How you charge your electric vehicle will depend on which type of vehicle you have. There are many battery powered vehicles that can be confused with electric vehicles, or often the terms are used interchangeably. What's the difference between a Hybrid, PHEV and EV Vehicle? A battery powered vehicle is any vehicle that uses a battery to store power and that power is used to operate all or part of the vehicle's functions. An electric vehicle relies solely on battery power and does not use fuel.
Charging a hybrid vehicle
Hybrid vehicles have a regular gasoline engine and an electric motor. Though a hybrid vehicle is 100% gas fueled, the engine stores power into a battery. During braking, the energy that is created is stored in the battery for use in various functions including reducing fuel consumption. Essentially, the battery in a hybrid vehicle charges itself as you brake during driving.
Charging a plug-in hybrid vehicle
A plug-in hybrid vehicle (or PHEV) has a much larger battery than a traditional hybrid. A PHEV only uses its fuel when the battery is low, so you will get the maximum efficiency by keeping your battery fully charged. While a PHEV does use regenerative braking as well, its battery has much more storage capacity and requires external charging.
External charging requires a 240V outlet. These can be installed in your home or found in various public charging stations. There are more charging stations, similar to the traditional gas station, popping up these days, but they are also much more flexible in that a charging station can often be available in places you frequent such as malls, parking garages, apartment/condo building parking areas, public rest stops, office buildings and much more.
Charging a fully electric vehicle
An electric vehicle (EV) has a battery and an electric motor that are powerful enough to deliver adequate range and performance without requiring an engine. Electric vehicles do not use fuel at all and need to be plugged into an external charging station to regenerate their power.
EV charging stations for your home cannot be installed for everyone. Some homes have old electrical that cannot handle the upgrade. And if you live in a home that is not yours or that cannot be equipped with a charging station, you'll need to access a public charging station.
Charging an electric vehicle includes Level 2 & 3 charging options. Many stations you'll find in public areas, malls, etc., will offer Level 2 charging which is great for a top off, but often runs too slow to be done quickly enough for a full charge. Level 2 charging will work well at your home or work though since you are there for long enough to get a full charge.
Level 3 charging, which is also called DC fast charging, is the quickest way to charge your EV. It can bring an EV battery up to 80% of its capacity in just 30 minutes!
One thing to be aware of though is that some Level 3 chargers use different connecting port configurations than others. You may need to use an adaptor to tap into a given unit, and sometimes you may not be able to use it at all. It's always best to check ahead before longer trips to ensure there are adequate charging stations along your route and that they offer the charging options you need.
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