FAQs

Charging an EV

Home Charging Costs

Written by Larry Thompson For home charging a simple formula is to multiply the battery capacity in kilowatt (kW) times the cost per kW hour.   For example:  A Tesla Model 3 Long Range model has a driving range of 310 miles and a battery capacity of approximately 75kW.  In Connecticut, using a sample residential rate of $.185, to charge a Tesla Model 3, assuming a 10% buffer is left, 75kW x $0.185 = $12.48. Learn more Connecticut has some of the highest electricity rates in the country.  A more representative average US cost is $0.10/kW to $0.12/kW. Some local municipalities have installed free public charging stations, usually of Level 2 capacity.  However most public charging stations are fee based where the fees can vary significantly. You can find the cost of each station by using the app for the charging station (e.g. www.electrifyAmerica.com) or an app that supports multiple charging stations (e.g. www.PlugShare.com) We can compare the cost of driving a BEV to an internal combustion car as follows: A 2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range model has a range of 310 miles per charge.  Dividing the electricity cost of $10.40 by the range of 310 miles equals an electricity cost of $0.033 cents per mile. A 2020 BMW 3 Series gets approximately 26 city, 36 highway and 30 combined miles per gallon of gas.  A gallon of premium gasoline costs approximately $3.19. Therefore $3.19 / 30 mpg equals a gasoline cost of $0.11 per mile.   
Category: Charging an EV

How do I charge my EV when traveling?

Written by Larry Thompson

The short answer

There are approximately 68,000* public Level 2 and Level 3 EV charging stations in the continental US as of May 2019 with more being added each month.  These stations can be found on and just off main highways and in local and neighborhood locations and many businesses. There are a number of national providers of public charging stations and most have maps which indicate the capacity and availability of the stations.

Plugshare (www.plugshare.com) provides a comprehensive map of most charging locations in the US regardless of provider.  Other charging station manufacturers and providers can be found at:

www.chargepoint.com

www.electrifyamerica.com

www.blinkcharging.com

www.evgo.com

www.gewattstation.com

All EV’s come with charging cables that can be plugged into standard 120 volt outlets (also known as household outlets) but charge at the rate of 3-5 miles per hour.  Although 120 volt charge rates are slow the outlets are commonly available outside homes and businesses.

Most charging stations are fee-based but some, provided by local governments are free for public use.

* www.energy.gov

Learn more

Using the EV navigation systems most EV’s are able to calculate the range required to arrive at the intended destination.  If the battery requires charging in route the EV can generally locate nearby charging stations. Using an app such as PlugShare will identify charging stations regardless of manufacture or charging provider.

Some Connecticut municipalities offer free Level 2 charging.  For example, in the Town Fairfield, there are 3 free Level 2 charging stations with a total of 5 outlets.  There are 21 free Level 2 charging stations in the Town of Westport, though parking regulations apply to those at Metro-North stations.  

The State of Connecticut provides several free charging stations at Hammonasset State Park

Category: Charging an EV

How do I charge an electric car?

Written by Larry Thompson

The short answer

Approximately 80% of electric vehicle owners charge their cars at home or at their workplace.  

For home charging, an electrician is usually required to install an electrical outlet or the manufacturer’s home charging system, including the charging cable, in the garage or on the exterior of the house. When the owner wants to charge the car they simply connect the cable to the car and the car will charge automatically.

In most cases, the electrician will install a 30 or 40 amp, 240-volt circuit. Charging times vary from car to car but a good rule of thumb is 20-25 miles of charge per hour for a 30 amp circuit.  It’s also possible to plug the car into a standard 120-volt outlet but this will generally be limited to 4-5 miles of charge per hour, less when the ambient temperature drops into the 30-degree range.  Many owners use this option when visiting friends. Fortunately, most EV’s have a phone app that allows scheduled charging during off-peak hours if you have a peak/off-peak plan.

Public charging stations also have a cable that is simply plugged into the car and the car will charge automatically.  Charging times vary widely depending on the capacity of the charging station.

Tesla’s have access to Tesla Supercharger stations generally located on or just off main highways. Charging speeds vary depending on the capacity of the particular station, how many Tesla’s are simultaneously charging and ambient and battery temperature. A good rule of thumb is to expect speeds between 150 and 360 miles of charge per hour but charging speeds decrease as the battery becomes more fully charged.

