Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know
By Antony Ingram - allCarselectric.com
August 13th, 2010
One of the most important aspects of electric-car ownership might not be how they drive, or how far you'll go on a charge, but how you'll actually charge it in the first place.
That's why we asked "What comes first, the car or the charger?", with many potential EV owners waiting for a public charging network to appear so they can be sure they'll have somewhere to recharge...
So how will you be charging your own EV? Here we concentrate on home charging - as this will be the place the majority of charging will occur.
Level 1: 120-Volt
There will be three levels of charging. The most basic, level 1, will be the typical 120-volt home system that doesn't necessarily require any special hardware. In essence, your EV can be plugged straight into a normal three-prong wall outlet using a special charging cord.
Every home will have access to such an outlet and it won't need any special installation, nor any electrical safety check. You can hook up your EV and go.
What level 1 charging won't offer is a particularly fast charge. The typical estimate for a car like the 2011 Nissan Leaf is around 8 to 12 hours, which may just about give you 100-percent recharge if you plug in directly after work in the afternoon and don't set off too early the next morning...
Level 2: 240-Volt
If you want a quicker charge--and many potential EV owners probably come under this category--then a level 2 charger will likely be for you.
Level 2 runs at 240 volts and around 30 amps, cutting the level 1 charge time in half as a result. A 4-6 hour charge time becomes suitable for a great many more applications, including commercial as well as personal residential use.
For home usage, you'll have to get a charging system installed by a professional, and the installation will then need to be tested for electrical safety by your local authority.
Steve Schey, director of stakeholder services at ECOtality, tells us that the contractor charged with the installation will request a permit, and once it is granted they will complete the installation, with inspection and approval to follow before you can use the charge point.
Residential level 2 chargers will all be wall-mounted - inside your garage or car port, for example. Some customers will be lucky enough to have one installed for them: GM, for example, will soon announce their partner in a home-charging setup program. Clean energy company ECOtality will provide 8,300 free level 2 chargers as part of a large study into electric vehicle usage trends.
We asked the company representatives in the EDTA conference how much customers should expect to pay to get a level 2 charger installed in their homes. Steve Schey told us the chargers they offer retail at $1,195 (you can find more about these on their charging network website blinknetwork.com)...
Level 3: High voltage
The quickest charge available at the moment is through a level 3 fast charger. These will largely be used in locations where a quick charge time is of the essence, such as gas stations, rest stops and malls.
A fast charger running on 50 to 500 Volt DC current at over 100 Amperes can provide 80 percent charge in as little as 15-30 minutes. This should allow you to go on a longer journey with minimum disruption, and time comfort breaks with a quick recharge.
Most current EVs will be fast-charge compatible, though it's worth noting that the 2011 Chevy Volt isn't yet one of those cars. You'd be hard pressed to view this as a bad thing, though, given that the Volt uses a range-extending gasoline engine to provide its full range.
We aren't aware what a level 3 charger for the home might cost you, but expect it to be significantly more than the cost of a level 2 charger...
More at link: http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/...u-need-to-know
From a quasi-blog, but well written, interesting, and informative IMO.