Guide to Charging Your Electric Vehicle - Dick Hannah Dealerships | Car Dealerships in Portland and Vancouver

Guide to Charging Your Electric Vehicle

For many drivers, the allure of electric vehicles (EVs) lies in the elimination of gas station visits and the liberation from fluctuating fuel prices. This not only helps the environment but for most drivers, it also saves them time and money. Since EV cars run on electricity, a crucial question arises: where can you charge your new eco-friendly vehicle? Unlike traditional fuel, the charging process can seem a little confusing and less straightforward. Our goal for this guide is to make clear how to best charge your EV. We will explore the process differences between EVs and gasoline-powered vehicles, costs, charging networks, connector types, and much more.

Feel free to jump around this guide as needed to specific sections.

4 Ways Charging Your EV is Different from Filling Up Your Car

Charging your EV is a little bit different from charging your cellphone. For one thing, Electric Vehicles require a lot more power than a phone. Most electric cars use somewhere between 30 and 50 kWh of electricity to travel 100 miles. Mileage is used as an increment to determine how far an EV can go on a single charge.

1) The Process of Charging Your EV

Charging an EV is different from filling up a traditional gas vehicle. EVs require more power to travel a certain distance, with most electric cars using between 30 and 50 kWh of electricity to travel 100 miles. There are four types of connectors and multiple charging levels, including level 1 (using a 120-volt plug), level 2 (using a 240-volt plug), and level 3 (fast charging stations). To charge your EV, you need to plug it in and start the charging process, which can take several hours depending on the charging level. Fast-charging networks and DC fast charging can speed up the charging process if available. The cost of charging an electric car can vary depending on where you choose to charge your car.

Here are some steps to follow for your first charge:

1. Locate a charging station: First, find a charging station suitable for your vehicle. This could be a Level 1, Level 2, or DC fast charging station, depending on your car’s compatibility and your charging needs. You can use smartphone apps, websites, or your vehicle’s built-in navigation system to locate nearby charging stations.
2. Prepare the vehicle: Park your EV close enough to the charging station so that the charging cable can reach your vehicle’s charging port. Make sure your vehicle is turned off.
3. Open the charging port: Locate your vehicle’s charging port, which is typically located near the front or rear side panels or behind a fuel door-like cover. Open the charging port cover by pressing a button on the key fob, using a release lever inside the vehicle, or simply pushing on the cover.
4. Choose the charging cable: Most public charging stations have a cable and connector attached to them. If you’re charging at home using a Level 1 or Level 2 charger, you’ll need to use the charging cable provided by the manufacturer or purchase an aftermarket charging cable that’s compatible with your vehicle.
5. Plug in the connector: Grab the charging connector and align it with your vehicle’s charging port. Gently insert the connector into the port until it clicks into place. Some connectors may require you to press a button or release mechanism on the handle while plugging in.
6. Initiate charging: Once the connector is plugged in, charging may start automatically, or you may need to follow additional steps depending on the charging station or your vehicle. For public charging stations, you may need to authorize the charging session using an RFID card, smartphone app, or credit card. For home charging, you may simply need to turn on the charging station.
7. Monitor charging progress: You can monitor the charging progress through your vehicle’s dashboard display, smartphone app, or the charging station’s display (if available). Charging times will vary depending on the charging level, your vehicle’s battery capacity, and the remaining range needed.
8. Unplug the connector: Once your EV has reached the desired state of charge, or when you’re ready to leave, ensure your vehicle is turned off. Press the release button or mechanism on the charging connector, and gently pull it out of your vehicle’s charging port.
9. Close the charging port: Replace the charging port cover and ensure it’s securely closed.
10. Return the charging cable: If you’re at a public charging station, return the charging cable to its designated holder. If you’re using your home charging equipment, safely store the charging cable to prevent damage or hazards.

By following these simple steps, you can easily charge your EV, monitor the progress, and safely unplug the connector once it’s fully charged. Remember to always check the compatibility of the charging station and connector before plugging in your EV and keep in mind that charging times and costs may vary depending on your vehicle and charging location.

