San Jose Reporter Explores the Reality of Charging Electric Vehicles at Home

by Green Jobs Ready on September 8, 2010

When it comes to the latest generation of electric vehicles (EVs), potential owners should be aware of the logistical, financial and time considerations associated with operating and maintaining these renewable energy cars, says San Jose Mercury News reporter Dana Hull.

In an article published September 5, Hull reveals what would-be buyers should know while reviewing the newest EV models, such as the all-electric Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt from General Motors.

Along with the excitement and anticipation that comes with owning an electric vehicle, shoppers are encouraged to think of their options for charging the car, especially while at home.

Hull describes how most drivers of electric cars will need to install some form of home-based EV charging stations. For many, the garage will be the likely location for such a device. According to Hull, this installation process is “likely to require a permit and signoff from your local building inspector.”

The article also offers a few points for EV buyers to keep in mind to help them select the electric car that best meets needs:

1) Consider what, if any, recommendations auto manufacturers are making for their electric cars.

The Chevy Volt “comes with a 16 kW•h (8.8 kW•h usable) lithium-ion battery pack that can be fully charged by plugging the car into a 120-240VAC residential electrical outlet using the provided SAE J1772-compliant charging cord.” Yet, according to Hull, this three-pronged wall outlet approach to charging can take eight to 14 hours for most EVs.

Nissan’s Leaf comes with a “level 2” 240 volt-system that charges twice as fast as that of the Volt; however, the car will need to be charged with a home charging dock that Hull describes as requiring a “220/240V, 40 amp dedicated circuit connected to a breaker” that needs to “be hard-wired directly to the circuit by a certified electrician.”

2) Confirm the charging rates and system installation requirements from your local utility.

The arrival of at-home charging for electric vehicles is causing more utilities to create guidelines for charging rates and installation systems. California is one of the country’s leading electric vehicle target markets, and a number of its utilities are responding to growing consumer requests for EV-related information.

Hull cites efforts by the utilities Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas and Electric to develop standard EV charging rates and installation policies. SCE customers are encouraged to contact the utility’s new Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness program for information.

For additional information about Dana Hull’s Sept. 5 article in the San Jose Mercury News, please visit:

And to learn more about Southern California Edison’s Plug-In Electric Vehicle Readiness program, please contact:

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