Electric Vehicle Chargers: Operation and Tips

How To

Electric Vehicle Chargers

Electric vehicles use electricity as one of the main ways to run them. Some electric vehicles are hybrid that is they run on both gas and electricity. The electric vehicles are popular due to the zero emissions and less dependency on gas. The combustion of electricity powers the motors of the vehicle without any emissions from the exhaust pipe. Compare the electric vehicles available from different vehicle manufacturers to identify the benefits.

Electric vehicles are widely used worldwide due to the energy efficiency and environment friendly operation. Cities with high pollution levels are often recommending commuters to use the electric vehicles to reduce further pollution. Electric vehicles price starts from around $20, 000 and above based on the make and model. Some of the vehicles may qualify for federal tax benefits.

There are three main types of electric vehicles:

  1. Hybrid Electric Vehicles: Use electricity as one of the sources to power, have the energy is stored in batteries, and do not require to plug-in
  2. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles: Use conventional fuel or alternate fuel, also run on electricity stored in batteries, and need to be plugged-in for charging
  3. All Electric Vehicles: Run totally on the battery power to power the motor. Need to be plugged-in

The key requirements of the electric vehicles is the battery and which require over night charging. The driving range of the electric vehicles range from 60 to 150 miles for fully charged battery. The driving range varies with the vehicle but they need continuous charging in any case. eCarChargers are being installed everywhere such as offices, shopping malls, apartments, condominiums, public car charging stations, and so on. It is common for the electric vehicle owners to have the eCarChargers installed in their garage for overnight charging.

Manufacturers such as Tesla are aiming at reducing the dependency on fossil fuels further by installing Tesla solar roofs on individual properties to generate power. This solar power can be converted in to electricity which is then used to charge an electric vehicle. eCarChargers are a common commodity that is sought by many businesses and individuals.


eCarChargers: Operation


eCarChargers are available with any electric vehicle that can be used for charging. The default 120V chargers that come with the vehicle are Level 1 chargers. They can be plugged in to any normal household outlet but they run only a few miles for overnight charging. Higher level chargers are required to charge the vehicle faster and drive longer. Some vehicle owners can manage with the level 1 charging if their commute is shorter and have charging available at work.

The electric vehicles have inbuilt rechargeable batteries that run the motor in the car. When the battery is discharged, they need to be recharged via an electrical outlet.

The common batteries in the electric vehicles are made of Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion). The traction batteries are also the deep cycle batteries needed for the operation of the electric vehicles. The battery capacity of the full electric vehicles (22 kWh to 100 kWh) is higher than that of plugin hybrid vehicles (4 kWh to 20 kWh) and non-plugin hybrid vehicles (1 kWh to 2 kWh). Manufacturers are constantly innovating and changing the features offered.

Different ports used for the charging include the J1772, J1772 combo, CHAdeMO, Tesla combo, or SAE J3068. Public charging stations have higher level charging for faster charging. Most electric vehicle owners have eCarChargers installed in their residences. The type of charger installed depends entirely on the vehcle and the daily commute needs.

Local energy providers offer benefits such as night use rates for charging vehicles overnight. The vehicles also conserve energy by shutting off during idle periods and by charging the battery while the break is applied also known as regenerative braking.

eCarCharger: How it works

Battery stored in the car

Battery charged via outlet

Battery fully charged

Car ready for use

Vehicle runs for the day

Battery discharges and needs charging

eCarChargers: How to

To use the eCarChargers, you need to plug in the wire from your car in to the outlet of the charger. It sounds simple to charge a vehicle as you would charge any other device. However, you need to follow some guidelines.

  • Switch off the vehicle completely
  • Unplug any internal chargers such as phone chargers
  • Check for the charger compatible to your vehicle
  • Plug the vehicle into the charger
  • Check the maximum time required to fully charge
  • Check any indicators or warnings on the dashboard or the charger
  • Unplug after fully charged and set it aside in a safe manner

You can find a nearest electric vehicle charging station or you can install a Level 2 charger in your own property. Most charging stations have smart phone applications to check the status and rates. Prepaid cards are available on registering at some of the charging stations and some offer free charging as well.

If you are installing a charger at your home, you need to check with the HOA rules, city rules, utility company, and manufacturer recommendations. Consulting an electrician is a good idea. Modern chargers are available that can be used with any type of car. Safe practices and monitoring are suggested while operating a eCarCharger.


eCarChargers: Issues

Finding the correct charger is a biggest challenge of eCarChargers. Many smart phone applications are available which may be quite confusing to the users. Tracking the applications and maps is difficult as there are too many in the market. If a vehicle owner is unaware of the type of charging required for their vehicle, it may cause issues to the vehicle. Improper charging can lead to total breakdown of the vehicle itself. The batteries are too expensive to replace in an electric vehicles and may always need a specialist to work with.

False indications and improper charging also are common issues with eCarChargers. The charging and driving range is effected due to the external factors such as other charging in car or over heating in winter. Getting a replacement for the charger in the middle of the high way is almost impossible as the roadside assistance of the majority vehicle insurance companies are unfamiliar with the electric vehicles.

Often, the recommended accessories are expensive and hard to replace for the eCarChargers. If the owner changes the electric vehicle, they are forced to change the chargers as well, which is a huge cost. In busy areas, finding a spot to charge is a challenge for the drivers. Advanced registration is mandatory which is an additional planning for the electric vehicle owner. Free charging stations are always filled and sometimes the parking spots are blocked by non electric vehicles!


eCarChargers: Tips


eCarChargers need special installation and maintenance. They cannot be ignored and must be used for their intended use only. It is better to install the charger which is compatible with many types of vehicles. If you are planning for long trips, the charging stations also need to be planned in the route. When the vehicle is half charged, the owners must start planning for fully charging. If you are using an extension cord, you need to check for the compatibility for that as well.

New electric vehicle owners must get familiar with the vehicle and charging requirements before using it. It is better to note down the nearest charging stations and prices. In the event of a power cut in the area, they must be familiar with alternate charging such as the Tesla Powerwall. eCarChargers are hard to maintain and replace and must be dealt with appropriate care. Any moisture or electric problems must be immediately notified and addressed.

eCarCharger owners must practice several times to get used to the systems. Having the manufacturer specific smartphone applications ready is a good idea. The owners must know where to go in case a eCarCharger fails to operate. Nearby technicians and electricians must be consulted for any repairs.