2) Charge Time for Your EV

Depending on which charger you are using for your EV, the amount of charge time will vary. This will also vary by the model of your EV, as some brands such as Tesla offer faster-charging alternatives than what is available to wider EVs. The time it takes to charge your electric vehicle can be influenced by several factors such as:

1. Battery capacity: Larger batteries take more time to charge compared to smaller ones.
2. State of charge: If the battery is nearly empty, it will take longer to charge than if it’s partially charged.
3. Charging power: The higher the charging station’s power output (measured in kilowatts, kW), the faster the EV will charge.
4. Onboard charger: Each EV has an onboard charger with a maximum power limit. If the charging station’s power output exceeds that limit, the EV will charge at its maximum onboard charger rate.
5. Temperature: Weather can have a serious impact on the charge rate. Cold temperatures can slow down the charging process, while warm temperatures may speed it up.

There are also different charger types that output different charging levels. It is important to understand each one and how they will impact your charging. Just like with your cellphone, some chargers offer slower charging for your EVs but require less electrical output. Other chargers are designed for speed and convenience but use a significant amount of power.

Level 1 Charging – Slowest

Level 1 charging is the standard charging method that comes with every electric vehicle (EV). It operates at a low power output of 120 volts, making it the slowest form of charging. Level 1 charging is suitable for individuals who have short commutes or don’t need to travel long distances frequently. It is commonly used for overnight charging, providing approximately 3 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging.

Level 2 Charging – Fast

For EV owners who have a home charging station, Level 2 charging is the preferred method. It utilizes a higher-powered 240-volt outlet, delivering power at a faster rate compared to Level 1 charging. With Level 2 charging, you can expect to gain up to 25 miles of range per hour of charging. This type of charging station is also commonly found at public charging locations, offering convenience and faster charging times.

Level 3 Charging – Fastest

Also known as DC fast charging, Level 3 charging is the fastest charging option available for EVs. These charging stations can provide up to 200 miles of range with just a 30-minute charge. However, Level 3 chargers are typically only found in public charging spaces, making them ideal for charging while away from home or during longer journeys.

It’s important to note that not all EVs are compatible with all types of charging. To determine the charging options available for your specific vehicle, always refer to the vehicle’s manual or consult the manufacturer. Understanding the different charging levels and their capabilities will help you make informed decisions about when and where to charge your EV for optimal convenience and efficiency.

3) Electric Vehicles are better for the environment

One of the most compelling cases for driving an EV has to be its impact on the environment. They produce fewer emissions that contribute to climate change on our planet. According to Yale Climate Connections, electric cars already have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline vehicles, and the grid is getting cleaner all the time. Electric vehicles can be an effective way to reduce pollution from transportation and limit global warming.

An electric vehicle is far more efficient than a traditional gas vehicle at using its own energy. Regenerative braking technology allows the electric motor to slow down the car instead of using traditional brake disks.

Regenerative braking is more efficient than conventional braking because it does not waste energy as heat. Instead, the energy that is used to slow the vehicle down is stored in the battery. This can help to extend the range of an electric vehicle.

The amount of power produced by regenerative braking in EVs varies depending on the vehicle’s design and the driving conditions. In general, however, regenerative braking can recover up to 70% of the kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost during braking. This can translate into significant range gains, especially in city driving where braking is more frequent.

4) Price

For years it has been widely understood that electric vehicles allow you to save money because electricity is cheaper than gasoline. This is a huge selling point for EVs, but as with anything it varies depending on market pricing.

Prices differ depending on when and how you charge your EV. Charging your electric vehicle at home costs $3 to $8 per charge vs. $7 to $36 at public charging stations. Fast charging networks will cost the most, but will save you the most amount of time.

Utility companies offer rebates of up to 50% on purchase and installation of a level 2 home charging unit. In exchange, they can use data from your charger to help manage the power grid during peak and off hours. This helps offset the cost of installation and makes owning an EV that much more affordable.

Get to Know the Connectors

Electric vehicle charging connectors are an essential aspect of EV charging infrastructure. There are various types of connectors used in different regions of the world, which can make it confusing for EV owners. In this section, we will discuss four commonly used types of EV connectors and their features.


This is a fast charging connector that was developed by Japanese companies. It is commonly used in Asia and Europe and can provide up to 62.5 kW of power.

The CHAdeMO 2.0 specification is often found on rapid chargers and is supported by Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi. It can deliver up to 400kW of DC power to your vehicle. It has a unique “shark fin” shape and is compatible with most Japanese and Korean EV models.


CCS, or Combined Charging System, is a DC fast charging connector widely used in Europe and North America. It combines both AC and DC charging in a single connector and can deliver up to 350 kW of power. It is compatible with most European and American EV models.


