You’re ready to jump aboard the EV train, giddily googling “EVs for sale near me” to learn more about your options to adopt an all-electric lifestyle. Fortunately, that search brought you to the right place: the team of EV experts at Future Ford of Sacramento. But what does this all-electric lifestyle mean for customers like you?
As your EV destination, we promise an expansive lineup of electric cars, trucks, and SUVs. However, we know there’s more to shopping for an EV than having plenty of models to choose from in one convenient location. Customers want more information about all-electric vehicles, from their performance on the road to recharging conveniences. Future Ford of Sacramento is here to answer those questions, equipping you with the necessary knowledge to make an informed purchase. Today, that knowledge starts at home with what you can expect when recharging your EV from the convenience of your garage or driveway.
Plug It In: Know Your Charging Options
Electric vehicles don’t rely on an internal combustion engine for power, so you don’t have to stop for fuel or refill the tank. Instead, your EV needs to be plugged in to recharge its battery. On the road, you can recharge using Level 2 or DC Fast Charging stations. At home, recharging is done with a Level 1 or Level 2 charger. So, what’s the difference?
Level 1 Charging
Your house is filled with Level 1 charging options—or 120-volt outlets. You use these standard outlets to power your coffeemaker, toaster, television, etcetera, and to recharge your tablets and smartphones. Level 1 charging is convenient because you already have access to the outlet and don’t need to make any modifications to your home. Essentially, all you need is an outlet and a cable long enough to reach your vehicle.
Accessibility makes Level 1 charging convenient, but it’s not the most efficient way to recharge an EV. For example, Level 1 charging is merely a trickle, adding around three miles to your battery’s range every hour. As a result, it can take a few days to completely recharge a depleted battery. The caveat is that EV manufacturers don’t recommend repeatedly draining and fully recharging the battery. So, if your commute is relatively short and you travel around 30 miles each day, you can easily get by with a Level 1 charger, knowing you have access to public Level 2 and DC Fast Charging stations.
Level 2 Charging
A few places in your home already rely on a Level 2 charger: the laundry room and the kitchen. Most refrigerators and dryers need a 240-outlet to operate safely, which is the equivalent of a Level 2 charger. These outlets produce more power, making them faster and far more efficient when recharging your EV’s battery. As a result, a Level 2 home charger can recharge your EV’s battery overnight or in as little as seven hours.
The downside is that most EV drivers have to install a Level 2 charger at home to improve accessibility and convenience. While this installation can be expensive, averaging anywhere from $1,500 to north of $10,000 based on the complexities of the job and the age of your home, many automakers mitigate those expenses by including home installation with the purchase of a new EV. You can also benefit from other federal, state, and local incentives that reduce the costs of these installations.
Installing a Home Charging Station: Is the Investment Worthwhile?
Finding the perfect EV for your needs is your top priority, but considering the benefits of a home charging station should be your next step. Many customers look at the installation costs and wonder if a Level 2 charging station at home is genuinely worth it. Fortunately, we’re here to help you make the best decision by giving you more insight and factors to consider.
How many miles do you travel in a typical day? If your commute is short and you log around 30 miles daily between driving to and from work and running errands, a Level 2 charger may not be an immediate must-have. You can generally get by with a Level 1 charger in these situations. Some EV owners use Level 1 charging at home but work near Level 2 public charging stations that make it easy to recharge while they’re at the office. You can also recharge at a public station while shopping for groceries or grabbing dinner with friends.
Let’s say the alternative is true: your commute is longer, or you travel frequently. A Level 2 home charger is a must-have because it’s readily accessible, more efficient, and has less of an impact on your wallet because you’re not paying a premium at a public charging station. You can plug in your EV overnight and know it will be ready to go in the morning.
Initial Investment and Efficiency
One of the major factors in buying an EV is the cost of having a home charger installed. Home charging stations can cost anywhere north of $1,500, with the expense related to the electrician’s labor cost, materials, and the job’s complexity. For example, older homes typically can’t support a Level 2 charger, increasing the installation cost because the electrician must make it compatible. There’s also the cost of local permits to complete the installation.
Many automakers mitigate these expenses by including home charging installation with every purchase of a new EV. Other incentives can also reduce your expenses. Because of this, a Level 2 charger is even more worthwhile because your investment is minimal, and you reap the benefits of a more efficient way to recharge your EV.
The Impact on Your Electric Bill
After years of driving gas-powered vehicles, we generally know how much to expect when we stop for fuel. Automakers make it easy by showing us the average fuel economy in terms of miles per gallon, which tells us how far we can expect to travel on a full tank. So how can you compare the expense of fuel to the impact an EV will have on your electric bill at home?
Think of an EV’s battery as its fuel tank, which tells you how much power is available. For example, the 2023 Ford Lightning has a standard 98-kWh battery or an extended-range 131-kWh battery. The size of the battery tells us how much power is available. Once you know the size of the battery and the cost of electricity per kWh in your area, you can estimate how much it will cost to recharge your EV. For example, the 2023 Lightning with a 98-kWh battery multiplied by $0.15 (the national average of electricity per kWh) shows that you can recharge the depleted battery for around $15, a far more affordable figure than filling the fuel tank and one that can potentially be more affordable if you recharge during off-peak hours.
Other Considerations as You Shop
As you shop for an EV, consider its positive impact on your life by reducing your carbon footprint, saving you money on fuel, and adding a new level of convenience to your daily routine. Recharging an EV is as straightforward as plugging in your smartphone; this makes it easy and appealing to adopt an all-electric lifestyle. But what else should you consider as you shop for the perfect EV at Future Ford?
Look at your charging options and what comes standard with the model. Is the charging cable long enough to heighten convenience? Do you have Wi-Fi access to the charging station, which lets you take advantage of off-peak hours to reduce recharging costs? What are your other charging alternatives when you aren’t at home? As you answer these questions, know Future Ford of Sacramento is always here to help, especially when it means helping you drive into an all-electric future that keeps more money in your wallet.