What are the differences in charging levels?
Level 1 - Plugging a vehicle into a 110V outlet (an ordinary wall outlet like you would plug your phone into), is the slowest option for charging. In a Nissan Leaf, you would get about 4-5 driving miles per hour of charging. Given that there are few infrastructure upgrades necessary, this is the most cost effective option, but also one that is completely undesirable. This may be an option for small EVs with limited range (like scooters) but otherwise, electric car owners should avoid this at all costs.
Level 2 - Level 2 charging uses 208 or 240V power(similar to a dryer or dishwasher), these charging stations provide about 20-25 driving miles per hour of charging, so they provide a faster charge time. Depending on how far your average commute is, you would likely only need to charge for ~2 hours at night to maintain a high battery level. The cost of installing a charging station can vary depending on the distance from charging station to where it is pulling power from. This is the most common charging station and ideal for in-home charging.
NEMA Plug - It is possible to get a Level 2 charge without a charging station by utilizing a NEMA plug. However, NEMA plugs are created with a relatively short life cycle (every time you plug it and unplug it is one cycle) and require you to pack and unpack a charging cable every time you use it. Additionally, in a condominium or apartment building, a sub-meter would likely also need to be installed so that the power the vehicle is using can be tracked. This not only takes up more wall space, which is always a concern but also run an additional ~$1k + install costs.
Higher Amperage Chargers - Some higher amperage level 2 chargers are available, and given that they are higher amperage, they can normally give a faster charge. However, with that extra power pull, not every home can support these. Additionally, with the amount of power they require to operate, they are normally not feasible to install in an apartment or condominium due to power being a shared community resource. A building's garage only has so much power to spare and taking up most of it on a single station doesn't really work when multiple residents need charging stations.
DC Fast Charging/ Supercharging - When most people think of Fast Charging, the first thing that comes to mind is Tesla’s Supercharger. Given the cost of installation and the amount of power these require, they are only viable in public spaces. Since the charger connects directly to vehicle's high voltage battery, these charging stations typically give about 40 miles of range every 10 minutes. They are perfect if you are on a road trip or in an emergency situation but are typically not viable as the only means of charging an EV. This is due to charge times, as you would be better suited simply installing a Level 2 station at-home and charging up overnight rather than waiting around at an DC fast charger for 45-60 minutes.
Do Non-OEM chargers void my vehicle’s warranty?
This one is quick and easy: No, they will not. You do not have to buy a charger from the manufacturer of your vehicle. While some might offer you discounts at the time of purchase its always advisable to find out more about your particular charging situation before moving forward. Every home is different and you may end up buying a charging station you cannot use, so take the extra time and speak with an expert. This goes doubly for those living in apartments or condos as you will undoubtedly want to make sure you install the right charging station the first time.
How does EverCharge work?
We work with residents, HOAs, and building owners in condominiums/apartment buildings to enable dedicated charging for all residents. Our solution connects to common area power and is installed directly in a resident’s parking space. From there, we monitor the power that is used when our members are charging their vehicles, bill them accordingly, and reimburse the electrical usage back to the HOA/property. Additionally, we provide all of the necessary insurance for our members as well as 24/7 ongoing service, support, and maintenance. Using EverCharge buildings also avoid costly infrastructure upgrades that they would face with traditional solutions. This is thanks to our award-winning smart charging technology called SmartPower.
What’s the difference in installing a charging station in my house versus a condominium or apartment building?
Single Family Home - Installing in your house is relatively simple and straightforward since the electrician is connecting a charging station directly into the meter at your house and the distance is typically <30 feet. Making most installs quick, easy, and affordable.
Condominium or Apartment - In a condominium or apartment, the distance is often much longer and complex. Additionally, to install a charging station in one of these buildings, the property and/or HOA have to approve the installation process. Further, they will want a way to track the power that is used and get reimbursements from the residents that used it. Lastly, since the installation is in a “commercial” space, it often requires city permits to accompany it. Installations are typically between 100-150 feet from where the power source is, which can lead to higher installation costs when compared to installing it in your home.
Are there any tax credits or incentives for owning an EV or installing a charging station?
Yes, there are. Depending on where you live, many local governments and/or utility providers have incentives. Here is a very helpful tool to determine if there are any in your area. Additionally, there is information about a federal tax credit, here. Some utility providers, such as LADWP, are offering great rebate programs for buildings to install charging stations in their parking facilities, so its always good to check with your utility provider as well.
Battery Capacity, Charging Rate
Different vehicles have different capacities for batteries which would dictate the rate in which a vehicle could charge and the range that vehicle can drive. Below is a chart of some common vehicles that includes their battery charge rate, approximate drivable miles per hour charged, and the total range of the vehicle