110-Volt EV Charging: It Makes More Sense Than You Think

By · August 26, 2011

Ford C-Max Energi

The Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid will charge overnight from just 110-volt house current. (Ford photo)

The most common scenario for electric cars is this: You buy the car, and then shell out another $2,000 for a garage-based 240-volt charger that, most likely, will come with some neat smart grid features allowing you to check charging status on your cellphone.

A lot of it will go down that way, but Dave Zehala, executive vice president of the Plug Smart energy services and technology start-up that grew out of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State, is making a bet that plug-in hybrids will catch on big, and they don’t necessarily need 240-volt charging—with smaller battery packs, 110-volt house current (known as Level I) will do.

Rob Peterson of General Motors told me that 80 percent of Chevy Volt charging will probably be through an eight-hour 110 connection. For battery EVs, it’s a bad proposition because it will simply take too long—14 to 20 hours, too long for an overnight charge.

Plug Smart makes the chipset for the General Electric WattStation that allows it to communicate with PCs and smart phones. But Zehala says the company is also planning a smart 110 charger with that same connectivity that could be sold at Home Depot or Lowe’s for $300 or $400. It might take 10 hours to fill up a Volt or Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid, but you can use your computer to dial in a late-night charging session—just as you can with that $2,000 240-volt unit.

“You’ll go down to Home Depot and there will be a version of our smart socket,” Zehala said. “All you have to do is plug it into a socket, and then hang it on the wall. You’ll be able to meter the load, accept all the pricing protocols, talk to smart meters and your telephone.” According to Zehala, GM is interested in a private-label version of the 110 cable.

I think Zehala is on to something. We’re probably under-estimating the potential of 110-volt EV charging, particularly for plug-in hybrids. The category is rather under-served right now, but it’s about to get crowded. Approximately 3,200 Chevrolet Volts have been sold, and the Fisker Karma has reached its first customers (or maybe just Leonardo DiCaprio). Fisker says that by November production will have reached 300 per week (by which time it will have fulfilled its 3,000 pre-orders).

Still to come are the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and the Ford C-Max Energi, both in 2012. Chinese automaker BYD wants to sell a plug-in hybrid in the U.S., and many others are in the planning stages.

Sales of plug-in hybrids could eclipse those of battery-only cars because a) they cost less; b) they have five times the range. If that happens, then 110-volt charging will take off, too, with greatly simplified installation. You won’t need an electrician for a device that just plugs into the wall. But if people find 110 to be just too slow, then all bets are off.

Plug Smart also has another piece of software called Zephyr whose purpose is to store charging data on the cloud. That way, you can charge your car at your friend’s house, and you will get the bill instead of him. “The telecom people figured out how to do this a long time ago,” Zehala told me. “You can roam through someone else’s service area, and the bill still comes to you.” This process needs to be seamless for EV charging, too, and it’s on the way there.


· n8 (not verified) · 2 years ago

I would never buy a 240 volt plug, it would be silly spending $2,000.00 on it when you probably don't spend that on gas in a year. You figure even if it takes 10 hours to fully charge the car most people sleep 7-8 hours get up and shower and get ready for their day so that takes roughly another hour so now you have been charging for 9 hours, well if you are home approx 1 hour before you go to bed to unwind, eat;etc there are your 10 hours of charging. Now if the 240 volt was given to me through a grant, that might be a different story, I would probably get it and use it a little more often but for the majority of the time 110 will work just fine.

· Tom K (not verified) · 2 years ago

I drive my LEAF beyond "my garage range" and charge up all over town (work, etc.). I can't imagine charging at 120v. 240v is slow enough. Bring on the quick chargers....

· · 2 years ago

Jim, I think you are right. The public does not like things that are complicated to use or setup. Most people have their cars in the garage for 10 hours or more, and that's plenty of time to charge a plug-in hybrid. For those days it wasn't, then the gas engine would just kick in automatically. Drivers wouldn't even have to think about it. Also let's say the car had to be outside for some reason, they could just run a heavy duty extension cord. Simple.

Pure EV drivers on the other hand will opt for Level II.

· Brian (not verified) · 2 years ago

"Sales of plug-in hybrids could eclipse those of battery-only cars because a) they cost less;"
I'm a little confused by this statement. Currently on the market is the battery-only Leaf (~$25k) and the plug-in hybrid Volt (~$33k).