Learn more

There are several categories of EV charging stations in use today.

Level 1 Charging is provided from a standard 120 volt AC circuit sometimes referred to as a “household circuit”.  Charging times are generally between 3 and 5 miles of charge per hour.

Level 2 Charging is provided from a dedicated 30 – 40 amp, 240 volt AC circuit similar to the circuit powering a household clothes dryer.  Level 2 systems generally require an electrician to install the circuit and charging equipment in a garage or on the exterior of the house.  Charging times are generally between 20 and 25 miles of charge per hour for a 30 amp circuit

Level 3 charging is provided from public charging stations and will vary considerably in terms of charging speeds depending on the kilowatt (kW) capacity of the station. Level 3 charging equipment is commercial quality and generally not installed in residential applications and may not be compatible with all EV’s.   Level 3 charging is sometimes known as DC Fast Charging (DFC) or CHAdeMO charging but may require an adapter from the vehicle manufacturer. Additionally, there is the Combined Charging System (CCS) which provides for both AC and DC charging capability from a single plug.

Tesla recently announced and are installing Version 3 Tesla Superchargers with a capacity of 250kW per car and can, under optimal conditions, charge at the maximum rate of 1,000 miles per hour.  Tesla reports* a total of 18 Supercharger stations with 124 outlets and 7 additional stations planned.  

EV’s other than Tesla’s cannot currently use the Tesla Supercharger stations as the Supercharger will recognize only Tesla’s.

It should also be noted that charging speeds become slower as the battery becomes more fully charged.  This is especially true as the battery reached full charge. Fortunately, the rate of charge can be monitored using a phone app.

There is a plug at the end of the charging cable which connects to the car but not all plugs are compatible with all cars.  EV’s other than Tesla use a standard connector referred to as a J-Plug or SAE J1772 connector.  

Telsa charging cables have plugs that are compatible only with Tesla’s. However, Tesla supplies an adapter allowing their cars to charge at public charging stations with J-Plug connectors.  

*www.tesla.com/findus/list/superchargers/UnitedStates

 

Category: Charging an EV

Cost of EV Acquisition and Ownership

How much do EV’s cost?

Written by Larry Thompson

EV’s range in price from less than $25,000 to more than $2,000,000.    From a more practical perspective, three of the most popular EV’s are the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus ($39,990), Chevy Bolt ($36,620) and the Toyota Prius Prime ($27,600).

There are both federal and state incentives available that may significantly reduce your cost. A more detailed description can be found on our incentives page.

Do EVs Require Maintenance?

Written by Larry Thompson

The short answer

Like all cars and trucks on the road today, BEVs require periodic windshield wiper replacements, tire rotations, inspection of the brakes, and replacement of brake fluid.   

However, BEV’s do not have gasoline or diesel engines, transmissions, and exhaust and emission systems and therefore do not require many of the scheduled maintenance items which are required internal combustion engine cars. Due to the regenerative braking, the brake pads will last much longer on a BEV.

PHEV’s have internal combustion engines and battery systems, therefore, require many of the same maintenance items associated with internal combustion engines. There is considerable variation across PHEVs and that will affect the necessary maintenance accordingly.

Learn more

Using Tesla as an example BEV’s will require some maintenance as follows:

Tire rotations

Windshield wiper replacement

Inspection/replacement of the battery coolant

Inspection/replacement of the brake fluid

 

Internal combustion cars and trucks require the following maintenance items:

Tire rotations

Windshield wiper replacement

Inspection/replacement of the battery coolant

Inspection/replacement of the brake fluid

Engine oil/filter changes

Replace air filters and spark plugs

Exhaust system inspection

Comprehensive service check-up

Emissions check (usually required by State Agencies*)

 

*In 2020, Connecticut requires an emissions check every two years for cars manufactured between 1996 and 2016. 

 

Driving an EV

Does Driving Range Decrease in Cold Weather?

Written by Larry Thompson

The short answer

EV batteries operate and charge most efficiently when the battery and ambient temperatures are about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.   

