In an ideal situation, an electric car owner has a 240-volt outlet installed at their home – typically inside the garage, but a carport or even the driveway will suffice – as well as the necessary Level 2 charging equipment to support it. This way, you can plug in your car at the end of the day and wake to a full charge the next morning. It’s much easier and more convenient than gassing up, not to mention cheaper. However, this arrangement is not always possible.
In some cases, new electric vehicle (EV) owners don’t plan ahead. When it’s time to install the 240-volt outlet, perhaps they learn that their electrical box and/or service need to be upgraded, or the distance from the box to the charging location is excessive. Both of these situations can prove pricey and time-consuming to rectify. Fortunately, in the meantime, they should be able to charge using a standard wall outlet (more on that below), though we suggest having your home charging situation all squared away before you take delivery of an EV.
Some people aren’t so fortunate since they don’t live in a single-family home. Instead, they live in a condo or apartment, with no dedicated parking spot, and no place to charge their car. Others rent a home, and the landlord doesn’t allow electrical upgrades or EV charging.
However, none of these situations mean you’re out of luck. There are many options for people in these situations. Read on to learn more.
For People With the Option, Level 1 Charging May Suffice
Electric car owners choose 240-volt (Level 2 charging) since it adds about 25 miles of range every hour. However, EVs can be charged on a standard 120-volt wall outlet. It only adds about four miles every hour, but you don’t need any special equipment aside from the charging cord that typically comes with the car.
Even if you live in an apartment or condo, you may be able to find a place to plug your car into a standard outlet. Just be careful not to run your cord across the sidewalk or parking lot, where someone may trip on it. If you have to use an extension cord, be sure it’s specifically designed for EV charging applications.
With Level 1 charging, you should be able to add 30 to 60 miles of range between the evening and the time you wake. You can also plug your car in whenever there’s an opportunity during the day to add a few more miles. This may suffice if you don’t have a long commute or you drive a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) with a range-extending gas-powered engine.