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Passing the Pump: Charging Your Electric Car at Home


Apr 02, 2018

Passing the Pump: Charging Your Electric Car at Home

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Over the past few years, many Americans have been making the shift to a greener lifestyle, whether it’s participating in small acts like using reusable grocery bags or investing in eco-friendly technology like solar panels. In fact, over 90,000 electric cars were sold in the United States in the first half of 2017.
 
Northern Virginia is no exception — more and more people have been making the switch from conventional gas vehicles to electric cars. Electric cars are not only environmentally friendly and cost-effective, but also provide Virginia drivers with significant green driving incentives, such as HOV lane access, tax deductions and auto insurance discounts. 
 
Owning an electric car can be extremely convenient, especially if you also have a home charging station. Let’s explore the benefits of electric cars, including how you can charge your green vehicle from the comfort of your own home. 

 

Types of Electric Cars and How They Work

 
What is an electric car?
 
Electric cars are vehicles that operate on electricity. Unlike traditional, gas- and diesel-fuelled vehicles, electric cars have battery-powered motors. 
 
Many people are switching to electric cars because they’re cleaner than conventional gas-fueled vehicles (even the most efficient ones!). According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “When battery electric EVs are powered by the cleanest electricity grids, greenhouse gas emissions from EVs are comparable to a car getting over 100 miles per gallon. When charged exclusively with renewable electricity like solar or wind, charging and operating an EV can be nearly emission-free.”
 
There are several models of electric vehicles (EVs) that range from partially to fully charged by electricity.
 

What are the differences between types of electric cars?

 
Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine a conventional gasoline-powered engine with a battery-powered electric motor. HEV batteries are not rechargeable by plugging into an external power source. Instead, hybrid-electric cars use regenerative braking to charge. HEVs use the electric motor as a generator to collect the energy that’s normally lost during braking. 
 
Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are partially powered by electricity. The motor is powered by a large battery that can be recharged by plugging into an outlet. The engine, however, is fueled by either gasoline or diesel. If the battery dies, the gas engine turns on, and the car will continue to drive as a hybrid-electric vehicle.
 
Battery-electric or all-electric vehicles (EVs) use electricity as their sole source of power, which makes them the greenest cars available. EV batteries are recharged by plugging into an external power source, like an at-home or public charging station. 

 

The Benefits of Electric Cars

 

EVs save you money. 
 
Although EVs can be more expensive upfront, the lower operating costs can save electric car owners money in the long run.
 
Electricity costs much less than gasoline and prices are often more stable. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “On a national average, it costs less than half as much to travel the same distance in an EV than a conventional vehicle.”
 
EVs also have fewer moving parts than conventional vehicles, so they need less maintenance. EV batteries wear out over time, but most car manufacturers offer 8-year/100,000-mile warranties
 
EVs are better for the environment.
 
There are three main ways that EVs contribute to a greener lifestyle:
 
  1. Reduced emissions. EVs have minimal exhaust emissions. Driving an EV reduces air pollution, which can help improve public health and reduce environmental damage. 
  2. Renewable energy. Charging your EV with renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power, further reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The use of renewable energy sources also helps support domestic energy production and reduce the nation’s dependence on oil.
  3. Eco-friendly materials. Some models of EVs are produced using recycled materials. For example, the Ford Focus Electric interior includes padding and cloth made from bio-based material, and the Nissan Leaf interior and body are partially composed of eco-friendly materials including plastic bottles, recycled clothing, old car parts and discarded home appliances. 
 
EVs are safer.  
 
Many features of EVs make them safer to drive than conventional vehicles. EVs are smaller, which means they have a lower center of gravity and therefore are less likely to flip over. They also use less or no gasoline, which lowers the risk of fire or explosion in the event of a collision.
 

How to Charge an Electric Car at Home

 

Charging your electric car at home is convenient and inexpensive. In fact, charging an EV at home over the course of a year can be cheaper than running an air conditioner. So how you you charge an electric car at home? Call one of our Warrenton electricians to install an electric car home charging station. 
 
There are two models of equipment that can be installed in your electric car home charging station — Level 1 EVSE and Level 2 EVSE. 
 
Level 1 EVSE charges through a 120 volt AC plug. This model supplies around two to five miles of power per hour of charging, which makes it suitable for plug-in hybrid cars. A Level 1 EVSE only requires an outlet to set up; however, it does require its own dedicated branch circuit. This circuit should not supply any other appliances. 
 
Level 2 EVSE charges through a 240 volt AC plug. Charging your EV with a Level 2 EVSE adds about ten to sixty miles per hour. This model does require installation of specific charging equipment and a branch circuit of 20 to 100 amps. Most houses are already set up with 240 volt service for heavy duty appliances like dryers and electric stovetops. 
 
Most homeowners install their at-home charging stations in garages, but you can opt for an outdoor EVSE that is designed to withstand weather. 

 

Give Your Home a Green Upgrade

 
Make sure your home is well-equipped to handle your eco-friendly lifestyle. Have our five-star technicians review your electrical needs and show you the safest, most effective ways to get the most from your power. Save the planet without sacrificing your lifestyle! Give us a call to schedule an appointment at 1-877-740-6657 or contact us online today.

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