As far as the topic of 110V charging, I did the calculations long ago and realized that a 110V charge for a Leaf would work just fine for me. Sure, I rarely have the car plugged in for 20 hours straight, but it only takes that long if the battery is charged to full from dead. Most week days I would use much less than 50% of the battery, and have 10 hours to charge at home, possibly another 8 at work. My only concern is weekends, but I don't have to sustain that rate for more than two days. If the battery is dead sunday night, I will have enough to commute on monday, and the battery will be full by tuesday or wednesday. I would argue that 110V charging is even underrated for battery-only EVs. We just don't know it yet because most people don't have them in their garages, and aren't honest enough about their driving habits and actual needs (as opposed to perceived needs)

· Tom K (not verified) · 2 years ago

Most homes in this country already have 240v at the panel. Running a dedicated line to the average garage is "chump change" in the scheme of things... After all, aren't we all making mortgage payments and buying electric cars that cost $$,$$$? 240v makes charging logistics easier at home....

· Brian (not verified) · 2 years ago

@Tom K: You seem to be missing the point. The article doesn't say that 220V charging does not have its place. It will be very valuable for many customers. The article states that 110V charging is underrated. There are several 220V chargers on the market and on the way. There is an opening in the market for 110V chargers that still offer the control options of their bigger brothers. I am thrilled at the idea of having smart-phone access without having to buy a $2000 charger to do so. If $2k is really chump change, would you mind paying for mine? I certainly know of many other uses for $2k...

· Mike I (not verified) · 2 years ago

The decision about Level 1 vs. Level 2 is pretty simple from my perspective. Time of Use Metering will gate my decision. Until recently, PG&E forced plug-in vehicle owners onto the E-9 rate schedule. Now, you can choose the E-6 TOU rate plan if you want. On E-9, the cheapest Off-Peak electric rate of 5.3c-20c/kWh is only available between midnight and 7am M-F during the summer. Partial peak is 1.5x-2x more expensive depending on your total monthly usage. For me, that creates a hard window for when I want my EV/PHEV charging to happen. So, if I can't charge the vehicle's capacity in 7 hours, I will want a faster charger. However, now that I think about it, E-6 may be worthwhile because the Off-Peak times are 9pm-10am M-F but the lowest off-peak rate is 9.3c/kWh.
$2k is ridiculous for an EVSE unless it includes a significant amount of building wiring. I'm basically pre-wiring for EVSE in my new house, so I will most likely have to arrange my own installation to avoid the overpriced installation schemes arranged by automakers.

· rich (not verified) · 2 years ago

I have driven a Tesla Roadster for 1.5 years and have charged it at 120 VAC, 15 amps, 98% of the time. It is my understanding that 70% of Tesla owners charge at 120 VAC as well. Expensive 240 chargers are necessary in only minority of daily driving situations where an extraordinarily long compute is the norm.

I have a simple NEMA 14-50 Plug and socket for the unusual time when I need a fast charge.

· rich (not verified) · 2 years ago


Commute, not "compute"

· · 2 years ago

While I agree that 120V charging will be sufficient for many EV users, especially those with small battery PHEVs, 240V charging doesn't have to cost $2K. For Leaf owners, the supplied 120V EVSE can be upgraded to 16A 240V for around $300 by a a guy in California:

That's fast enough to charge a Leaf from empty in seven hours or less. If one's garage doesn't have a 240V outlet, having an electrician install a 20A L6-20 outlet shouldn't cost all that much for most houses.

There are other not-very-expensive 240V EVSE options available and I would expect even more in the near future as the market develops.

· · 2 years ago

There certainly is a place for 110 volt charging but, since you only get about 3 to 4 miles per hour of charging, it is definitely for the light duty user who only drives less than around 35 miles per day.
The most useful place I see for it is in airport long-term parking where one generally spends several at least a day anyway.
The problem with 110 volt charging is that it pretty much precludes the use of your car as a general run-around vehicle and forces you to plan carefully to be sure you have enough time to charge before going places.
$2000 seems like a lot of money to pay. I highly recommend that you look around for cheaper options. A 240 volt outlet should only cost you $200 or $300 if done by any electrician. From there, you could install a plug-in EVSE or use the evseupgrade option mentioned by dgpcolorado. I believe that AeroVironment will install an EVSE for Nissan owners for only $1200 and then you can take a tax deduction so you're only down $600. You can buy the EVSE for around $850 and get your own electrician to install it for probably around $1050 and still get the tax break.
Don't just give up. EVSEs aren't that expensive, they're getting cheaper, and remember they will last a lot longer than the car.
Of course, if you find 110 volts works - fine. Just don't complain that your EV takes too long to charge.

