Like many new EV owners, I began very concerned about charging. Where I used to have a car with a 300 mile range and 1 minute zero to full charging, I now own a car with a 80’ish mile range and a variable charging time.
I rent an apartment in southern California, which prohibits me from realizing the long term benefits of running electrical and installing equipment. Charging on purely level one sort of puts me at odds with the recommendations of EV manufacturers who tout level one (trickle) charging as an interim or emergency charger until you can get a level two installed.
What I found however is in 98% or so situations I had no problem with using JUST a trickle charger. The statistic that frightens most potential/current EV owners in the U.S. is the 20 odd hours it takes to get from empty to full. “A full DAY to charge!?” they say. The reality for me however was that during my 38 mile round trip commute I tend to expend somewhere between 42 and 50% of my charge (Please note that this effectively could be done twice without charging given a new and charged battery). Using that higher 50% number, it would take a full 10 hours to fill the batteries. Seeing as how I sleep for eight hours, and like to spend an hour at home (at least) prior to sleeping that at (general) worst leaves me losing about 5% battery at night using the slowest charging method. Add to this my morning routine which takes up about an hour this puts me back to 100% charge. The other 2% of situations have me doing things like coming home to then want to run out again and drive for 50 miles, which I’m prevented from doing with JUST my home trickle charge setup. For situations like this I’m lucky enough to find myself working at a building who has level two chargers on site. I simply charge during the last two hours of my workday, and I’m off on around 100% charge. I eventually plan to get one of these miracles when I own my own house so I can make 1.5% of the remaining 2% of trips I’d like to make (the 0.5% being road trips), but the trickle charge does me fine in the interim.
The next question I had was about power costs. Power bills do tend to vary seasonally, but I do have are mine from Aug-Sept (no EV) and Oct-Nov (EV), both months where we did not run a/c or heat. In the earlier non-ev bill, we used 221kWh which totaled $33.86. In the EV owning month we used 455 kWh of energy totaling $92.63, an increase of about $58. Our usage about doubled, and our bill about tripled due to the higher rate tier the extra use put us into.
There are some options our local electricity provider offers, namely to either install a separate meter billed at a separate rate, or switch to time of use billing. Since I have a level 2 blink unit at work that charges me $1 hour, I’ve chosen to just charge at work daily. The way I figure it, I get about 6 kWh for that dollar, putting it at about 16cents a kWh. Since my low tier electric rate is 15c, my second tier is 17c, and my third is 37c I believe this to be the lowest rate I can get. In addition to cost, it also affords me an interesting bit of range. Where I used to get home with -45% charge, I now arrive home with -22.5% charge, which extends where I can go after work. While I don’t need to generally count on extra charging overnight, I can now have a higher starting value need be (if I go for a longer drive after work). Plugging in at home was more convenient, but I like this setup better for now.
So there you have it, an apartment dwellers charging plan.