You don’t need to install A “special charger” at home, though you may want to.
First off, I think we need to clear the myth that you need a special outlet to own a plug-in an EV (electric vehicle). You don’t. You can plug in an EV into your household outlet, which most people have inside their garage, or on the side of the house. If you’re in a parking garage situation, you’ll need to check your complex to see if you can use the outlets in the garage or if there is one close enough to your parking spot.
You may want to consider updating your home with a Level 2 charger at home if you’re buying a fully electric car. Some people are lucky enough to have Level 2 charging stations at their place of work and only need to charge during the time they’re at work.
This being said, I think the bottom line about whether or not an EV or plug-in Electric vehicle can fit your life is having a look at the resources and logistics around you. Is your city EV friendly with local stations? Ask your friends who may already have an EV in your community about their experiences or do some local research before deciding if an EV is right for you.
Charge 3 Different Ways
Charging times can vary depending on things like temperature, your current level of battery charge and your battery capacity. You have three options to choose from.
Household: Your typical 110v outlet works to charge a car. Really. It’s slower than other levels, but it works.
Level 2: 208v/240v charging can be installed at home or you can use them at local stations, just check plugshare.com for stations near you.Plug-in hybrid: 1-4 hours to be fully charged on Level 2. Battery EV: 4-8 hours to be fully charged (from 0 to 100%) on Level 2. Most stations are free to use.
DC Fast Charging: DC Fast Charging stations (not including Tesla Supercharging) are slowly being offered at a charge as they are significantly more costly to build and setup. They charge a fee for charging but can charge up to 80% of a battery charge in approximately 20 minutes. Across North America, these are becoming more common at fuel stations.
With the Kia Niro EV, you can even use the Kia UVO system in the vehicle to help you locate local Level 2 and DC Fast Charging stations in your area, while you’re on the go.
There are also plenty of mobile apps that will help you locate your nearest charging station.
Know Your EVs
There are a few different types of electric vehicles – plug-in hybrid electric, and pure battery-electric, so know the difference when you shop. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) electric has a gas-powered back-up. A battery-electric (BEV or EV) has just the battery.
8 Reasons an EV Can Fit Your Lifestyle
We’re Just Driving around the City
This isn’t going to be our road-trip car, it’s for commuting and city driving. The Kia Niro has a documented range of up to 385 KM or 239 Miles. Honestly, though, I had a 460-496 KM range on most days I drove it.
If you are just going for a one-vehicle household but will take occasional road trips requiring a gas minivan or truck, you can always rent one!
I have a High-Speed Charger up the Street
Check plugshare.com to see where your local Level 2 charging stations are. Depending on your City, Province/State, you may be surprised how readily available they are. If you’re considering a Tesla, those are different charging stations, so search for Superchargers in your area to see how accessible it would be for you to have one.
The Range Can be Significant
I’ve heard it on social media and from friends, people want longer range, they’re worried about cold winters affecting charging and range (it does) and taking a simple road-trip to the cabin.
Maybe a PHEV is a solution for you – you can get the Niro in a PHEV (plug-in electric) version with a backup gas motor with a560 Mile or 853 KM range. Keep in mind that these only have a small battery range, meaning if you’re doing longer trips you’ll need to pay for gas, but you have the benefit of the overall range. The battery only range is about 26 Miles or 42 KM.
The Honda Clarity (read all about it here) is also a plug-in hybrid with a full range of 340 miles / 547 kilometers, so you have the benefit of range with a gas engine to take you further without worrying about getting stranded without a charging source.
Who doesn’t like to save money on gas? The cost of charging an electric vehicle versus using gas fuel is approximately half! That said, if I were to have used the free charging station up the street from my house this week, I wouldn’t have used any of my own electricity so it would have been zero versus using gas. It’s all about your usage, where and how you charge and how far you’re driving.
You’ll Get Rebates
Yes, that means you’ll save even more money. Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for State or Federal rebates. In Canada, there is a $5000 federal rebate plus varying amounts by Province. In the US, the IRS tax credit is $2,500-$7,000 depending on the price of the car, and various other factors. Your State may have additional rebates. This brings down the initial upfront cost of the vehicle, making it more affordable to get into an EV!
Plus, in some places (British Columbia being one) you may apply for a rebate to install a Level 2 charger in your home, check with your local hydro provider and government programs.
Regenerative Braking Helps Charge your Battery While You Drive!
When you apply the brakes, you capture the kinetic energy of deceleration to charge your battery on the go. Plus, steering wheel-mounted paddles allow you to adjust regenerative braking levels meaning if you use the paddle while slowing, you are charging more.
You Should Know That There are Still Maintenance Expenses
You may have heard, “no oil changes, no service appointments”, but the truth is, you’ll still need to replace your tires every few years and have other regular maintenance costs like checkups with your manufacturer.
Electric vehicles do cost more than gas, because of the technology, but over the long term cost less in the overall maintenance and charging versus gas.
Read more about the Kia Niro EV here and the Honda Clarity PHEV here!
We fell in love with the Kia Niro EV over the week, and are considering a fully electric vehicle for our next family car, stay tuned!
Disclosure: I was provided the Kia Canada Niro EV and Honda Clarity PHEV for one week to facilitate this review.