· Tom K (not verified) · 2 years ago

+1 for dgpcolorado & ex-EV1 driver

· · 2 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver, Is that AeroVironment EVSE "tax deduction" really a deduction (Schedule A) or is it some sort of tax credit? Hard to see how one can get those numbers with a deduction. If a credit, is it refundable? Just curious.

· · 2 years ago

It looks like it expired last year :-(
Here's a link with more info: http://action.pluginamerica.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5322. It applied to any alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure investment.

· Norbert (not verified) · 2 years ago

> "Sales of plug-in hybrids could eclipse those of battery-only cars because a) they cost less; b) they have five times the range. If that happens, then " ...

As Brian pointed out, they currently do not cost less, and if it were the case, at some point in the future, then I think the incentives for plug-in hybrids should be reduced, or those for pure EVs increased, or both of those.

After all, the purpose of the incentives is not to give cars a lower price, if they achieve that lower price by having an ICE instead of batteries. That would be gaming the system, as I would understand it. If they were to achieve a lower price even without incentives, and it wasn't practical to increase the incentives for pure EVs, then fine, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

· Max Reid (not verified) · 2 years ago

We should use the combination of Level 1, 2 & 3 chargers. Typical person comes home @ 6.00 pm and from that time to 8.00 am next day, we have 14 hours and surely a L1 charger can charge the car fully. Sometimes if we need it to be charged in 6-8 hours, then we can use the L2 charger from either home or nearby charging facility. Only in a long trip, if we want it charged in 30 minutes we should go for L3.

Slower the charging, lesser strain on the grid.

If the competition between EV and Plugin accelerates and the prices drop down, this could also push the cost of Hybrids down and send regular gas cars out of market. This is something like the competition between LCD, Plasma & LED TVs that finally pushed the Box CRT TVs out of market.

· James (not verified) · 2 years ago

We are staying in a condo until our house closes, and we are throwing the 110 charging cable over the balcony and down to the car. I'm pleasantly surprised that if my wife only drives it back and forth to work, plus a small side-trip, we can easily charge the Leaf overnight. Today we nearly drained the battery, so we won't be driving much tomorrow, but it's good to know we can use the 110 as a backup. That said, we will definitely be installing a level 2 charger at the new house.

· · 2 years ago

120V, I assume. 110V seems so "end of the line." More is better. Let's stick with 120V.

· Brian (not verified) · 2 years ago

@darelldd: It was my understanding that 110V and 120V were the same thing...

· · 2 years ago

@Brian: Yes, they do refer to the same thing. The American standard for residential is 240V that is broken into two 120V legs. Tolerance is +/-5%. And Voltage sags can bring it down to 110V at various outlets in the house. I've never been clear on why it is called so many different things - and it really doesn't matter. We ARE all talking about the same thing. But the goal in America is 120V residential. The lowest acceptable limit is about 110.

· roh vemula (not verified) · 2 years ago

Just for information. I own Chevy Volt which I took delivery on May 19th. In one word it is a great car with many techincal advancement in many fields.

My car productions number is 3337.

As of now I put 3250 miles on it. out it 74% is electric , the balance is of GAS.

The fully depteleted battery takes about 8 to 9 hours to charge with 110 volts charges. 4.5 hours to charge it 220 volts charger.

It takes about 12 to 13 KW to charges full. Each Charge give about 38 to 41 miles.
The following needs to be improved.

1) Instead of four passengers, it should be for FIVE passengers.

2) Electric range should improve to atleast 100 miles.

3) As everyone mentioned about this car, the car is pricey, not affordable to all. The price should come down to 20,000 after all incentives if any to make this car or this type of cars more affordable and replace OR compete IC CARS.


