Electric vehicles are here to stay. Especially with the announcement of the 35,000$ version of the Tesla Model 3, the US is beginning to erode its dependency on fossil fuels.
1. No one likes range anxiety, but it’s avoidable.
You’re driving home from the office, daydreaming about the production meeting at work or weekend plans or what you’re going to eat for dinner. Then, panic: you look at the dashboard and see you’re low on fuel. You might not have enough to make it home.
This feeling precedes the invention of the electric vehicle. Though for owners of gas-fueled automobiles, they can usually depend on a gas station being relatively close. But for EVs, it’s not as simple.
First, there are 7x more gas stations in the US than electric ones (that number will grow as EVs are adopted at mass scale). Though the problem reaches beyond access to stations, as there are many variables that go into energy consumption. For example, if the battery is especially hot or cold, it will extract energy with less efficiency. Each EV has its own interface that makes educated guesses about the driver’s energy situation. Air conditioning, heated seats, and acceleration all will drain energy in variable ways, leaving drivers guessing at how much time they have left.
As EV technology advances, drivers will get better insight and more accurate gauges from car manufacturers. But, range anxiety will be a real concern for time to come—it’s cited as one of the principal barriers to consumers purchasing electric.
But range anxiety can be worked around.
It’s about how you charge.
2. Charge the way you want to live—Levels 1–3.
Most electric cars come with a level 1 (L1) charger that plugs into your wall socket. L1 offers 120 volts, which is the most common outlet in North America. Using the same outlet to power an iPhone as your automobile isn’t the most efficient strategy—12 hours of L1 charging gives a Tesla Model 3 an approximate range of 48 miles. For new buyers, this may seem like enough.
And if your sole purpose for owning an EV is to decrease your footprint and ease commuter guilt, then L1 charging may suffice. But for those who want to depend on their EV like a traditional car—taking it out on weekends or for longer trips—then L2 is the best option.
Even owners who’ve planned to use their EVs for only commuting have upgraded to L2 home charging. Many EV owners find it challenging to return to a life of gas-fueled automobiles—the quiet elegance of the motor, the power of the engine, the expense of gas.
Plus, life is unpredictable. If your friend spontaneously invites you out for a concert an hour away or you have to run a last second errand on the way home from the office, dependence on L1 charging will interfere with your plans and cause range anxiety.
L3 charging (also known as DC fast charging, or for Tesla owners, Supercharging) uses 480 volts and can typically provide an 80% charge in 30 minutes. There is no industry standard for these stations and not every vehicle can take them. At many L3 stations in the San Francisco Bay Area drivers are waiting in long lines due to high demand and a low supply. L3 charging can also be hard on the vehicle, so users should educate themselves on their specific model’s needs before using.
3. What does L2 offer? And how do you get it?
You’ve likely seen a level 2 outlet behind your washer and dryer or with appliances like your stove or hot water heater. This larger plug pumps EVs with over 220 volts, charging the newest Tesla with 37 miles each hour.
This not only means that you’ll be able to drive a lot farther but also charge quicker—if you forgot to plug-in overnight the impact won’t be nearly as dire with L2 capabilities. Plus, it’s less likely that your car will always be hovering near empty since L2 charging can fully charge a Model 3 overnight, while it would take 3 days to do the same with an L1 charger!
So why doesn’t everyone opt for L2 charging at home?
Historically there have been a few barriers to entry. Configuring your breaker to produce 220 volts is a technical job that requires the expertise of an electrician. If not done correctly, you could cause structural damage to your home. Because of this potential danger, local buildings usually require permits—but for home renters this isn’t even a possibility.
After the installation of a L2 system at home, you could have to tear up your house and pay around $1,500 for a panel upgrade. Plus if you move, you can’t take the system with you.
With these factors considered, there is no standard in place for cheap, fast, and easy home charging.
NeoCharge is working to change that. Our mission is to make it easier for people to own electric vehicles and eliminate barriers to national adoption.
Click here to learn how you can get fast, affordable, and easy-to-install charging at home without needing a permit, modifications, or help from an electrician.