If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) as your next car, it is important that you know that the EV experience is fundamentally different from the ICE experience, especially when it comes to charging. While refilling a traditional gasoline-powered car is as simple as pulling into a gas station, EV drivers have to think about factors such as range, how long it takes to recharge and the availability of public chargers in their neighborhoods.
Different electric vehicle models will come with different ranges. This range isn’t set in stone and will be affected by factors such as speed, wind, road conditions and traction. Furthermore, there are three different types of EV chargers, with Level 1 being the slowest, Level 2 being faster and DC fast chargers being the fastest chargers. The outlets in your home, for instance, are Level 1 chargers and are usually used for overnight chargers because they add only two to five miles of range per hour.
Level 2 chargers are slightly faster than Level 1 chargers, adding an average of 12 to 80 miles of range per hour. Level 3 chargers are the fastest chargers at a rate of 75 to 1,200 miles of range an hour. To put that into context, a DC fast charger can fill up your car in 30 to 45 minutes compared to a Level 2 charger, which can take up to eight hours. However, note that the charging speed will depend on your specific EV model.
For home charging, most experts recommend installing a 240-volt Level 2 charger and simply letting your EV refill overnight. DC fast chargers are used exclusively in commercial and industrial settings and cannot be installed at home. If you cannot install a home charger, you’ll have to rely on your local network of public chargers. This will afford you the benefit of using DC fast chargers (if you have a compatible EV) because Level 3 charging isn’t feasible for most homes.
Public chargers tend to be installed along highways, so you will need to plan your route beforehand to make sure you have enough juice to reach the nearest charging station. If you drive a Tesla, you can take advantage of the company’s Superchargers, which can add up to 200 miles of range in only 15 minutes. You can also use DC fast chargers from other providers such as Electrify America.
Ideally, you could also make your recharging visit a pit stop for you to take a break and rest. Since public chargers tend to be located close to malls, restaurants and shopping centers, you can take a break, eat and relax while your EV charges.
As the models released by sector actors such as Lucid Motors (NASDAQ: LCID) keep improving, a time may come when charging an EV takes as little time as it takes to refill a gas-powered car.
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