· Ben (not verified) · 2 years ago

Nissan brought forward the argument of the "missing charging infrastructure" to justify them not selling the Leaf in Manitoba as of yet.
True, there are no designated 240V EV charging stations here, but most parkades & even open surface lots at stores & restaurants have 110V block heater plugins.
My girlfriend doesn't care much for all that funny technology but she's often running the tank on yellow, being too lazy to fuel on the way home after work & too much in a hurry heading out in the morning, most of her day's driving is less than a Chevy Volt battery range, so our 110V block heater outlet on the parking pad is gona do just fine & she loves the idea of plugging in the car 12 months of the year instead of only 5 but only fuelling once or twice a year, so as sales start here in spring 2012 her Mazda will be succeeded by a Volt.
Stop scaring potential customers for plug-in-cars with 240V infrastructure & it's cost, at this point for a great majority 110V is just fine & as technology advances we'll all see what happens in the next steps.

· · 2 years ago

re. "missing charging infrastructure" - I like to bring up the fact that there were no gas stations when gas cars started rolling out.

120V is going to work for a large part of the driving population. Those who drive lots of miles don't understand it right away... but we've already proven that it is very popular for those with a modest commute... and modest budget.

· BEVANS702 (not verified) · 2 years ago

Just wondering why would one need to purchase a power converter when the incoming power is 240VAC which means all you really need do is contact your local electric contractor or company have them wire in a 220 circuit with a pigtail that will accommodate the vehicle

· · 2 years ago

>> Just wondering why would one need to purchase a power converter when the incoming power is 240VAC

Is somebody suggesting a "power converter?"

The question is do you use "free" 120V charging (the cars are coming with 120V chargers and all homes have 120V outlets - though you are instructed to use a dedicated circuit. Or do you spend lots of money for a 240V charger, and possibly more money for a 240V circuit. Nobody is converting anything.

· · 2 years ago

@darelldd, I guess it depends on your definition of "lots of money". Is $300 lots of money? $500? I suppose that compared to free 120V 15A outlets that most houses have, it is.

But I will point out once again that if one wants to pre-heat or pre-cool an EV, such as a Leaf, a 120V 15A circuit isn't likely to suffice.

· · 2 years ago

Let's go with this: It is cheaper to set up for 120V charging than it is for 240V charging. I think we can all agree on that. For some folks, it is all about the money... and that means 120V charging is king.

· miimura (not verified) · 2 years ago

@BEVANS702, the "pigtail that will accommodate the vehicle" is an EVSE. EVSE stands for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. You are right, you just have to have an electrical contractor install one for you. The problem early on for some Leaf customers was that the EVSE itself cost $700 and the installation had a minimum charge of $1,200. That was clearly ridiculous for a customer who happened to have prepared his home for this eventuality by pre-wiring a dedicated 240V 50A circuit in his garage. Anyway, there are many more EVSE options available now or coming soon. Any licensed electrician with some common sense can install an EVSE, it's not rocket science. The high initial EVSE prices and mandatory automaker-arranged installations are just the price early adopters had to pay.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Why not a $200 240v charger? My electrician can install a new 240v plug for around that much. Many people may already have a dryer line in the garage. What is causing the 240v units to be so expensive?

· · 2 years ago

@Anonymous, That's a good question. The answer is that there is a lot more to an EVSE than a 240V power outlet. A good device has safety features that monitor charging and prevent faults by shutting down when disconnected. It also requires a dedicated 240V circuit (as does 120V charging, by the way).

But should such a device cost $1000 (or more)? Certainly not and there are less expensive ones available, with more to come soon. Ideally, if one puts in a good EVSE, it should last for many years and several EVs. When thinking of the cost, one should consider that it will be "amortized" over many years. However, waiting for cheaper alternatives to appear on the market is a valid strategy.

In my case I will go with the "EVSEupgrade" of the Leaf cord because the guy doing the upgrades reports that the Panasonic-built device is very well constructed. The "downside" is that it is limited to 240V 16 Amps, so it won't support 6.6 kW (or higher) charging. But it is plenty for my needs. YMMV.

· · 2 years ago

"Why not a $200 240v charger?",
The price will likely drop once the sales volume increases. Today, however, if GM and Nissan combined make 20,000 cars over the next 2 years and, suppose it costs $180 to make a $200 charger, that's only $20 of profit. At $20 extra, with 100% market share (remember there are at least a half dozen players in the market) they will only make $400,000 over the next 2 years. Hardly enough to set up a manufacturing facility.
Once the sales volumes increase, the price can drop but initially, it will be expensive.

· · 2 years ago

One problem is the cost of the proprietary connector.

