Charging Electric Vehicles: What You Need To Know

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Did you know that you can charge an electric vehicle to about 80% in 30 minutes?

Electric vehicles have come a long way. The prospect of taking them on a long-distance road trip used to be unimaginable. But now, charging electric vehicles is easier than ever, thanks to the EV charging station. The question still remains whether an electric vehicle is a viable, all-around solution for most drivers.

Electric vehicles are the future of our society; there’s no getting around it. While they do come with their caveats, many of these caveats are simply growing pains that we’ll learn to get over.

Join us as we discuss all there is to know about the EV and the charging station for EVs.

Charging Electric Vehicles: What Are Your Options?

When charging electric vehicles, you have really only two options:

  • Charge your EV at home with an at-home wall power converter
  • Charge your EV at a supercharger station, such as Tesla

There are some hybrids between these. For example, installing a supercharger at home. This allows you to get better electric prices while charging your vehicle much faster than typical at-home setups.

Charging Your EV At Home

EVs are perhaps the best vehicle for the daily commuter because you can charge them from the comfort of your home. When you arrive from work, you can plug your vehicle in.

By the time you leave the next morning, you will have a full battery. That gives you more than enough to get you there and back, often multiple times on a single charge.

For people who don’t make long trips on a regular basis, the EV is the ideal vehicle. It excels at short distances. Not only that but there are massive savings if you decide to charge your vehicle at home.

That said, getting an at-home charger will depend on what you’re looking for. You can install your own supercharger, which will allow you to charge as fast as one of Tesla’s local charging stations. However, this will cost you extra, since most EV manufacturers do not provide it free with your purchase.

When buying your first electric vehicle, ask how much a supercharger will cost. Keep these tips in mind anytime you are considering an auto purchase.

Charging Your EV at a Charging Station for EV

Fortunately, those who love long road trips can still enjoy an electric vehicle. Thanks to Tesla’s push for nationwide charging stations, you can travel almost anywhere with an electric vehicle. There are a few dead zones that make certain trips impossible, but these are disappearing as EVs spread in popularity.

A charging station means you will be able to charge a vehicle to full in less than an hour. That is something to keep in mind since this won’t be a quick fill-up at the gas station like in the past. You will need to factor long waits into your journey.

Cost of Charging at Supercharger Stations

Another thing to consider is that these electric “fill-ups” are not as cheap as at-home charging. This article estimates that you can expect to pay about $20 at a Tesla supercharger station. That’s twice as expensive as charging at home.

While it is way cheaper than gasoline, it’s a cost to factor into the equation. Many people turn to EVs for cost savings. Whatever the case, you will need to factor in the cost of charging when making your car budget.

If you plan to be on the road a lot, consider buying plug converters. These allow you to change charging station plugs to fit your vehicle. They’re extremely handy for when you show up at a charging station that doesn’t support your plug type.

How to Use an EV Charging Station

First, you need to locate an EV Charging Station. If you have a Tesla, the built-in tablet screen will show you all nearby locations. This makes it easy to plan trips or a quick fill-up.

If you don’t have Tesla, your respective car manufacturer may have its own app for showing charging locations.

Or, you can use a third-party app like PlugShare. This allows you to see charging stations of all kinds in your area. It even tells you which plugs they support, so you can make sure you can actually charge before you show up.

Next, you have the option to register in advance for your choice of charging station. This allows you to get a membership card, and possibly get rewards every time you fill up. Or, you can use standard payment options such as Visa or Mastercard.

Once you find an empty station to fill up at, it’s ideal to back in so the charging cable is closest to your charging port. Take extra care to back in carefully, to avoid damaging the charging bank and other vehicles–or your own.

Choosing the Right Plug

Most charging stations will feature multiple different types of plugs. Make sure to choose the right one for your vehicle.

If it doesn’t fit, don’t try to force it into the charging slot. Also, be very careful not to get the plug wet.

Plug in the charger, then make sure your car registers that it is charging. Your vehicle should provide an estimate of how long it will take to charge with the given voltage.

Making Use of the Charging Time

Many EV owners have had to completely rethink the way they take gas station trips. In the past, you might fill up your car, run in for a bathroom break, and then leave. Now, you have to wait at least 30 minutes before your vehicle is ready to go.

This may present an excellent time to get something done. You could take a nap, enjoy a meal, or go out and stretch your legs. It’s a chance to catch up on news or call someone that you haven’t talked to in a while.

Whatever the case, you will need to learn how to fill that time. This may be a chance to figure out how you’ll pay off your auto loan early, too.

How to Make Your Battery Last Longer

One of the significant issues with an electric vehicle is the battery. While it allows you to get an impressive range, it also has one big weakness: battery degradation.

Most lithium-ion batteries have between 300 and 500 charge cycles. This means that every time you charge up your vehicle, your battery capacity degrades a tiny bit. By the time it reaches those 300-500 cycles, its battery capacity will remain very, very low.

That means that your car will take longer to charge, and will hold less of a charge. You’ll need to charge more often, and your range will be limited.

After about five years, you will need to replace your car’s batteries. This may be an expensive replacement and will be an invasive procedure. Your car may be in the shop for a long while.

The only way we can fix this situation is for automakers to create improved battery tech. There are a lot of impressive options on the horizon, but none of them are mass-produced yet. Until then, here are some ways to improve your battery life.

Keep the Battery Between 40 and 80%

Lithium-ion batteries have another weakness. They degrade faster when you let them fully discharge, and when you charge them to the max. The ideal range for a lithium-ion battery is between 40 and 80%.

That means that you avoid letting your car battery go below 40%. When you charge it, you avoid going above 80%. You need to keep your vehicle within this range at all times.

While this may seem annoying, it will extend the lifespan of your battery. That doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally fully discharge and recharge your vehicle. If you need to do so for a long journey, it won’t hurt to break this rule for a few days.

Control Your Vehicle’s Temperature While Charging

Lithium-ion batteries don’t like really cold or really hot temperatures. In cold temperatures, they discharge faster. In hot temperatures, it puts strain on the batteries and degrades them–risking a battery fire.

If possible, store your vehicle in a garage when not in use. This keeps your car at a consistent temperature, whether it’s winter or summer outside. It also keeps your car from overheating or freezing while you charge it.

Control Your Vehicle’s Temperature While Charging

Lithium-ion batteries don’t like really cold or really hot temperatures. In cold temperatures, they discharge faster. In hot temperatures, it puts strain on the batteries and degrades them–risking a battery fire.

If possible, store your vehicle in a garage when not in use. This keeps your car at a consistent temperature, whether it’s winter or summer outside. It also keeps your car from overheating or freezing while you charge it.

Get Car Financing With Carsfast

Charging electric vehicles presents new challenges for electric vehicle owners. Thankfully, the preponderance of the EV charging station means you can use an EV for long-distance trips. By charging at home, though, you could save a lot of money.

Entry-level electric vehicles aren’t cheap. That’s why you need the best car financing you can get. Try out Carsfast’s quiz and find the right financing option for you.

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