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4 things to know before you buy an electric vehicle

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

1. The price to install a 240v charger is falling

Anybody who owns an electric vehicle needs a 240-volt charger at home. With one, you can recharge overnight, so you start every day with the equivalent of a full tank.

You can charge an EV from a standard 120-volt outlet, but it takes too long.

For instance, a 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV that can go 250 miles on a full charge would need 62 hours at 120v, just seven hours at 240.

Without a 240v charger, you can’t realistically expect an EV to be your primary vehicle for daily use.

Just a few years ago, home 240v EV chargers cost $2,500-$3,000, including installation, but prices have plummeted as competition grows with the number of EVs on the road.

 

These days, Amazon prices for the cord to connect your vehicle to the outlet start under $200, though you’ll probably want one with a few bells and whistles, like Wi-Fi and a long cable.

Wiring a house to add a 240v outlet for EV charging generally runs $500-$1,000, according to Family Heating, Cooling & Electrical, which has three metro Detroit locations.

Incidentally, auto engineers generally call vehicles that get 100% of their power from electricity BEVs. That’s short for battery-electric vehicle. It distinguishes pure EVs like the vehicles we’re talking about from various types of hybrids.

People who have plug-in hybrids may be able to get away with a 120v charger because they have smaller batteries than BEVs. Even those vehicles, called PHEVs because they have a gasoline engine and just enough battery for short trips, benefit from quicker charging at a 240v charger, though.

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