Tesla uses a proprietary charging connector that is only compatible with Tesla vehicles. It is called the Tesla connector or Tesla plug and can deliver up to 250 kW of power.

L2 – J1772

The J1772 connector is a Level 2 charging connector used for charging at home or in public charging stations. It is commonly used in North America and has a power output of up to 19.2 kW. It is compatible with most EV models in North America and is often used for overnight charging.

EV Adapters

An EV adapter is a device that allows you to connect your electric vehicle to a charging station that has a different plug type than your vehicle.

For example, if your EV has a CHAdeMO plug and the charging station has a CCS plug, you can use an adapter to connect the two. The adapter works by converting the electrical signals from the charging station into a format that is compatible with your vehicle’s charging system.

While there is some loss in energy when using an adapter, it is usually quite small, with only around 5% loss in charge.

EV Charging Terms Explained

Understanding common EV charging terms is essential for every EV owner to ensure they can safely and efficiently charge their vehicle. Here are some terms you should be familiar with:

Volts (V): A unit of measurement for electrical potential difference. In EV charging, it refers to the amount of electrical force that drives the flow of electricity from the charger to the vehicle. This is like water pressure in a hose, the more pressure you have, the faster that water will flow. This higher your voltage, the quicker the charge.

Amps (A): A unit of measurement for electric current, which is the flow of electricity through a conductor. In EV charging, it refers to the amount of electrical current flowing from the charger to the vehicle. Using the hose analogy again, amps are similar to the width of a hose. The wider the hose is, the more water that can flow from it. In the same vein, the more amps you have, the more quickly your battery will charge with electricty.

Power (W): A unit of measurement for electrical energy transfer rate, which is the amount of energy transferred over time. In EV charging, it refers to the rate at which electrical energy is transferred from the charger to the vehicle, measured in kilowatts (kW). This is like the speed at which water flows through a hose. The more power you have, the more the faster the charge time.

Energy (kWh): A unit of measurement for electrical energy consumption, which is the amount of energy used over time. In EV charging, it refers to the total amount of electrical energy consumed by the vehicle during charging, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This is like the amount of water that has flowed through a hose over a period of time into a bucket. The higher the energy transferred, the more fully charged your EV’s battery will be.

State of Charge (SOC): A measure of the battery’s current charge level, expressed as a percentage of its total capacity. In EV charging, it refers to the current charge level of the vehicle’s battery and is often displayed on the vehicle’s dashboard or charging station display. This is most similar to a fuel guage on a gas-powered vehicle. The higher your SOC, the more charged your battery is.

Understanding these terms can help you better understand your EV’s charging capabilities and make informed decisions about where and when to charge your vehicle.

EV Charging Ettiqutte

Electric Vehicle charging etiquette is the set of guidelines drivers of EVs should follow when charging their vehicles. It is important to be mindful of the charging environment, whether it be at the workplace, in public, or at home.

Work Place Charging: At the workplace, EV drivers should be mindful of their coworkers and the workplace environment. For example, you should always respect the charging station, not monopolize it, and make sure not to block access to the station for other drivers. It is also important to be aware of any workplace policies or guidelines for EV charging.

Public Charging: When charging in public, EV drivers should be aware of their surroundings and respect other drivers. They should always use the designated charging station and not block access to it for other drivers. Additionally, drivers should be mindful of their charging habits, such as not leaving their car plugged in for longer than necessary.

Home Charging: Finally, when charging at home, you should make sure they are using the proper EV charging station. Additionally, you should be aware of any local regulations or guidelines for EV charging your area.

Overall, EV charging etiquette is about being mindful of the environment and respecting other drivers. By following these guidelines, EV drivers can ensure a safe and respectful charging experience for everyone.

In Conclusion

Charging your EV is different from filling up a traditional gas vehicle in that it requires more power and has various levels of charging that can speed up the process.

Charging times and costs vary depending on your vehicle and charging location, and there are four different types of connectors to be aware of.
EVs are better for the environment due to their efficiency and lower emissions, and they can save you money in the long run.

Additionally, there are rebates available to help offset the cost of installation. It is important to understand EV charging terms and etiquette to ensure a safe and respectful charging experience.

If you’re considering getting an EV or need more information about charging your vehicle, contact the Dick Hannah Team for more information.

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