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Everything You Need to Know About Buying an Electric Vehicle

PART 2: CHARGING AND CHARGING STATIONS

Welcome to Part Two of our Five-Part series on Everything You Everything You Need to Know About Buying an Electric Vehicle. We’ve rounded up our best advice from the professionals at Kia Victoria to make the switch from gas-powered vehicle to EV easier than ever. 

This second installment will focus mainly on ways to charge an EV, from trickle to DC and everything in between, plus a breakdown of charging station types and how to use them. 

If you’re already confused, don’t worry. We’re here to help. 

 

CHARGING

EV chargers are classified according to the speed with which they recharge an EVs battery: Level 1 (aka trickle chargers), Level 2 (AC chargers), and Level 3 (DC quick/rapid chargers).

Typically, Level 1 and 2 chargers are the main options when it comes to home use, with Level 3 stations generally limited to pay-per-use public domain.

LEVEL 1 - or trickle charging - uses a portable charging cable in a standard household (120v) outlet to charge the electric vehicle. This is akin to plugging in your smartphone, albeit a very large one, before turning in for the night. It's worth noting that this is the slowest form of charging and can take about 16 hours or more to achieve a full charge.

LEVEL 2 requires a specialized station using a 240-volt outlet, like those used by ovens and clothes dryers, and is installed by an electrician inside your garage or outside your home. Level 2 chargers are the most efficient home charging option and are also the most common to find at free charging stations around town. Providing 240v power, it takes 6 to 14 hours to fully charge an EV, or 4 to 8 hours for a PHEV. 

LEVEL 3 charging, is currently the fastest charging available. DC fast chargers are found at dedicated EV charging stations and charge the battery up to 150 kms range in about 30 minutes. Takes 1 to 4 hours to fully charge an EV battery, or 15 minutes to 3 hours for PHEV.

CHARGING AT HOME

Home charging stations are ideal for owners/renters of single-family homes or town homes/duplexes with dedicated off-street parking. 

The Government of B.C. is working BC Hydro and Fortis BC to offer provincial rebates for the purchase and installation of EV chargers. Visit our article on How to Apply for EV Rebates or visit Go Electric to learn more about the plan and how to apply. With the rebates that are currently available, there’s no better time to purchase and install one for home use. 

Your home has either 100 or 200 amp service. Most older homes have only 100 amp service, unless you or a previous owner upgraded the service during a past renovation. Most EV chargers pull 30-50 amps of current, which means there wouldn’t be a lot of power left for the rest of your home. If your home has a 100-amp panel you likely need to upgrade to a 200-amp panel before installing your Level 2 EV charger. This is a job for licensed electrician.

Before you purchase a home charging station, however, there are many things to consider. Here are some options and upgrades that are available:

Cord length: Cords are available in a range of lengths, the most common being 5 metres (16 feet) and 7.6 metres (25 feet). Shorter cables are easier to store but longer cables provide flexibility in the event drivers need to park further from the charger.

Indoor or outdoor: Many chargers are designed to function inside or outside, but not all are. If your charging station needs to be outside, make sure the model you choose is rated to work in the rain, snow, and cold temperatures.

Portable or permanent: Some chargers only need to plug into an outlet while others are designed to be installed on a wall, by an electrician. 

Networked: Some chargers will connect to the internet so drivers can start, stop, and monitor charging with a smartphone.

Smart EV chargers: Smart EV chargers ensure the most efficient charging by automatically adjusting the amount of electricity being sent to an EV based on timing and load factors. Some smart EV charging stations can also provide you with data on your usage.

 

CHARGING ON THE GO

If you only have on-street parking or live in an older condo or apartment building without a charging station you will be limited in your charging options. We believe that with some judicious planning, and a dose of passion, you can get by solely using public charging stations. Or you may find that an HEV is the right option for you right now.

In Greater Victoria, there are 178 Level 2 charging stations and 19 Level 3 charging stations within 15km of downtown. Among these public EV charging stations, about 80% are free.

Visit Chargehub for complete information.

CHARGEHUB CHARGING STATION MAP - Quickly locate available Level 2 and DC Fast charging stations near you.

TIP: In BC, electric cars displaying a decal issued by the Province of British Columbia are allowed in reserved HOV lanes (High Occupancy Vehicle) without having to carry two or more people.

We hope you found this article helpful. Stay tuned for PART THREE: Batteries. We’ve included everything you need to know about range, distance-to-empty, and how to care for your battery for longest life. 

 

Did you miss Part 1? Or want to skip ahead?

PART ONE: KNOW YOUR VEHICLES

PART THREE: BATTERIES

PART FOUR: COST SAVINGS AND CARBON FOOTPRINT

PART FIVE: BUYING A USED EV