Charging at home is the easiest, most convenient way to charge up your electric vehicle (EV). There are two levels of charging that are commonly used in homes. The level of charging you use will depend on the type of EV you drive, and the distance you travel. For someone with a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) that can also run on gasoline and drives only about 10 miles each day, Level 1 charging may be sufficient. For someone who drives a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and commutes 70 miles each day, they may prefer Level 2 charging. Consult your vehicle guidelines to determine the best solution for you.
Level 1 Charging
This is a normal wall outlet with a ground fault circuit interrupter, usually 15 or 20 amps at 120 volts. Your EV has a specialized plug on it and will come with a charge cord that mates the plug with your standard wall outlet. Using Level 1 charging, a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) will typically gain about 3 or 4 miles of driving range for each hour of charging.
Level 2 Charging
This is a specialized charger designed for higher power than Level 1, up to 80 amps fed with a 240 volt circuit. Using Level 2 charging, a BEV can gain 30 miles or more of driving range for each hour of charging, depending on the model of BEV and charging power. This requires a specific electric vehicle charger that is permanently wired into your home and contains a number of safety features.
Depending on where you live, public charging stations may be available. In April 2010, Avista installed three such stations at various locations in Spokane. As more and more consumers choose electric vehicle transportation, you can expect to see more of these stations. Nationally, large retailers are beginning to install them in their parking lots as a way to provide service to their customers.
What do I do next?
If you have more questions Avista can help. Just e-mail us at ElectricVehicles@avistacorp.com. For more information on how to install a charger in your home, consult your local electrical contractor.