According to a 2019 AAA study* driving when ambient temperatures are very cold (e.g. 20 degrees Fahrenheit) can reduce driving by as much as 41%, especially when using the cabin heater.  Fortunately, we don’t have 20-degree temperatures in Connecticut very often and there are simple things you can do to mitigate possible range reduction such as:

1)  Heat or cool your vehicle while it’s still connected to the Level 2 charger.  Most EV’s today have a phone app which allows you to remotely control the heating and cooling system.  Turn the heat or cooling on before you get in the car and you’ll have a nice comfortable car without reducing the driving range.

2)  The cabin heater is energy-intensive so many EV owners will use the seat heaters and supplement the heat as necessary with the cabin heater.

3)  Driving even 10mph slower than normal may significantly alleviate any range reduction due to cold weather and actually in any weather.

4)  Underinflated tires reduce the driving range in all temperature conditions.  In cold weather, tires can lose up to 1-2psi for every 10-degree drop in temperature.

* https://www.aaa.com/AAA/common/AAR/files/AAA-Electric-Vehicle-Range-Testing-Report.pdf

Learn more

Also, note cold batteries cannot accept as much energy or as quickly as warm batteries.  Therefore you may experience a reduction in the regenerative braking capability in your EV during that state. 

https://insideevs.com/features/342917/cold-weather-electric-car-tips-maximize-your-ev-for-winter/

https://www.chargepoint.com/blog/5-tips-ev-driving-cold-weather/

https://www.greenenergyconsumers.org/drivegreen/winterdriving

 

Category: Driving an EV

Tesla Model 3

Range Anxiety

Written by Larry Thompson

(Updated March 2, 2020)

The short answer

Range anxiety is a term used to describe a concern the car will run out of battery capacity before reaching a charging station.  The term was prevalent in earlier days when BEV driving range was limited and charging stations were few and far between.

Most new BEV’s have a driving range in excess of 220 miles which is generally sufficient for daily driving and the BEV will usually provide visual and audible warnings as the battery capacity becomes low. The longest range BEV currently available, the 2020 Tesla Model S, has a range of 390 miles. There are several vehicles expected to be available in the near term that will be 300+ miles.

PHEV’s are not subject to range anxiety as they have an internal combustion engine that can power the car separately from the battery system.

Upon acquiring an EV, you will quickly learn several tips for maximizing range. These include pre-conditioning the car while it is still plugged-in and using the heated seats instead of the cabin heating if it is not inordinately cold.

Learn more

According to the US Department of Energy* there are approximately 366 public charging stations with 937 outlets in Connecticut.  Tesla reports** a total of 18 Supercharger stations with 124 outlets and 7 additional stations planned.  

Some BEV navigation systems can automatically plot a route to the nearest charging station when the battery capacity gets low.

Most EV’s have a portable charging cable that can be plugged into a 120 volt outlet, although the charge rates for 120 volt systems are slow, generally around 3-5 miles of charge per hour.

*afdc.energy.goc/stations/states

**www.tesla.com/findus/list/superchargers/UnitedStates

 

Category: Driving an EV
Updated March 5, 2020

How far can I drive an EV?

Written by Larry Thompson

The short answer

Most EV’s today have a driving range between 120 and 370 miles per charge.  Given the average drive of 40 miles per day even EV’s at the lower end of the driving range should be suitable for daily driving assuming the car can be charged each day or two.

For trips longer than the EV’s estimated driving range owners will want to plan to stop at a charging station in route to their destination. (see the How Do I Charge my EV When Travelling? question).

Learn more

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)

It’s important to remember that the manufactures driving range estimate is based on a set of predefined conditions that may or may not reflect your actual driving conditions.  Factors that typically reduce driving range are 1) driving speed, 2) repeated and aggressive acceleration, 3) ambient temperature, 4) using the cabin heater or seat warmers and 4) towing trailers or other cars.  

EV batteries operate and charge most efficiently when the battery and ambient temperatures are about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.   Driving in ambient temperatures in the mid to low 30-degree range can reduce driving by up to 20-25%. Using the cabin heater will significantly reduce range, although seat warmers used in place of or in conjunction with the cabin heater is a more energy-efficient to stay warm in colder conditions.

