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FAQs

Charging

How long does it take to charge a PEV?

Charging times vary based on the size of the battery, how depleted the battery is, and the number of amps you are charging with. A 240-volt charger will double the speed of a 120-volt outlet. A Chevy Volt will charge in 8-10 hours at level 1 (120v) charging, and in 3-4 hours with level 2 (240v). The Nissan Leaf states that it will charge in about half the time of the Chevy Volt. The Tesla takes about twice as long.

Where can I buy a charger? (Or EVSE – Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment)

Several companies have products on the market, and the range of products is growing steadily. Be sure that whichever product you choose has been approved by the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTLs) such as Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc. (ITSNA) (formerly ETL) or Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) a list of approved laboratories can be found at: http://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/index.html#nrtls

Are there special energy rates available for charging a vehicle at home?

You may contact your utility to get information on discount rates, demand response programs, meter options, and an electricity cost assessment for the added PEV load. Utilities are interested in knowing where chargers are being installed to help them access the load impact on their local grid distribution system.

What is the cost to install a 240 V level 2-AC charging at home?

The cost will vary dramatically by brand, region and physical location of installation. 240-volt charging stations range from $490 to more than $3,000. Incentives from your local utility, municipality, or automotive manufacturer may bring those costs down or virtually eliminate them.

Do I need to make any modifications to my house to install a 240-volt charging station?

Most likely yes, you will need a dedicated circuit at the amperage recommended by the brand of 240-volt charging station you choose, usually 30 to 40 amps. A licensed electrician in cooperation with your electric utility can review adding a circuit to your home. Michigan recently modified the residential building code for the installation of qualified Level 2 charging (240-volt) stations to simplify the installation at your home.

Can I install the charger myself?

You may install the 240-volt charging station yourself, but we do not advise doing so without a licensed electrician, permit, and an inspection. The charging unit is a safety device; if not properly installed, permitted and inspected, then most warrantees will be void.

Is a permit or inspection required to install a 240-volt PEV charging station?

A permit is not required by the National Electric Code, but we strongly recommend using the services of a licensed electrician, obtaining the proper permit, and a obtaining an inspection. The charging unit is a safety device; if not properly installed, permitted and inspected, then most warrantees will be void. Fortunately, in Michigan, permitting and inspection are handled by the licensed electrician you hire and are generally seamless.

Can I power my car with solar energy?

Absolutely! Plug-in electric vehicles can be charged with AC or DC current, though AC is the same electricity that powers your household appliances. Solar photovoltaic panels convert the power of the sun into DC energy, which can then, if required for AC charging, run through an inverter to produce AC energy. To account for the variability of solar power and the fact that the most economical vehicle charging will take place at night, the best option is to feed the solar power into your general household meter. If you want to "green up" your power usage, your local utility may have options for purchasing renewable energy. Most utilities require an interconnection agreement when adding alternative energy generators such as solar panels to your home, so check with your electric service provider to make sure your installation is safe and complies with utility policies. 

Where can I charge my car?

Since PEVs can be charged with standard 120-volt current, you can charge anywhere you can use a 3-prong grounded plug. Charge any time at home, or wherever you have the permission of the energy provider. Utility companies and municipalities are working on public charging stations, some of which are shown on the public charging station map.

General Questions

What is the cost to charge vs. cost of gasoline?

Currently, assuming an average electricity price of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, fuel costs for some of the earliest mass-production PEVs are estimated to be 2.5 cents per mile. Compared to $3.00 per gallon, the fuel costs of a highly efficient internal combustion engine vehicle (30 miles per gallon) is 10 cents per mile. Over time, significant consumer energy savings are realized from the fact that operating PEVs in the United States is considerably less expensive than operating a vehicle on gasoline.

Vehicles

What vehicles are available in my area?

Each manufacturer determines the initial markets for their vehicle. However, if the vehicle is not immediately available in your area you can consider driving to another area to purchase and pickup your vehicle. Just keep in mind that some incentives may not apply to an out-of-state purchase.
Chevy Volt: The Chevy Volt was launched in November 2010 in markets including California, Texas, the New York City Metro area, and the Washington DC metro area. The Volt is now available in Michigan and will be available nationwide by the end of 2011.
Nissan Leaf: Retail sales began December 2010 in select markets. See the Nissan LEAF page for locations.
Tesla Roadster: The Tesla Roadster can be ordered online, or at 15 retail locations across the USA.  See the Tesla Web site for more information.

What incentives are available for purchasing a plug-in electric vehicle?

Incentives exist for purchase of the vehicle as well as purchase and installation of an Level 2 (240-volt) charging station. (www.goelectricdrive.com)