· · 2 years ago

I don't see how proprietary or open-standard makes any difference given the initial low sales volume issue. In fact, being proprietary is generally best early on since it slightly reduces the number of participants who might dilute the early market.

· · 2 years ago

My only point is that the cost of the connector is currently higher than most people would like to see the entire EVSE priced.

· · 2 years ago

My point is that I don't see any way the prices are going to drop until the car sales increase.
Blaming it on something trivial such as "proprietary" isn't really going to help anything.
Those who really care are going to have to expect to pay a little initially or nothing is going to happen.
Those who aren't willing to contribute (pay), shouldn't complain that there is nothing available. They will just have to sit by the sidelines (while charging at 110 volts) and wait for movers and shakers to lead the way.
Freedom (from oil) isn't Free as many of us veterans realize.

· · 2 years ago

I'm apparently still not being clear. Could we go back and strike the word "proprietary" from my comment? That word was merely a descriptor, not the main protagonist. Here's what I should have written:

One problem is the cost of the connector.

In this instance, I'm not making ANY claims about right and wrong. I'm not blaming the cost of EVSE's on the fact that the connector is proprietary. I'm not claiming to know what is best for the future. Or how many EVs should be sold. Or how fast charging should be. I'm ONLY saying that EVSEs have a cost associated with them now that is at least somewhat dependent on the price of the J1772 connector. That connector costs more than some folks wish to pay for the whole EVSE. That's it. End of point.

All I was doing was stating the obvious... and as usual, I would have been better off sitting on my hands.

· Dave K. (not verified) · 2 years ago

Let's talk about the real world, yes, he is correct, 120V charging works just fine for a PHEV. I have been charging my Prius PHEV conversion @ 120V 800W for about a year, I use about 200kwhr and about 7 gallons of gas/month. But I have installed an EVSE for my Leaf (delivery expected in Nov.) only because on days when I drive 50+ miles it would not refill overnight. As some pointed out my utility offers a super low TOU rate (about 1/2 price) between 11pm and 7am, if I decide to go on that I will need 240V to stay fully within the time slot. But I know a guy with a Leaf that is sticking with 120V, his driving pattern allows that (he is retired). 120V works better than many people think, if you really think about it your car is parked most of the time, but to make people feel secure a faster charge is better.

· Tom Lee (not verified) · 2 years ago

I've had a Leaf for about 2 months now. I was originally told by an Eco-tality approved installer that they would install a 240 charger for about $600 out-of-pocket for me (Eco-tality would pick up $1200). But then they reneged beause my Leaf didn't have have the fast charging port -- even though the charger they were going to install wouldn't have used the fast charging port. So now I'm just using the 120v charger that came with the car and so far it's worked out fine. Even when the battery is drained, I'm able to get to work and back the next day with an overnight charge.

Only about twice would a 240v charger have made the difference between forsaking the Leaf for one of our ICE verhicles. I've already got 240 in the garage and am simply waiting until the cost of a charger itself comes down in the $500 range.

As far as the guy in California that makes a charger upgrade, the Leaf salesman told me be doing it, the warranty would be voided.

· · 2 years ago

> As far as the guy in California that makes a charger upgrade, the Leaf salesman told me be doing it, the warranty would be voided.

The only warranty that would be voided would be on the "charger" itself. While I have a 240V AeroVironment charging dock at home, I also had the EVSE that came with the car upgraded. I have used it a number of times while away from home. Many LEAF owners use this as their only EVSE.

I also have a "Quick 220" unit (about $200 retail) that allows me to derive 240V from two 120V circuits. I have used this to plug in at residences where there are no usable 240V outlets. The nice thing about this Quick 220 unit is that it is engineered to be safe to use.

· · 2 years ago

> As far as the guy in California that makes a charger upgrade, the Leaf salesman told me be doing it, the warranty would be voided.

Here's a shocker for you... car salesmen don't know everything. See? Shocking, right? There is no such thing as "voiding the warranty." There is no one single warranty that goes away if you modify something.

