100 Questions about Electric Vehicles

By David Herron
Electric cars are refueled using electricity.

How much does a home electric car (EV) charging station cost?

The most convenient place to charge an electric car, but that means buying and installing a charging station. Since we don't have to install home refueling for gasoline cars, this is something <em>new</em> electric car owners must do. Fortunately there are a range of choices from very inexpensive (almost free) to high powered (at a cost).

How much does cost to charge an electric car (EV) at home versus at a public charging station?

Not only is charging at home the most convenient place to charge, it usually the cheapest place to charge your electric car. Public charging station owners have to pay for many costs beyond the cost of electricity, and therefore must charge more to use a public charging station than it costs at home. But if you hunt around it's possible to find free charging stations.

Can a Tesla car use non-Tesla DC fast charge? Can non-Tesla car use Tesla Supercharger? DC fast charge compatibility

Surely when we arrive at an electric car charging station, we should be able to charge our car. Gasoline car drivers enjoy this sort of freedom. So long as they do not accidentally use the diesel or ethanol hose, but the gasoline hose, they can drive to any gas station and charge up. But when fast charging an electric car, drivers will find several charging connectors (CHAdeMO, CCS, Tesla), and need to know which charging connector is compatible with their car.

How can we reduce the charging time of electric cars?

Is faster always better? We want faster electric car charging so we can more easily implement road trips. A direct substitute of electric car for gasoline would include a five minute recharge, and it's claimed everybody would willingly buy electric cars. What's preventing the automakers from implement 5 minute charging times?

How do you find electric car charging stations on the go while traveling?

Electricity is everywhere but to recharge our electric car we need a charging station, and they're not as evenly distributed as are gasoline stations. Thankfully there are smart phone apps and other information resources to help find charging stations.

Can I use a generator to charge an electric car while driving it?

Many thinking about how to drive an electric car over long distances bring up the idea of attaching a gasoline/diesel generator and charging the car while driving. In effect this idea is a sort of Plug-in Hybrid car, so shouldn't such people just buy a PHEV? By definition an EV with a Generator is a Plug-in Hybrid, meaning the BEV can plug-in to the grid to recharge, and it has a second on-board power source (the generator), making it a Hybrid, that can recharge the battery pack. But a homebrew conversion of a BEV into a PHEV might not be legal.

How do I charge or refuel an electric vehicle?

Every kind of vehicle must be refueled or eventually they run out of power. A gasoline or diesel vehicle must be driven to a petrol/gasoline station, and refueled there. Electric cars do not require gasoline or diesel, so where are they refueled and how is refueling accomplished? Do you plug the electric car into a regular power outlet to recharge?

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Surely a few electric car drivers have wondered how much longer it will take to charge their car. Charging an electric car takes as long as it takes. While speeding things up is not exactly possible, understanding what's going on will help with your patience.

Can non-Tesla electric cars use Tesla EV chargers?

Tesla has developed a widely deployed electric car charging network, that only works for cars built by Tesla. This is good for Tesla, but it does not help those of us who do not own Tesla cars. We might see a marker in the PlugShare app, drive to that location, only to be confused by the charging connector, and unable to charge our car. Bottom line is that non-Tesla electric cars cannot use Tesla charging stations, but there are some fine points to consider. In some cases we can use an adapter to access some Tesla charging stations.

Is charging an EV (electric car or electric motorcycle) the reason for not buying one?

Many people are reluctant to buy electric vehicles, and charging time or charging availability is often said to be what scares people off.

What happens if your Tesla car runs out of power in an area with no Supercharger stations?

It may seem that Tesla vehicles can only recharge at Tesla charging stations, and therefore cannot be charged if there are no Tesla Superchargers or Destination Chargers. The lengths Tesla has gone to provide excellent service to Tesla car owners helped to create this incorrect assumption. But, the reality is different. Showing wisdom, Tesla made sure that Tesla vehicles can recharge using standard charging systems by using adapters. Therefore Tesla electric cars can recharge at any charging facility, and Tesla car owners must learn how to do so.

Can you plug an electric car into a regular power outlet?

Electric cars are recharged using a charging station. Some feel it would be oh so much simpler if we could just recharge from a simple normal power outlet. But that's not the way things were designed so let's talk about that.

What do you need to charge an electric car, and why is that?

Just as a cell phone requires a charging cord, an electric car or motorcycle requires a specialized charging cord. Even though electricity is everywhere, and we plug all kinds of things into regular power outlets every day, the powers-that-be decided to require a specialized charging cord for electric vehicles. There are clear technical reasons for this, and the requirement to use an electric car charging station is not a burden.

Why is a special charging cord (J1772) required to charge an electric car?

Electricity is everywhere, available through power outlets in essentially every building. Why can't electric cars be recharged through a regular power outlet? Why can't electric cars simply use a regular extension cord? Why does recharging an electric car require using a specialized power cord with a specialized charging plug? A conspiratorially-minded person might think the special charging cord is meant to limit the spread of electric cars.

Why is electric vehicle charging not standardized, such that there is one common charging protocol?

Most car manufacturers now build electric cars, and with the improving price we might think electric cars are slated to take over, but a niggling little problem is still causing pain to electric car owners. There is not a common charging connector for DC fast charging that works in all electric cars, and instead there are three competing DC fast charging standards. Differing electric car charging connectors is a bigger issue than whether cell phones charge using Lightning cords or USB-C, if only because public charging stations cost $200,000 apiece.

How is a Tesla supercharger, or other DC Fast Charging, actually faster?

Of course we want to charge our electric car faster, since faster charging gets us to the destination faster. If your needs include a lot of road trips then an electric car supporting faster charging will get you there faster. The car manufacturers know about this, and the charging speed on Tesla's Supercharger network seems to have pushed the other electric car makers to work on faster charging. The signs point to ultra-high charging rates from many manufacturers, but at the present time Tesla's Supercharger network is faster than the typical fast charging for non-Tesla electric cars.
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