibility and stability empowering you to charge at predictable prices at times that best fit your schedule.
So, what do you need to know to free yourself from the pump?
An EV charger pulls electrical current from either an outlet or the grid to deliver electricity to the vehicle—similar to standard appliances in your home.
Unlike gas pumps, EV chargers come in three varieties—Level 1 (L1), Level 2 (L2), and Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC). Each level of charger is identified by the power output expressed in kilowatts (kW).
Level 1: All mass-produced EV manufacturers provide a L1 charging cord with the purchase of a new vehicle and require no special installation or wiring to charge at home—the charger plugs into a standard 120-volt (V) AC plug. While the charging speed of an L1 charger may be slower, it is capable of meeting the needs of most drivers who do not commute long distances everyday (less than 50 miles).
Level 2: L2 chargers can be found at home and in public. L2 chargers use the same type of outlet commonly used for washing machines and other standard household appliances and can be easily installed at your house by a licensed electrician. Charging to “full” can be accomplished faster than with a L1 charger, meeting the needs of most daily commuters by allowing them to charge to high percentages—or “full”—overnight or while at work.
Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC): DCFCs are significantly faster than all other charger types. As a result, these chargers tend to be located at public charging stations with multiple ports, similar to traditional gasoline and diesel stations. These stations are most convenient for drivers traveling long distances and are often co-located with rest areas, stores, or restaurants along highways. DCFCs can charge from 0 to 80 percent in roughly 20 minutes.
Charging an EV is good for your wallet!
This is because the cost of electricity is consistently lower than gasoline, and experiences far fewer price fluctuations as a result of international events.
ZETA analysis shows that fueling a gas-powered car can cost up to 5x more than charging an EV. This matches up with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) findings that it costs the equivalent of $1.22 per gallon when charging your EV, compared to gasoline prices which have ranged from $3.00-5.00+ recently.
At the same time, charging is incredibly convenient. The DOE estimates that 80% of charging is completed at home due to the low cost and convenience—meaning you will rarely have to make a stop at a public charging station.
Road trips are an American pastime and with each passing year, more and more drivers are packing up and driving their EVs across dozens of states.
Planning your route to align charging with stops to eat, see the sights, and stretch your legs will help reduce the impact on your travel time. It is also important to remember that the national charging network is still in its early stages. Identifying when you will need to charge and where will be a crucial part of planning out your route.
At the same time, some vehicle manufacturers provide assistance through onboard navigation software by recommending public charging stations along your route to maximize efficiency. There are also several apps and resources available to help drivers plan their trips.