Human beings are creatures of habit, and we become comfortable with what is familiar. Unfortunately, familiar in one case comes in the form of gas guzzling vehicles that we use to get from one place to another even though there are alternatives that don’t require any physical exercise. While biking and walking are always healthy alternatives, people want convenience, speed, safety, comfort, style, and efficiency. Electric cars finally fit the bill, and they are now as flashy and sporty as they are economical and efficient.
The current state of emissions
The Clean Air Act of 1970 recognized the need for change. New motor vehicles were regulated to limit carbon emissions, but emissions continued to grow. Fast forward to 2016, and 1.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide were emitted by “transportation.” With new predictions of significant global change by the end of this century, carbon emissions are a heightened concern. Gas-powered vehicles create a large part of those emissions.
Electric vehicles (EV) have been growing in popularity especially in lieu of climate change, and it is predicted that 90% of all cars in the U.S. will be electric by the year 2040. Americans have been somewhat reluctant to go all-in on electric vehicles. They have a reputation of being slow, unsafe, and inconvenient.
Today, nothing could be further from the truth, and electric cars are performing as well as gas-powered vehicles in safety tests. They are also sporty, and if you check out Tesla’s newest models, you’ll see that they are fast.
So, what is left? Convenience! We are used to the inconvenience of gas stations, and it is a very foreign concept to remove that aspect from day-to-day life. It seems too easy to plug in your car before you go to bed and wake up with a charge. It seems a bit scary to find charge points on long trips instead of gas station.
It is now more convenient than ever to plug in your vehicle. There are multiple options. While it is true that in 2011 there were only approximately 3,400 public charge points, by 2017 that number had grown to nearly 50,000. And let’s not forget, most EVs can be plugged in to any standard wall outlet.
How to charge your EV
There are multiple ways to charge your EV, and each method provides added versatility and convenience.
Most EVs come with an extension cord that can be plugged in to a regular 120-volt wall outlet. The standard outlet will require overnight charging. On average, it will take about 10 hours to get a charge this way.
If you want to speed up that process, go with a 240-volt outlet. This is the same type of outlet that your stove and dryer plug in to. A bigger outlet creates a quicker charge that varies based on the vehicle.
Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE)
The Electric Vehicle Service Equipment is an additional piece of equipment housed between your vehicle and the power source. It increases safety for both the user and the vehicle. They typically cost less than $1,000 and ensure that your vehicle gets the optimum charge. Complex versions come with Wi-Fi capability, but many people prefer the reliability of simpler versions that don’t shut off when Wi-Fi is interrupted.
Charging point – the new gas station
You may not have noticed your local charging point(s), but if you aren’t in a very rural area, you probably have one. Plugshare is a national resource for finding charging points across the nation. Many charging points are free, but some are pay-as-you-go or have monthly subscriptions available.
You may need an electrician
Charging your vehicle at home is the primary concern when owning an EV. If it isn’t convenient, the vehicle will be a monstrous inconvenience. Many homeowners install them in the garage, but you should consider any location where you primarily park. You may need an electrician for a number of reasons:
Ideally, you will have an independent circuit dedicated to your charging outlet. If you are getting 30-amp service (which gives approx. 30 miles of travel per hour of charge), you will want a circuit that is rated for at least 40 amps. An electrician will ensure that you have what you need to prevent overloading your breaker.
While a 120-volt outlet will do, if you are establishing one area for charging, install a 240-volt outlet. As this outlet should be wired to a new circuit, and electrician should be the person to do the job.
Installing a new plug and circuit means you are really going for the convenience factor when it comes to EV charging. Most charging cables are only about 15 to 25 feet, so an electrician can extend your options with conduit. This will allow for charging anywhere in a garage and potentially outdoors.
Electric cars are the future…today!
There will be a rapid transition in the next twenty years to electric vehicles, and with the technology available today, there is no reason not to make the change.