Charging Your Electric Car
At Home, Work or Out and About
There are three convenient ways to charge your electric car.
Imagine never stopping at a gas station again, and instead, have an unlimited supply of fuel available at home or wherever you normally park. For many electric car drivers, this is a reality. All-electric cars never need gas, and for short trips, plug-in hybrids might use no gas.
Electric car charging is simple, cost-effective and convenient, particularly when you are plugged in at home—filling up your car even while you’re asleep. How long it takes to charge depends on the charging equipment and the size of the car’s battery and its available charging capacity.
Although electric car drivers primarily charge at home, workplace and public chargers are increasingly available in communities nationwide.
There are three basic levels to charge your electric car. The time it takes to charge at each level depends on your drive and the size of the battery. Charging speed is also determined by the size of the on-board charger and power lever of the charging equipment.
Level 1 charging uses a standard 120-volt plug. Today, new electric cars come with portable charging equipment to allow you to plug in to any 120-volt outlet. One hour of charging at Level 1 equals about 3-5 miles of range to drive. From empty, a full size battery electric car will take approximately 17 hours to recharge. Level 1 charging happens for many who park their car in their garage at home with their 120-volt plug.
In most cases Level 2 requires charging equipment to be purchased and installed. Level 2 provides about 12-25 miles of range for every hour of charge. From empty, a full size battery electric car takes about 4-7 hours to recharge.
DC Fast Charging
DC fast charging provides up to an 80% charge in about 30 minutes.
DC Fast Charging is for public charging stations only and not for home use.
More electric cars are equipped for DC Fast Charging today, but always be aware of your car's port before you try to plug in.
Want to learn more on Fast Charging?
Check out this Quick Guide to Fast Charging by ChargePoint.
Level 1 and Level 2 Charging Options
Electric cars come standard with a 120-volt Level 1 portable charger. Yes, these chargers can be plugged into a simple household outlet, and don't require any special installation. Pretty cool, right?
With a basic Level 1, 120-volt charger, most electric cars are equipped for basic at-home charging, but drivers can also pursue a higher-powered Level 2 unit for sale and installation in their home.
Tesla’s electric cars come with a plug-in 120/240-volt Level 1/2 charger. These require a 240-volt outlet, which most owners need to have professionally installed.
In general most electric car drivers want the assurance and convenience of a quicker charge and eventually install the 240-volt, Level 2 charging ability in their home.
Find Electric Utility Savings
Find your electric utility company to learn about discounted electric car electricity rates, rebates and optimum charge times.
If charging at home is not an option or if you need to “top off” during the day for an extra errand, workplace charging is another convenient location to charge your car. Many employers are installing charging for their employees, so check with your company to see if this is an option for you.
If your employer has not implemented workplace charging yet, you can advocate that workplace charging is a good move. You can also provide them resources to help them consider the benefits.
Never fear! There are so many great charging station locators and mobile apps that help you find public charging stations when and where you need it. You can now expect public charging stations in public parking lots at the mall, the grocery store, movie theaters, community centers, arenas, hotels and airports.
Many are free or are offered at affordable prices, usually much less than the cost of gasoline.
You can search by charging speed and even by the station location you are interested, if it is available or currently in use.
Be sure to check with the car manufacturer and electric car driving manual for charging options that are right for your electric car. You may also need a subscription to charge with some of these networks, so plan ahead and do your research before going on that long road trip.