Home Charging

P90243367_highRes_bmw-i-wallbox-for-chOne of the great advantages of driving a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) is the ability to refuel while your vehicle is parked at home. You can plug in when you get home from work and often be refilled before heading out the next day. The length of time it takes to recharge the batteries depends on factors such as how far the vehicle has traveled since it was last plugged in, the size of the battery in the vehicle and what size of power supply you have available.

How does the cost of recharging at home compare to driving a vehicle using gasoline? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the cost of driving an electric vehicle in the Midwest would be comparable to paying, on average, a $1.20 per gallon of gasoline. This is based on the price of electricity and the fact that electric engines are much more efficient than internal combustion engines like those that run on gasoline.

Level 1 Recharging
All PEVs come with the ability to plug in to a standard three-prong 120-volt household electrical outlet to recharge. Recharging at home can be as simple as plugging in a cord. Many electric vehicle owners find this more than adequate for their daily needs. According to the Department of Energy, this kind of “Level 1” charging can add two to five miles of driving range for each hour the vehicle is plugged in. So as an example, a PEV plugged in for 12 hours overnight could refill its range up to 60 miles, depending on the vehicle.

Level 2 Recharging
PEV owners who may want to recharge more quickly can purchase a “Level 2” supply unit that runs on a dedicated 240-volt circuit, which often requires professional installation by an electrician. A Level 2 supply unit can provide 10 to 20 miles of range per hour of recharging, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Depending on how and when you typically use your vehicle, a Level 2 charging system may offer you more flexibility and convenience than a standard 120-volt outlet.

Time of Day Scheduling
Many PEVs come with the ability to schedule what time the vehicle begins to recharge its batteries. For example, you might plug the vehicle in after your commute home from work, but you could program the car to wait to begin recharging until 10 p.m. This allows vehicle owners to take advantage of special programs some electric utilities provide that offer lower electricity rates during “off peak” times, such as late at night and weekends. This can make recharging your electric vehicle even cheaper than it already is, compared to vehicles relying on gasoline. You should contact your electric utility to find out what incentives they offer for electric vehicle owners or programs they have for “Time of Day” pricing.