Here, for your enjoyment, is what I have included on my modification pages on EVnut.com:

Mini FAQ: Are you nuts? Doesn't modifying your expensive, irreplaceable vehicle void your warranty?
A: No fair, that's two questions. Modifying any vehicle does NOT automatically void your warranty, though I hear this all the time. Check the Federal Trade Commission website. the Magnuson-Moss Act is what answers this question. A car maker can refuse to repair under warranty any item found to have been damaged by "aftermarket" products or repairs, but they cannot void the warranty just because you had work done by "non-Toyota" people or have aftermarket products installed. If they cannot prove that an item or repair caused the damage, they remain obligated to their warranty. An example: I add a Manzanita conductive charger, and the next week my steering pump fails. That steering pump is still covered, though I've quite obviously modified the vehicle in important ways.

· Jim McL (not verified) · 2 years ago

The J1772 standard (non-proprietary) connector is rated for about 10,000 insert and remove cycles in harsh conditions. It is also very safe and very easy to use. That is why it is expensive. It will come down a little in volume, not as much as the EVSEs.

The 120 volt EVSE that comes with the Leaf does not comply with all o the J1772 safety recommendations. I would not use it at 120 V or 240 V. The little kids that might be around are too valuable to cut corners like that.

I don't know any jurisdiction where the requirements are + or - 5% on 120 V, +5% - 10% is pretty common. AC Propulsion allows for + or - 10%. I have seen 108 V in the summer under load quite often.

The original standard was more like 100 volts, back when light bulbs had carbon filaments. Europe moved to 230 volts when the Hungarians figured out tungsten filaments, but Edison kept 110 in the US for quite a while. In any case it is a nominal rating. I used to have 125 volts up north all the time when there was no load.

And I charge my BEV at 120 V most of the time. My commute is only 20 miles. But on the weekends, give me 240! Heck I have been known to bump it up to 255 V with a variac. Vroom vroom.

· · 2 years ago

@Jim McL, >The 120 volt EVSE that comes with the Leaf does not comply with all o the J1772 safety recommendations. I would not use it at 120 V or 240 V. The little kids that might be around are too valuable to cut corners like that.<

Huh? It's not hardwired to the wall because it is portable, if that's what you mean. Like an electric dryer, toaster, TV and so forth. At least EVSE upgrade is designed to work with a L6-20 locking plug so it can't be pulled from the wall, not that a kid couldn't figure out how to unlock it. If you are concerned about kids unplugging things you could put the outlet up high, out of reach, or install a locking cover.

· · 2 years ago

> I would not use it at 120 V or 240 V. The little kids that might be around are too valuable to cut corners like that.

Yet we visit the gas station with kids in the car. We DRIVE with kids in the car. We park the car with 10 or 20 gallons of gasoline in our attached garage... sharing space with our water heaters. It amazes me sometimes to hear what we're afraid of and compare it to what we're comfortable with. Best way to make the kids safe? Keep them out of the car. Any car.

· Norbert (not verified) · 2 years ago

You'll need to charge exactly as much as you drive electrically, one way or the other. The more important thing seems to be that you are able charge enough, so you don't need to use gas in addition to electricity.

Most utilities prefer off-peak charging, which in the case of PG&E is 7 hours. And I think they prefer that, even if it requires a higher charging speed.

· miimura (not verified) · 2 years ago

> Most utilities prefer off-peak charging, which in the case of PG&E is 7 hours. And I think they prefer that, even if it requires a higher charging speed. <

I'm in the process of building a house and discussed the future EVSE with the PG&E engineer. I am opting for a 400amp panel and PG&E will size the cable from the pole to my meter according to that. However, he said that they will decide how to service my house (shared transformer or dedicated, etc.) based on my initial loads and they will re-visit that based on any future loads like an EVSE. The interesting part is that they're only charging me for the initial engineering fee and for the cable down the pole to the meter. Adding more load in the future does not incur any additional engineering fees or charges for increasing the transformer capacity, should that be necessary.

So yes, I also find it interesting that the main consideration is the 7 hours of summer Off-peak in the E9 rate schedule, not the high off-peak load that one may incur with a high current EVSE for an EV like a Tesla.

· James (not verified) · 2 years ago

So I posted earlier that we would definitely be getting a fast charger, but I've decided that we simply don't need it at all. My wife's commute leaves her with about 70% of a charge when she gets home and on the weekends we drive it exclusively, but we are able to charge it to full with no problem. If we drove to one or two bars every day, then it might be different, but we might have chosen a different car and house, too. Rock on trickle charge.

· · 2 years ago

> So I posted earlier that we would definitely be getting a fast charger, but I've decided that we simply don't need it at all.

Isn't if fascinating to find that what we think we need when we have no experience is often quite different from what we really DO need?

