Grid Scale, Rooftop, Solar, Storage

Listen Up: Charging Your Electric Vehicle

Electric vehicles are great: they’re affordable, great for the environment and low maintenance. And where electric rates are low — or if you have rooftop solar power — EVs are cheaper to drive per mile than gas-powered cars. But you have to think about how you will charge your EV: there are only a few thousand public charging locations in the U.S. compared to 100,000 gas stations.

When you buy an EV it comes with a 120 volt charger that you can plug into just about any outlet. These 120 volt chargers are convenient, but can take awhile to completely charge your battery — about 12 hours for a Chevy Volt, 17 hours for a Nissan Leaf and 59 hours for a Tesla. So if you drive a lot you will definitely need a higher capacity charger, either at home or at work.

There are three choices for EV chargers: Level 1 chargers (120 volts), Level 2 chargers (240 volts) and Level 3 chargers (480 volts). Level 1 chargers are cheap and work just about everywhere, whereas Level 3 chargers are fast, but expensive and only work on certain EVs. Level 2 chargers are probably your best bet for home charging, but generally still require an electrician (and possibly utility permission) to install. Please Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World for the limitations and practical advice about charging up your electric vehicle.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock