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).

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?

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.

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.

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.
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