EVs are charged while we sleep!
85% of charging happens at home so first focus on figuring out your home charging setup. After that you can take a look at the public charging to support your road trips and travel needs.
Get in touch with your electric utility company!
Your electric utility company is happy to help you figure out your home charging setup. Most have special EV rates that provide cheaper electricity during off-peak hours and some even provide charging installation incentives. MNCharging.org provides you a direct link to your own electric utility.
Federal tax credit for EV charging station installations.
There is a federal tax credit for the cost of installing EV charging equipment. If you install EV charging equipment between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2020, to your own garage you are eligible to claim 30% of costs up to $1,000. For business properties, these limits are 30% of costs up to $30,000. Learn more.
Level 1 Charging
Level 2 Charging
Every car comes with a Level 1 charging cord that can be used to charge the car from any standard 120V household outlet. Level 1 charging works well if you drive on average less than 30 miles/day. Make sure to have an electrician install a new, high-quality outlet.
All manufacturers (except Tesla) use the standardized J1772 connector for Level 1 and Level 2 charging.
If you want to take full advantage of your EV, you should have an electrician install a 240V Level 2 charging station. It charges your car much faster and can usually fully charge the battery overnight no matter how many miles you drive during the day. Usually, these require a 40 A breaker and wiring, but some higher power models could require 80 A power.
Condominiums and Apartment Buildings
EV charging at Multi Unit Dwellings (MUDs) can be a bit more complicated because there are more stakeholders involved and usually these installations also lead to more holistic system considerations. Get your utility company involved because they can provide technical assistance and might even have some MUD charging programs in place. You can visit MUDCharging.com for more information.
New outlet installations for Level 1 cord charging and Level 2 charging station installations are relatively easy and can likely be done by any electrician. If you are considering a special EV rate from the utility or don't have a trusted electrician, talk with your utility company because they often have a list of electricians that are experienced in EV charging station installations.
Visit and Destination Charging
Grocery stores and shopping malls often install Level 2 charging stations to attract customers to shop at their stores (known as visit charging). Level 2 charging is also a valuable amenity for EV drivers at hotels, resorts, parks, and other locations where people will spend more than an hour. This is called destination charging.
Charging can be a great marketing tool because EV owners use mapping apps to choose where to visit and stay.
DC Fast Charging
DC Fast Charging is the quickest way to recharge a battery on the go. These stations are often installed by highway corridors or by busy highway intersections around bigger metro areas. Usually, people stop between 20-60 minutes at these charging stations and treat their stop as a good time to grab a bite to eat, stretch their legs, and check their email. This provides good opportunities for local businesses.
There are three kinds of DCFC connectors used in the U.S. Tesla has its own connector and Tesla runs its own Supercharging Network. Other DCFC locations have units that usually provide two cables to choose from: CHAdeMO is used by Nissan and Mitsubishi and CCS by all other manufacturers. Check the available connectors when you look at the locations with a mapping app.
Finding Public Charging Stations
Most cars have navigation systems that provide charging station information. However, crowdsourced apps typically provide the most up-to-date information. Here are the most commonly used apps:
There are also some tools that help you plan for longer road trips:
How to pay for public charging.
Some public charging stations are free, but an increasing number of station owners do collect fees for charging. This is a good development since it keeps the charging stations available for those who really need to use them. Usually, lower-powered charging stations (Level 2) are more affordable to use and DC Fast Charging stations that provide higher power and faster charging are more expensive to use. This is understandable since DCFC infrastructure is more expensive to install and due to high power levels these station owners need to pay demand charges to the electric utility, so these stations are not cheap to operate either. You can expect to always pay more for electricity at the public charging stations than what it would cost you to charge at home. You can pay with a credit card either by using a card reader at the station or over the phone. If you use public charging stations regularly we would recommend seeing which charging network provider operates the stations that you use. By setting up a prepaid account with them you can get cheaper rates and use the stations with the operator's smartphone app or RFID card. Charging station mapping apps list which network provider operates which station.
How well do different standards support road trips?
There are presently three DCFC connectors used in the U.S.: Tesla, CHAdeMO, and CCS. The Tesla connector is used by Tesla on its own Supercharging network. Non-Tesla CFC units have CHAdeMO and/or CCS connectors. CHAdeMO is used only by Nissan and Mitsubishi so we can expect charging network developers prioritizing CCS in most non-Tesla units. Presently, however, almost all of them still include a CHAdeMO connector too. In this text, we use a C&C abbreviation for CHAdeMO/CCS charging stations.
Tesla started building the Supercharging network in 2012 and in early 2014, the network enabled the first coast-to-coast trips. At the same time, Nissan was funding many CHAdeMO/CCS (C&C) charging stations but most of those installations were going to the major metro areas. This trend of Tesla focusing on the corridor charging network and C&C installations going to metro areas continued for a long time and it has just started to change when Electrify America, EVGo, and utility companies have started to fund more C&C corridor charging locations. This difference can be seen in the Tesla Charging Station and C&C charging station location map comparisons below. The Tesla Supercharging network clearly provides better coverage for longer road trips but there are more C&C stations in urban areas. Tesla charging locations also usually have 6-10 stations at each location whereas most C&C locations used to be equipped with just one station. This, again, is changing with recent installations, but check out the number of stations available on the routes you most commonly drive. The other factor is the DCFC power levels of both the vehicles and the charging stations. Tesla Supercharging network stations provide a minimum of 125kW power and the V3 units provide up to 250kW. Tesla vehicles' max DCFC charging rates are between 120 and 250kW depending on the model. Most of the existing C&C stations are 50kW units and most of the existing C&C capable vehicles can't use higher than a 50kW power level. New EVs with bigger batteries will be able to charge using 100-350kW power levels and this is also reflected in new charging station installations when a bigger portion of C&C stations installed provide 100-350kW max power. Tesla still has an advantage on this front but the gap is closing fast.
When you make decisions on which EV to purchase, DCFC charging speed and the station availability can be one factor, but remember to also consider how high to prioritize it. Some drivers use DCFC stations fairly regularly, some once or twice per month, but a good number of drivers end up using DC fast charging only a couple of times a year, if even that.
Tesla Supercharging locations in the US and Canada
854 locations, 8167 connectors. (02/2020, DOE)
CHAdeMO and CCS Combo locations in the US and Canada
3336 locations, 6644 connectors. (02/2020, DOE)
Many employers are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and one way to do that is to encourage employers to use more sustainable transportations for commuting. Walking, biking, and public transportation are naturally great options, but companies are also looking to provide charging infrastructure to encourage EV adoption among those employees who still choose to use a personal car for commuting. Workplace charging can increase the electric vehicle miles traveled, increase the EV awareness among employees, and even provide crucial charging infrastructure for those employees who, for any reason, haven't been able to install charging at their place of residence. Learn more about the potential approaches and options by visiting www.WorkplaceCharging.com.