Charging

Charging

Charging your EV at home and on-the-go is easy.

Most EV drivers charge at home, which we’ll show you how to set up. For travelers and people who live in multi-unit housing, public charging is available – more than many people think -- and more are being built all the time! No matter how you charge, it’s never been a better time to drive an EV!

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Range and charging speed

There are five things you should know about range and charging: three that impact how far you can go in your electric vehicle (EV) and two that impact how quickly you can charge.

What impacts how far I can go?

  • The battery: EV battery size is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The more kWh capacity your car’s battery has, the farther you can go between charges.
  • The EV's efficiency: Different EV models drive a different number of miles for every kWh of battery capacity. The vehicle’s battery size and efficiency together determine its range, along with driving conditions.
  • The weather: The temperature and weather conditions will impact your EV's range (the colder it gets, the shorter the range), but EVs can handle whatever a New England winter can throw at them. The rating on miles per charge is a good number for a year-round basis. Most of the year, you will get more than the rating. Learn more on our blogpost: It's Cold Outside. What about EVs?

What impacts how fast I can charge?

  • The onboard charger: Your car will have an onboard charger. Its capacity, measured in kilowatts (kW), affects your charging speed. The more kW, the faster the charge!
  • The charging level: There are three levels of EV charging. In increasing level of speed, they are: Level I, Level II, and DC Fast Charging.

Charging levels

There are three levels of charging available for EVs today: Level I, Level II, and DC Fast Charging.

Level I

Level I charging simply requires a 110 volt outlet. All electric vehicles come equipped with a cord that you can plug into a common outlet. A Level I charge uses the J1772 charging port and will typically add 2 to 6 miles of range for every hour spent charging (the actual speed depends upon the capacity of the charger built into your EV).

Level II

Level II charging requires a 240 volt outlet. You can purchase a Level II unit online and install it in your home with the help of a licensed electrician. There are also many publicly available Level II units. A Level II charge uses the J1772 charging port and will typically add 10 to 25 miles of range for every hour spent charging (the actual speed depends upon the capacity of the charger built into your EV).

DC Fast Charging

DC (Direct Current) Fast Charging is the fastest charging available for passenger cars (other than Tesla). It is increasingly available along major highways and intended for longer trips. American and European manufacturers use the J1772 combo (otherwise known as CCS DCFC or SAE Combo) and Asian manufacturers use the CHAdeMO. Not all DC Fast Charging stations will have plugs for each type of charging port. As a result, you must make sure the DC Fast Charging station you visit has the correct plug to match up with the charging port on your vehicle.

Here's a summary of the important things to know about each charging level.

  Level I Level II DC Fast Charging
Voltage 120 240 208/480 three-phase input
Charging speed ~2-6 miles/hr* ~10-25 miles/hr* 60-90 miles/30 min*
Charging port J1772 J1772 J1772 combo (also known as CCS DCFC or SAE Combo) or CHAdeMO
Can I install one in my home? You don’t need to! Just use a normal 120V outlet and the charging cord that comes with your EV. Yes (may require adding a 240 volt line if your home does not already have one) No
Are there units publicly available? Yes (See Charging on the go.) Yes (See Charging on the go.) Yes (See Charging on the go.)
Is an additional charging port required on the vehicle? No No Yes (standard on some vehicles, additional package on others )
*Depending on your onboard charger capacity, battery size, and current battery charge level.

Charging equipment

The charger: The charger is built into the electric vehicle. The charging port accepts electricity from an outside source and stores it in the vehicle's battery. There are different types of charging ports, which becomes very important when we talk about DC Fast Charging. Here are four of the more common options:

J1772 charge port

J1772 charge port

Built into all non-Tesla electric vehicles, suitable for Level I or Level II charging. All EVs come with a cord that plugs into the J1772 port in the vehicle on one end and a 110V outlet on the other end.

J1772 combo

J1772 combo

Built into American and European EVs (like the Chevrolet Bolt, Chevrolet Volt, BMW i3, etc.) for DC Fast Charging. The J1772 combo is also known as the CCS DCFC or SAE Combo.

CHAdeMO

CHAdeMO

Built into Asian EVs (like the Nissan LEAF or Toyota Prius Prime) for DC Fast Charging.

Tesla

Tesla

Teslas have a unique charge ports and connectors that matches Tesla’s proprietary charging network.

Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE)

The EVSE is the machine with the cord that you plug into your onboard charger. The plug on the EVSE must match up with the charging port on the vehicle. All vehicles come equipped with a cord that will plug into a normal wall outlet for a "trickle charge". More on this below!

Bolt charging garage

You can install EVSE in your garage and plug in as soon as you get home.

Bolt charging outside

You can also install EVSE on an exterior wall to charge outside.

Charging at home

LEAF charging garage

Level I Charging
Use a normal outlet

2-6 miles of range per hour*

Generally, EV drivers charge their vehicle at home. For most people, this is very easy. The EVs in our program come with a charging unit that you can plug into a 120 volt outlet (common in every home). Hopefully, you have such an outdoor outlet in your garage or on the side of your house next to the driveway.

Together, your 120 volt outlet and the car’s standard charging unit will make your home a “Level I Charging Station.”

Level II Charging

Level II Charging
Install a charging unit

10-25 miles of range per hour*

We recommend that you consider purchasing a 240 volt charging unit if you would like to speed up the charging rate at your home and if you already have a 240 volt service (or it can be added at low cost). They are installed by licensed electricians and they cost a few hundred dollars plus the cost of installation. However, many drivers are satisfied with Level I (110 volt) service. It all depends on how depleted your car's battery will be when you plug it in for a re-charge and how much time you have for recharging.

If you're ready to install a Level II charging unit and are looking for a local electrician, we can help! We have been building a network of licensed and insured electricians with experience installing EV charging units.

Check out electricians in your area here!
* Depending on your onboard charger capacity, battery size, and current battery charge level

 

Here are three resources that can help get you started on the process of installing a home charger.

Charging on the go

Public Level I and Level II Charging

Public Level I and Level II Charging

When you are away from home, you can access an increasing number of public charging stations. It’s easy to find these stations with cell phone apps and some new EVs come with these apps right on the dashboard display.

Plus, there are several websites to help you find charging stations near your home or workplace:

You can also ask your employer about workplace charging and encourage them to take advantage of federal and Massachusetts state incentives and programs.

Public DC Fast Charging

Public DC Fast Charging

60-90 miles per 30 min*

This charging option is capable of adding significant range to an EV in not much longer than the time it takes to fill a gas tank.

Most modern EVs can be equipped with DC quick charge capability via an additional charging port on your onboard charger. Some come with a DC Fast Charging port automatically and some require you to purchase a special package.

Find a DC Fast Charging unit near you. Remember, DC Fast Charging stations have different plugs. Make sure the station you're visiting corresponds to your car. Learn more here.

We know drivers are concerned about where EVs can charge other than at home. Massachusetts & Rhode Island has more public stations than most people realize. And more are getting built all the time. Here’s a snapshot of what’s available today, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Loading alternative fueling station locator...

There are more apps and websites that can help you find a public charging station near you. Check the box above to see our list of recommended sources. It's easy to charge when you're on the go!

Nissan LEAF owners

You can use Nissan's "No Charge to Charge" program. Qualified Nissan LEAF owners will get an EZ-Charge card, granting them two years of unlimited 30-minute complimentary DC Fast Charges and 60-minute Level II charges at participating "No Charge to Charge" stations.

Check it out

BMW EV owners

You can use ChargeNow, BMW's official home for public charging information, access, and promotions for BMW EVs.

Check it out

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