If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle, one of your biggest concerns will be how to charge the vehicle regularly and reliably. Knowing how long your charge will last is important; many newer electric vehicles have sophisticated visual options to let you know how many miles you have left on a charge based on your speed and other consumption factors, such as running the air conditioning.
However, it does not do you any good to know how much electricity you are using if you do not have a way to replenish it.
For this reason, it is important to have a charging station available on a regular basis, and home charging stations fit this bill well. You can charge your car at night, while you sleep, and it will be ready to go in the morning.
However, many people are afraid to change to electric vehicles because they fear the charging station will be too expensive. Here are the facts about what it costs to buy, install, and operate a typical home charging station.
There are cars that operate when plugged into a normal 120-volt home outlet. However, these cars typically take many hours to charge; some could take most of a 24-hour period, meaning that you would not be able to drive the car every other day while it charges. Most people would rather spend a bit more for a home charger in order to gain quicker charging capability and more frequent use of their vehicle.
While a 120-volt charger only gives five miles of range per hour of charging, a 240-volt charger gives at least 10 and sometimes as much as 25 miles of range per hour of charging. However, a 240-volt charger may require an electricity upgrade, especially in older homes.
240-volt charging stations need at least a 30 to 40 amp circuit; older homes may support only 15 to 20 amps. If you choose to install a home charger, it is wise to consider the cost of having your electric wiring upgraded as part of the cost. An average of this cost is around $600, although you may be able to negotiate with an electrician for a lower price, or you may find your area has a higher average.
You should choose an SAE J1772 charger, the current standard for the industry. You can find chargers for between $2,500 and $3,000, excluding installation. Installation costs are often around the cost of the charger, but you may be able to bring this cost down if your supplier also does installations and will work out a buy/install package for you.
Otherwise, you should plan on paying around $5,000 to $6,000 for the charger, installation job, and modifications to your electrical wiring.
This may seem like a large investment. However, if you are currently driving 40 miles per day or 200 miles per week, you are probably spending around $30 per week in gasoline. If you drove the same miles in an electric car, you would only pay for the electricity needed to charge your car.
Estimates vary depending on kilowatt-hour rate in your area, but even given a rather high estimate of $1.50 per 40-mile trip, you will still save around $22.50 per week in fuel costs. This means you save at least $1,000 per year, so it should only take you five years to pay for the investment in your charger. After that, you are basically using the charger for free, but still gaining the benefits of cheaper fuel.