REC purchased its first all-electric car, the Chevy Bolt, in 2017. The Bolt, when fully charged and under optimal conditions, can travel 240 miles before charging.
REC purchased the car as a learning tool to help REC and our members learn more about driving and charging electric vehicles.
Electric Vehicle Charging
Three charging levels are available: Level I, Level II, and Level III.
Level I works with a standard 120 Volt outlet
Electric Vehicles typically come with a charging cord - one end looks like a typical three-prong cord, and the other side plugs directly into the vehicle. This Level I charge, also called the “trickle charge,” takes the longest time to charge a vehicle, approximately 2-5 miles of range per hour of charging. It uses 12-16 amps and 1.3-1.9 kwh of electricity per hour while charging.
Level II uses a higher amperage and voltage
than Level I, and are able to charge vehicles faster. On average, it can take about four hours to fully charge the vehicle but is dependent on the size of the car's battery and the specific charging equipment purchased. Level II requires hard-wired charging equipment and cannot be plugged into a standard outlet. It uses up to 80 amps, and 208-240 of voltage. Many of these units operate at up to 30 amperes, delivering 7.2 kWh of electricity per hour while charging. These units require a dedicated 40 amp circuit.
Level III charging, or DC Fast Charging
uses direct current and faster than Level I and Level II. Typically a vehicle can be fully charged in 20 minutes due to electrical demand. This type of charger is typically only available at public charging stations.
Public Charging Stations
Many electric vehicles, including the Chevy Bolt, include a console with a map of public charging stations and “miles to empty” so the driver can plan accordingly where and when to charge the car.
There are many public charging stations available for purchase. Popular brands include ChargePoint, Clipper Creek, and AeroVironment. In order to use a public charging station, drivers either download the company’s smartphone app or scan a plastic card at to use the charging station.
There are over 395 charging stations and 984 charging outlets in Virginia. To find a local public charging station, visit the Department of Energy’s website here.
The Cost of Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles have become more popular in recent years due to declining prices for electric vehicles, longer driving distances on a single charge, increasing availability of public charging stations, and the Federal Tax Incentive of $7,200.
Visit the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Cost Calculator to compare the cost of ownership of electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and standard internal combustion engine vehicles using their online calculator tool.