EV batteries also charge faster in moderate ambient temperatures as the battery needs to be in a prescribed temperature range before optimal charging speeds can be obtained.  Some EV’s automatically warm the battery when the EV’s navigation system is plotting a route to a charging station. See the “Will I lose driving range in the winter?” question for more range issues in Winter driving conditions.

Most EV’s have high efficiency LED headlights which do not noticeably reduce driving range.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)

The above applies to battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Plug-in hybrids, which have a smaller battery pack along with a gas tank, do not have this constraint. Once the battery is depleted, the vehicle will automatically switch over to the gasoline engine. These vehicles do not all work in the same way. To conserve battery, some of these vehicles will engage the engine going up a steep hill or at high speeds even if there is charge remaining.

 

Category: Driving an EV

Events

Yes, we do! Come visit us, or better yet if you are an EV owner, join us in exhibiting you EV and talk to attendees about the drive electric lifestyle. See upcoming showcases on our events page. Contact us if you’d like an EV showcase at your event.

Category: Events

Membership

Currently, there are no fees to join the club. Nor is it a requirement to own an EV. Many people have joined who are looking to buy an EV and who are interested in speaking to EV owners. All are welcome!

Category: Membership

We meet once monthly and schedule the next meeting as we conclude the meeting. Upcoming meeting dates are posted on the home page. Look at the tile on the right side of the page below the main photo.

Category: Membership

Tesla

(Most recent update – May 10, 2020)

It is much harder to buy a Tesla if you live in CT than in most of the country.

If you live in CT and want to buy a Tesla, it is more of a challenge because Tesla is not legally permitted to open stores in the state. CT shares this dubious honor with only 5 other states: Michigan, Louisiana, Utah, West Virginia, and Texas.

Dealership Franchise Laws

The reason for this state of affairs is what is known as the dealer franchise laws, all of them written many years ago.

When the legacy automobile companies wanted to expand their businesses, the method of choice was to have independent businesses retail and service their vehicles. These business people had a concern that should they succeed in building a market locally, that the manufacturer with whom they had affiliated, would open stores themselves and put them out of business. In other words, these franchise laws came about to protect dealerships from their affiliated manufacturers.

The legacy auto companies have yet to get serious traction with their EVs. Tesla outsells all other EVs combined. There are several reasons for this, two of which are that many dealers don’t want to sell them, and many manufacturers have not made a serious effort to market them. The Sierra Club, in its recent EV Shopper Study, found that 74% of auto dealers nationally did not have a single EV on their lot. The EV Club of CT was asked by the Sierra Club to do dealership visits in CT. These people reported that the 74% figure understates the true nature of the problem. In many cases, even if the dealership had EVs on the lot, the salesperson would try to switch pitch them to an ICE vehicle or was simply not well-informed.

Tesla’s business model is to sell directly to consumers. They own their own stores and service centers. The franchise laws state that a seller has to be an independent business and so the dealership lobby has essentially used them for protectionism.

Service Center

Tesla has been permitted to open a single service center in CT, located in Milford. They have augmented the single location with mobile servicing units (i.e. the technician comes to you) and the fact that some issues can be solved with software updates, and those are pushed wirelessly. Added to that is that EVs need far less servicing than ICE vehicles and having only a single service center and no stores have not prevented Tesla from being the most widely registered EV marque in the state.

Leasing

When the franchise laws were written, nobody leased cars, and so those laws don’t specifically address leasing. Tesla has obtained a leasing license in CT. This is a fairly recent development (December 2019). It was hung up for a while due to the politics, but it is in force and the company is leasing vehicles from its service facility in Milford. Test drives are permitted.

Showrooms

Some readers may remember that there used to be a Tesla showroom in Greenwich, CT. Tesla has been allowed in some places to open showrooms where prospective customers can look at the vehicles and ask questions about them. They have been permitted to do this in Texas, another state where sales are prohibited. Even where Tesla is permitted to open stores, the number has been capped (political compromise), and showrooms expand their reach somewhat. The Tesla employees at these showrooms are not allowed to discuss price, help a customer configure a vehicle online, or offer test drives. Ridiculous, right?

