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Where do I charge it if I buy an EV?

By Tom Waggener

When I first contemplated purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), the first question that crossed my mind was, "Where do I charge it?" The answer, as it turned out, was closer to home than I expected.

Setting up a charging station became part of my pre-purchase planning, whether in the garage, carport, or conveniently near my home.

Let's start by going over the different charging levels available.

Level 1 charging, plugging into a standard 110-volt outlet, was my starting point. It was as simple as connecting my car to any common home outlet, much like one I'd use for a TV or laptop. However, I soon realized that for most EVs, this method was painstakingly slow. With my car boasting a max range of 250 miles, it would gain a mere 4 miles of range per hour of charge. It meant a staggering 60 hours of charge time from empty to full.

Next up was Level 2 charging, the preference of many EV owners. Installing a NEMA 14-50 outlet, similar to those used for modern clothes dryers, provided a 50-amp charge. This setup significantly accelerated the charging process. My car would gain approximately 30 miles of range per hour of charging, ensuring that overnight charging left me fully topped up every time.

Then came Level 3 charging, the pinnacle of on-the-road charging for speed. Tesla's Supercharger network was my go-to for rapid replenishment. At its peak, it could add an impressive 300 miles of range per hour. And for newer Teslas equipped with advanced charging systems, this figure soared to a relative 1,000 miles per hour, allowing for an 80% fill-up in just 15 minutes. While still not as swift as filling a gas tank, the difference in fueling/charging times for trips under 10 hours was barely noticeable.

Through this journey, I found that each level of charging offered its own set of advantages and considerations. From the convenience of Level 1 charging at home to the rapid recharge capabilities of Level 3 on-the-go charging, owning an EV became not just a mode of transportation but a lifestyle choice aligned with my values of sustainability and innovation.

This story was posted on 2024-05-24 08:20:05
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