· Eric G (not verified) · 2 years ago

The $2000 amount for a charger is thrown around all the time but that is only for simple installs. The amount of work needed to install it in my garage was going to cost about $5000 since the existing 240v in my garage only had adequate amperage for the A/C, water heater, and dryer. They were going to have to run additional 240 cable from the opposite side of the house and upgrade components to meet new codes. I know my situation isn't that uncommon so for many people including myself, 110v charging is the only thing I would consider due to prohibitive costs. Bring on the plug in hybrids!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

all you are doing is exchanging the price of gas , for the price of electricity, can't wait for your massive power outage... good luck getting to where u need to go

· · 2 years ago

"all you are doing is exchanging the price of gas , for the price of electricity, can't wait for your massive power outage"

Even if that is "all you are doing" you would be spending about $4.00 to go 100 miles while the average car in the US needs four gallons to do that, what will that cost you? Even if you had the most fuel efficient gas car available, the Prius, you would still need at least two gallons to drive 100 miles. However that's not "all you are doing". You are also removing all the expensive "routine" maintenance necessary for an ICE. This adds up to thousands of dollars during the cars lifetime.

The price of electricity is regulated and mostly stable. Plus you CAN make the stuff yourself if you choose to, you can't make your own gasoline. Gas prices will continue to soar in electricity will be an even better deal in comparison. Oh, and about your massive power outage scenario, how do you propose we pump the gas into your precious oil burner without the electricity to power the pumps? Keep your mind closed my friend, I'm sure that has served you well in life so far.

· · 2 years ago

> can't wait for your massive power outage... good luck getting to where u need to go

Thanks for visiting and letting is in our your wishes of luck! You realize that once an EV is charged that it still works when the power goes out, right? Thanks for taking this one, Tom. ;)

· · 2 years ago

"Thanks for taking this one, Tom. ;)"

It was the least I could do! You and Ex seem to grab these quicker than I can!

I was in Germany this week to drive the BMW ActiveE and I'm putting up a post about it here this afternoon, check it out. :)

· · 2 years ago

Excellent. Can't wait to hear about it, you jet-setter.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

I own a 2012 Volt. I pull into my garage around 6 or 7PM. By the time I leave @7AM, the Volt is fully charged just on the 110V charger. I don't see what's the big deal.

· · 2 years ago

@Anonymous, It may be different with the Volt versus the LEAF, although I rather doubt it, but 120 V, 12 Amp charging is about 10% less efficient than 240 V, 16 Amp charging on the LEAF. That means throwing away about 10% of the electricity used for charging.

Seems like an unnecessary waste of electricity to me. But, yes, wasting electricity is cheaper than installing a Level 2 charge station I guess.

· Jeff in LA (not verified) · 2 years ago

I realize I'm pretty late to this conversation but I just bought a 2012 Volt. Like others in this post, I assumed i would put in a 240v charging station. However, my estimate for installation was $1,950. Even with a $1,200 DOE installation credit and a free charger (also DOE grant), the $750 expense didn't pencil out. I am on SCE's TOU-D-TEV rate and the difference between peak and off peak rates is $.03/kwh in tier 1 and $.09/kwh in tier 2 (I will go into tier 2 11 of 12 months) (winter differences are less and in effect 8 months of the year) (I also have a 4.4kV solar system). I considered the fact that 240 v charging is 10% more efficient and came up with a cost difference of $130 per year. So, that's almost 6 year payback before tax implications. Maybe more like 4 if you get the benefits of the tax credit. When I asked the electrician why the installation is so much (my house is 10 years old, has 200 amp service and the electrical panel is on the outside of the garage wall), he said it was because the LA County permitting process will take him a day. I went back to SPX (the company used by Chevy) and asked if I can get a second quote - haven't hear back yet.

· · 2 years ago

@Jeff in LA, Those numbers sound crazy. Can you select your own electrician with the free EVSE program? Shop around for a better installation price?

If it is true that you will be out-of-pocket by $750 the convenience of Level 2 charging may not be worth it for a Volt because the small battery doesn't take very long to charge at 120V. But if you plan to stay in your house for awhile and have future EVs, getting a Level 2 EVSE for $750 net seems like a decent deal to me. Those of us not in selected areas like California don't get free EVSEs and had to buy and install our own.