The dealers in CT sued Tesla, saying there were activities at the showroom that crossed the proverbial line. Tesla ended up closing the location down.

Beyond Tesla

Tesla has been the only manufacturer to go the direct sales route to this point. But that won’t be the case in fairly short order. Rivian, the startup electric truck maker (partly owned by Ford), has announced its intention to sell direct. Others are on the 2-3 year horizon.  And direct sale/lease is not the only new flavor coming online. There are pilots underway for subscription services, for both EVs and ICE, such as Borrow (EVs), Access (BMW), Hertz MyCar, and others. As you can see, some are owned by OEMs and others by third parties. The point is that the world is changing. EVs are part of that, but technology writ large is the major reason.

Buying a Tesla

Tesla has been fortunate in that it has very high customer satisfaction. Many test drives are of the informal variety, where an owner lets a friend take it for a spin. For people interested in buying a Tesla, they need to configure the car online or visit an out-of-state store. The nearest stores to CT are in Mt. Kisco, NY, and Warwick, RI. There are also occasional ride and drive events in the state in which Tesla participates. Nothing like that is happening at the moment due to the social distancing measures in place. The next National Drive Electric Week, which has many events around the state, is scheduled for September 26 – October 4, 2020.

Tesla also offers a return policy. If you are unhappy with your vehicle, it can be returned within 7 calendar days. Some conditions, for example, it must have under 1,000 miles, apply.

The EV Club has many Tesla owners and anyone who may be interested is encouraged to reach out to us via the contact form on this website for further information.

What Else You Can Do

Even with a service center and an enthusiastic clientele, the lack of stores still adds friction to the purchase process. Tesla has advised us that sales are higher in areas where they have stores. You can help! Write, email, or call your elected state senator and representative to tell them you support direct sales for Tesla and other EV manufacturers. The only way to counter a well-funded and organized dealer lobby is with voters making their voices heard. If you do not know who your representatives are, you can locate them by going to https://www.cga.ct.gov/. Click on Representation (located at the top left side of the home page) and click on “Find Your Legislator”. Enter your town, street name, and street number and click to see a list of names. Click on the name and you will get to their individual web page.

 

 

Category: Tesla

Types of EVs

How many EV’s are in Connecticut?

Written by Larry Thompson

The short answer

According to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles as of January 1, 2020, there were 11,677 registered plug-in motor vehicles in Connecticut. You can see the detailed breakdown of make, model, fuel type, and location on our EV Dashboard.

Learn more

Connecticut’s transportation sector is the largest source of statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, responsible for 38 percent in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available.

In October of 2019, the Connecticut Department of ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION released a draft report titled “Electric Vehicle Roadmap for Connecticut” which has a goal of 500,000 EV’s in Connecticut by 2030.   The 500,000-vehicle target is needed to meet Connecticut’s 2030 GHG reduction target.

You can find the report here:

https://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/climatechange/transportation/ev_roadmap_10_10_19_final_draft.pdf

 

Category: Types of EVs

What’s the difference between a BEV, PHEV, and FCEV?

Written by Larry Thompson

The short answer

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) rely solely on a battery to power the car.  Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) have both batteries and an internal combustion engine (ICE) that work together or separately to power the car.  Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) produce power from a hydrogen fuel cell in the car. Fuel cells emit pure water but no greenhouse gases (GHG) but have limited availability.

Learn more

BEV’s produce no harmful tailpipe emissions and are simpler to manufacture and maintain.  They are quieter to drive but their driving range between charging is limited to the battery capacity and certain other constraints such as driving speed and ambient temperature.

PHEVs have a limited driving range from the battery (e.g. usually less than 50 miles) but also have an internal combustion engine which can be refueled like any other internal combustion engine car.  PHEVs, however, have the complexity of both the internal combustion engine and BEV battery systems and emit more emissions than BEVs.

There is another type of electric vehicle referred to as a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) which relies on a fuel cell in the car to generate sufficient electricity to power the car.  FCEVs are relatively rare and limited to areas that have hydrogen fueling stations, most notably in California. Current FCEV manufactures include Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai with an estimated 3 vehicles registered in Connecticut.

 

Category: Types of EVs

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