Charging Electric Cars at Home
The benefits of electrifying your drive are obvious: reduced or zero emissions, smooth electric performance, and fuel savings. But you will only maximize those benefits – and maximize your convenience – if you’re able to charge at home.
The infrastructure in America for charging electric vehicles, and charging them quickly, just isn’t at the same level as gasoline. Even fueling on the fastest public chargers you’ll want to grab a coffee while you wait for your EV to fill up. On the other hand, plugging in your vehicle when you get home and letting it charge overnight is super-convenient and helps extend the life of your battery. All you need to do is plug in – just like you would your phone or laptop.
Electric Car Home Charging: Convenience
Imagine never having to visit a gas station again. That’s what switching to electric gives you. No more dealing with messy fuel pumps. No more fiddling with cards and cash late at night. No more hassles. That’s what home charging gives you – the ultimate in-house comfort and convenience.
For most Americans, driving routines are just that – routine. You likely get up in the morning, maybe drop the kids off at school, go to work, run some errands on the way home, and then do it all again the next day. The vast majority of electric cars on sale have more than enough range to accommodate all of this activity in a day.
And when you get home, you can simply plug in your EV. The best and cheapest time to charge is typically at night, when you’re sleeping. Plus, when you get up the next day, you’ll have a full tank of electrons! That’s even better than gas.
Electric Car Home Charging and Batteries
Charging at a slower speed overnight is better for your battery than using frequent fast charging at public charging stations.
Level 3, or DC fast charging stations, bypass your electric car’s power electronics and its inverter to charge the battery at a much higher rate. But DC fast charging is like junk food for your car. Accelerating the chemical reaction that produces power can make your car’s battery deteriorate a bit more quickly.
It’s a little like the fast chargers you can buy for your laptop or cell phone. You can buy higher-speed chargers for your personal electronics that will fill their batteries much faster than the units they came with, but you’ll notice over time that your battery might not hold a charge for quite as long as it used to.
AC charging, what you’d generally use at home, takes longer because the chemical reaction, moderated by the vehicle’s power electronics, is gentler – the components of the battery aren’t being bombarded at high speed. DC chargers can push power to the battery up to 30 times as fast as a home charger, so you can imagine that it has slightly more of an effect on wearing out the battery.
Just like it’s okay to occasionally have a “cheat day” and wolf down a burger and fries, even if you’re on a healthy diet, it’s okay to take advantage of DC fast charging on long trips where you need a quick fill-up. But you don’t want your EV’s daily diet to be from fast chargers.
How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car at Home?
One of the major reasons to move to electric from gasoline is reduced energy costs.
Just like cooking at home is cheaper than going out for dinner, EV home charging is cheaper than using public charging stations.
Indeed, because they are the source of power for your EVs, electric utilities are incentivized to help you learn about the benefits of electric cars. Many provide special electric car rates – only for customers with EVs. This not only reduces the cost of charging, it also reduces the total cost of home electricity.
Some utilities also offer customers reduced rates at certain times – often at night. Time Of Use rates are not specific to EV owners and, therefore, anyone can take advantage of the reduced rates. Many electric cars and Level 2 chargers can be programmed to charge an electric car during the reduced-rate times. This means you can take advantage of reduced costs without having to remember when to plug in.