While they aren’t quite dominating the automotive market just yet, electric vehicles are definitely seeing a rise in popularity. More and more consumers are embracing the vehicles as a stylish and more environmentally friendly way to get around, and charging stations are starting to appear in places such as hotels, rest stops and even shopping centers. There’s definitely a market for electric cars out there, and it’s growing.
If you’ve considered an electric vehicle before, you should stop and ask yourself if you’re actually ready for one. This isn’t a trick question or a suggestion that electric cars are somehow superior; it’s a legitimate question that you’ve probably never given a thought to. Electric vehicles need to be plugged in and charged somewhere, so you need to figure out whether your house is actually ready for an electric car.
A lot of garages have electrical outlets in them, but not all of them do. Even for those that do, they aren’t always conveniently located for plugging in an electric vehicle. Either way, this can be a big problem when it comes time to recharge your car. Without convenient outlets you will have to get creative while charging, and an electric vehicle isn’t exactly something you want to risk running a questionable extension cord to. When trying to determine if your home’s ready for an electric car, this is one of the big points that you need to consider. If you don’t have an outlet where you need one and aren’t willing to try some more creative parking options to get to the closest plugs, you may need to wire and install an entirely new outlet.
Can You Handle the Draw?
Electric cars pull a decent amount of electrical current while they charge. This isn’t a major problem in many modern homes but depending on what else is on a circuit with the vehicle, you may end up tripping a breaker or blowing a fuse. In some cases, the added draw of the electric vehicle may actually push you into using more electricity overall than your main panel was designed to handle. If you live in an older house, you could wind up facing a lot of hassle with your electricity if you get an electric car. Depending on how bad the problem is, you may even need to get some wiring reworked or have a new service panel installed to handle the increased electrical requirements.
Charging Station Issues
While the points made thus far have dealt with basic charging options that plug into a standard electrical outlet, home charging stations are also an option. These stations recharge electrical vehicles much faster than chargers that plug into an outlet, though they also have to be installed before you can use them. Depending on where you live, there may be laws or ordinances restricting who can install an electrical vehicle charging station and where they can be installed. Permits and inspections may also be required, all of which will cost money in addition to the cost of the charging station itself and professional installation.
An Alternative Consideration
To reduce or eliminate the cost of recharging an electric car, some owners choose to install solar panels that provide power to a dedicated charging station. This can be a great option, as it eliminates long-term costs while also providing a greener method for keeping your car charged. Unfortunately, there may be restrictions or other ordinances surrounding the installation of solar panels, as well. Solar panels also often have a high up-front cost, though depending on the size of the panel you choose you may be able to keep this down.