EV Charging

Will I Get Stranded?

Potential EV buyers sometimes hesitate to purchase a vehicle because of “range anxiety” – the worry that they may be stranded somewhere with no charging facilities nearby. Many of the newer EVs have a range somewhere between 250mi to 350mi per full charge, but some models have a range of over 400mi, depending on the manufacturer, model, and options. This is about the same range as traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.

Where Can I Find Chargers?

The good news is that the EV charging network around metropolitan areas and their suburbs is maturing quickly and continues to grow every day – there are currently over 49,000 charging locations throughout the US. Common mapping applications like Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, or agency websites like 511PA can find the nearest charger to you or help you plan a trip to make sure you’re well within range of each of your destinations.
Other apps (which can be downloaded to your phone) like the Alternative Fueling Station Locator sponsored by the Department of Energy can also aid in locating public charging locations.
Metro Philadelphia has over 400 publicly available charging stations – many of which have multiple individual chargers available. You may even be surprised at their more rural distribution throughout the state on major roadways.

Is My Car Compatible?

All vehicles are compatible with Level 1 and 2 charging (ones you’ll find at home or businesses).
Level 3 fast charging is still proprietary, based on manufacturer, but standards are evolving. Note that EV charging timeframes often quote “charge to 80%” – this is because in fast charging, the first 80% will proceed at max charging speed and then slow down to avoid damaging the battery.

  • In Level 1 Charging, your EV will plug into a typical 120V outlet. This is the slowest method and may take 9-20 hours for a full charge.
  • In Level 2 Charging, your EV will plug into a charging station attached to a 240V outlet (like the ones you have for heavy appliances like clothes dryers). This method is faster than Level 1 and may take 4-8 hours to charge.
  • In Level 3 Charging (DC fast charging), your EV will plug into a charging station attached to a 480V electric supply. These are typically only found at commercial or industrial locations that have ‘destination’ charging stations. These can charge an EV battery to 80% in 15-45 minutes.
  • This EPA site has a concise summary of the charging types and their plug shapes.

    How Much Will It Cost?

    There are several costs to consider in electric vehicle ownership.

    Upfront costs can appear steep, but many vehicles are eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500.

    Maintenance costs appear to be less expensive than a traditional ICE vehicle. While you have some typical car parts that require maintenance like suspension, tires, and brakes, you do not have the complicated engine and transmission of an ICE vehicle. Instead, the electric motor and battery require less overall maintenance as they have less moving parts.

    Charging costs are significantly cheaper than gasoline.

    At home, where your energy costs are lower, it can be as cheap as $7, but may take 4-12 hours, or even overnight if you’re on a Level 1 charger. This is heavily dependent on where you live, but even the behemoth EV Hummer with a 200kWh battery would only cost about $24 for a full charge at $0.12 per kWh.

    On the road where you’re likely looking for DC fast charging, it currently costs about $25 for a full charge (about $0.28 per kWh on some Tesla quotes) on a typical EV. Keep in mind that this can take as little as 15 minutes.

    Ultimately, there are a variety of resources at your fingertips to help you make the best decision for you-
    From Car and Driver specific-vehicle breakdowns and comparisons to DOE/EPA Calculators for Fuel Cost vs. Charging Savings to a calculator to determine specific vehicle costs year-by-year. Here’s an example of a Chrysler 300 vs. a Tesla Model S.