By the way, the tax credit for EVSEs expired last year and didn't work when also claiming a tax credit for an EV anyway. So that shouldn't be a factor in your decision.

I believe I read that the first Level 1 EVSEs supplied with the Volt were pretty shoddy and prone to melting. Is that problem fixed now?

· Jeff in LA (not verified) · 1 year ago

To get the DOE grant for the free charger, I have to use SPX and their contractor. I could go out on my own but then I would have to buy the EVSE. I not noticed any issues with the level 1 EVSE. It doesn't even feel especially warm when charging.

· Ralph Spoilsport (not verified) · 1 year ago

As far as 110 volt charging that is something that the electric utilities would prefer. 110 volt charging uses electricity at a slower rate and that is useful when large numbers of people all come home at 6 PM and plug their cars in at the same time. It prevents a bulge in the electrical demand for the town or city. Since charging requirements are spread out over a longer period of time this allows the electric company to use less of the expensive natural gas peaker plants. The state of California has a website for their electrical usage that shows the daily charts. Peak time is approximately 5 to 8 PM Monday through Friday. When do you think most people will be plugging their cars in? By charging at 110 volts more renewables such as wind and hydro can be used to charge cars.

· · 1 year ago

On the other hand, for workplace charging, higher rate charging is preferred so that all cars are recharged before the peak afternoon load occurs. Likewise, unless you only drive about 20 - 30 miles in a day, 120v won't necessarily allow you to be charged between the midnight to 7:00 am off-peak period.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

Alot of the free charging stations in the buffalo ny area are merely duplex outlets with an "Electric Car" sign above them... I talked to the Birchfield Penny ( a brand new "Public" (read taxpayer funded) college art gallery ) people, and they said they had to install waterless urinals and 3 electric car parking spots to get the LEADS designation of a Green Building.

I tried it with my Tesla, and only 1 of the 3 spots would work at a 15 amp rate, they all started at 122 volts but went down to 108, 105, and 103 respectively after charging started. My Tesla kicks out on the 15 amp setting but will continue on the 12 amp setting if it thinks you are using an extension cord, which it did here even though I wasn't. The reason for the lousy voltage is obviously they ran 250 feet of 12 gauge cable and never worried / thought about voltage (pressure) drop. Let's here it for government architechs/engineers!!!. It was only done to get a certification anyway, people in the building say I'm the only car they saw actually plug in ever (in a building that's been there for over a year), and I just got 1 mile of additional range before I left. A VOLT would have survived better. I notice no efficiency degradation when charging the VOLT at 120. 120 on the Tesla though is very inefficient, it costing about 40% more to charge at 120 than at 30 amps 240. Although the Tesla is efficient while driving, the power in to chemical storage in the battery is horribly inefficient, and its just about the worst at 120. The other irksome thing is that the Tesla will use up all your hard earned charge just sitting in the garage running its coolant pump 24 hours a day until you get to like 30% State of Charge, then the pump finally shuts off. Another dopey idea from Tesla (I can say that cuz I spent the $ to buy one), in addition to nonstandard connectors. I say dopey because there is no reason to run a circulator pump 24 hours a day for a battery that should be neither charging nor discharging. On a full battery you lose over 10 miles in 8 hours for this stupid reason.

· · 25 weeks ago

thanks for all the great input. I was seriously considering putting a 240V charging station in my garage. makes all the sense in the world to just use the available 110V connection. After all, I am sleeping for seven to eight hours a day! Thanks again.

· · 25 weeks ago

For what it's worth, I went back to Plug Smart Energy's site and could find nothing about this product. Looks like it went the way of Better Place and Ecotality. But their basic premise made sense. Many of us don't have 220V in our garages and don't want to pay an electrician to run it from the house(and then have to buy a $1,000 Level II charger to boot). If their unit had been comparable in price to EVSE Upgrade's improvement, it might have been a good deal. You would be able to retain the upgraded Level I unit and not have to turn the cable unit in at the end of the lease. 12amp charge is not all that bad if you are not desperate for juice. Frankly, since it appears Ford uses a 12 amp model for the FFE, and Mitsubishi Canada upgraded their I-MiEV cord to 12 amps, why can't the others all do this? Makes me wonder out loud what they were all thinking when they went with 8 amp cords, and 3.3 on board chargers when the 12 amp cords and 6.6 units are so much better and not that much of an additional cost.


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