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Electric Transportation Frequently Asked Questions
  • What electric vehicles are currently available and what are their characteristics?

    Battery technology is rapidly improving and the number and types of available models continues to proliferate. For a good overview, view A Consumer's Guide to Plug In Electric Vehicles, published by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

    For other information on electric vehicle availability, reviews and much more visit Plug In America or Go Electric Drive.

  • How can I get a quick introduction to electric vehicles and charging?
  • See Electric Vehicles 101.

  • How much can I save on gas by driving electric?
  • Quite a bit, but the exact number depends on a number of things including your driving patterns and habits, the price of gasoline, the fuel efficiency of the alternative vehicle you're comparing it to, whether you commute or not and if you have workplace charging available. As an Avista customer, you will likely pay a residential rate of approximately of $0.09 per kWh to charge your vehicle at home, which should get you about 3.3 miles of driving distance with today's PEVs. So for example, if you drove 1,000 miles at 24 mpg and the cost of gasoline was $3.50/gal, your gasoline fuel expense would be $146. Driving 1,000 miles with a PEV at 3.3 miles/kWh, you would use 303 kWh and at $0.09/kWh, and your electric fuel expense would be about $27. That’s more than an 80 percent savings in fuel costs.

    The University of California at UC Davis has developed an excellent tool to help you explore this in more detail, with car model options to compare against, interactive route maps and workplace charging options.

  • Do I need to install a charger in my home? What do I need to know?

    We advise most new PEV owners to drive their vehicles for a few weeks before installing a charging station in their home, if they are not sure already. This helps to understand actual driving and charging needs based on real experience. Using a 120VAC outlet in the garage and the Level 1 connector that comes with their car, drivers can expect to gain 3 to 5 miles per hour of charging. With a 208/240VAC receptacle and a Level 2 connector, together referred to as an electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) station, 10 to 25 miles per hour of charge is typical, depending on the amperage capacity of the dedicated circuit and the inverter inside your vehicle, which converts the AC to DC electricity and recharges the battery.

    Most drivers of today’s plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), like the Chevy Volt, find that charging from their 120VAC outlet in their garage works fine for them. On the other hand, most owners of all-electrics, also known as battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) like the Nissan LEAF, have larger battery packs and often need 240V charging to get a full recharge overnight.

    If you decide you need a Level 2 EVSE in your home, you’ll need to have a dedicated 208/240VAC circuit available and purchase and install EVSE equipment with a J-1772 connector. PluginAmerica provides a summary of the Level 2 connection equipment available, many of which can be purchased for under $500. Other useful information is provided by Go Electric Drive.

    Consult a qualified electrician to ensure a safe 208/240VAC circuit and Level 2 EVSE installation. Many home owners choose to have their electrician install a standard 208/240VAC receptacle with 40 amp breaker protection, then they purchase and mount a Level 2 EVSE themselves that has a standard 208/240VAC plug and simply plugs in to the receptacle.

    Even if you choose to charge at Level 1, it’s always a good idea to have a qualified electrical contractor inspect your home or business to ensure your panel service and wiring is safe and set up properly to charge your vehicle.

    Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions by dialing (800) 227-9187, or emailing us.

  • Where is public charging available?

    You can find great information about locations and details on public charging stations (EVSE) at Plug Share.

  • What is the difference between Level 1, 2 and 3 charging?

    For a synopsis, see Plug In America.

  • How much more efficient is Level 2 over Level 1 charging?

    Research indicates that Level 2 charging is about 2.3 percent more efficient than Level 1 when more than 2 kWh is used and 12.8 percent more efficient when less than 2 kWh is used.

  • What about workplace charging?

    Workplace charging is very important to PEV adoption, in order to maximize the number of electric miles driven by PEVs. Avista intends to lead by example and has accepted the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge.

    We expect that over time, 80 percent of charging will be done at home, 15 percent at the workplace, and 5 percent at other public locations. This is mainly due to the long times that vehicles are parked at home and at work, allowing for full recharge at Level 1 or 2.

    If you are considering installing workplace charging dedicated for your employees, or a combination of charging for employees as well as the public, there are many things to consider including choosing the best locations, EVSE equipment, and planning for future expansions that maximize benefits while minimizing costs. A combination of Level 1 and Level 2 charging is often a good idea, as well as using cost-saving equipment like dual-head connectors.

    Give us a call at (800) 227-9187, or email us to discuss your needs and questions. You can also visit the California PEV Collaborative website for more information on workplace charging.

  • What about charging at apartments or other multiple-unit dwellings (MUDs)?

    Setting up charging facilities at MUDs usually presents special challenges. However, it can be an attractive amenity that improves the property's image and that tenants greatly appreciate. Give us a call at (800) 227-9187, or email us to discuss your needs and questions. You can also visit the California PEV Collaborative website for more information on charging infrastructure at MUDs.

  • How can electric transportation make a difference in commercial and industrial (C&I) applications?

    Commercial and industrial electric transportation includes the general transport of people and goods. Right now, electric forklifts are one of the most well-established and widely adopted examples of electric transportation in the C&I sectors. Other opportunities to reduce pollution, noise and save fuel costs include truck stop electrification, commercial fleets, transportation refrigeration units, shore power, rail transport, port cargo handling equipment and airport ground support equipment. Let us know if you have any questions about applying electric transportation at your commercial or industrial business.

For any other information or questions about electric transportation, please give us a call at (800) 227-9187 or email us.

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