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Charging Your EV

Charging your electric vehicle (EV) at home is as easy as plugging in your cell phone for the night! If you live in an apartment, condo or townhome without EV charging or an assigned parking space and outlet, charging at home may be more complicated. Speak with your homeowner’s association or property manager to ask about charging options.

You may also have the option to charge at work. When you’re on the go, apps or online tools can help you find public chargers.

A little planning goes a long way on road trips, and with EV ranges pushing past 300 miles, daily commutes are no problem!

Electricity 101

Here are some key terms to know:

Volts/voltage is the amount of potential energy for delivery.

The charger “level” is determined by the voltage it uses. For example, a level 1 charger uses 120 volts, a level 2 charger uses 240 volts, and a level 3 charger uses 480 volts.

Amps/amperage is the measurement of the flow or speed of the electricity being delivered to a device such as an EV. The higher the amperage, the faster the electricity can be delivered to your vehicle!

Charging speeds

Charging speeds depend on the car, battery size and the charger itself.

Level 1 (120 volts)

All you need is a regular 120 volt outlet (Level 1) and a charging cable to charge at home. Often times the charging cable comes with the car or can be purchased online.

  • Typically delivers two to five miles of range per hour of charging.
  • May take more than 24 hours to get a full charge depending on the amount of charging needed and battery size.
  • Most often used at home but is sometimes used at the workplace.
  • Level one may work for you if you have a short commute and have all night to charge or have charging available at work.

Level 2 (240 volts)

A 240 volt (Level 2) charger or outlet charges your vehicle faster. This is the same voltage as an electric dryer or stove. If you do not already have this plug in your garage, or somewhere your EV charger cord can reach, you may need to hire an electrician to install one. You can also have a charger hard-wired in if you prefer.

  • Typically delivers 10 to 25 miles of range per hour of charging.
  • Used in homes, workplaces and for public charging.
  • Find out if you need a permit by calling 253-502-8277 or by visiting the permitting section of our website.

Additional considerations:

  • Equipment using 240 volts requires a dedicated circuit. You will need space in your electrical panel.
  • If you do not have space available, you may need to upgrade your electrical panel. Upgrading your electrical panel can cost a few thousand dollars. Check our tips for hiring an electrical contractor.

Level 3 (480 volts)

Delivered through specialized high-powered charging equipment, Level 3 chargers, also know as Direct Current Fast Charge (DCFC), can fill your battery up to 80% in just 20 to 30 minutes! Due to the voltage needed for level 3 charging, this service is not available for your home.

  • Typically delivers up to 100 miles of range per hour of charging.
  • Most often used in public spaces, especially along heavy traffic corridors, like I-5, where drivers need a quick charge.
  • Older EVs and plug in hybrids may not support this speed of charging. Check the manufacture specifications or take a look at the plug ports to find out. See our plug reference below.
  • There are three different plug types used in the U.S. for level 3 charging: CHAdeMO, CCS and Tesla. Know your car’s plug type before you hit the road!
  • Faster charging gets you on your way quicker, but can be hard on your battery and potentially reduce it’s lifespan if you fast charge often.

Know your EV plug type

J1772

About J1772

  • Supports level 1 or level 2 charging speeds.
  • Works with all EVs in the U.S. including plug-in hybrids and full battery EVs (adapter required for Tesla).

CHAdeMO

About CHAdeMO

  • Supports level 3 (DCFC) charging.
  • Works with Kia, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Toyota (adapter required for Tesla).
  • Older EVs and plug-in hybrids may not have level 3 charging capabilities.

CCS

About CCS (combined charging system):

  • Supports level 3 (DCFC) charging.
  • Works with Chevrolet and BMW (adapter required for Tesla).
  • Older EVs and plug-in hybrids may not have level 3 charging capabilities.

Tesla Combo

About the Tesla Combo:

  • Supports level 1, 2 or 3 charging.
  • Only Tesla vehicles can use this type of charger.

Are you interested in installing EV chargers at your business?

If you own a business, offering EV charging sets you apart and supplies your customers and employees with a place to charge while they spend time at your business. Many locations in Tacoma already offer public charging and that number continues to grow. View a map of public charging locations here.

Special offer for DCFC charging hosts

DCFC chargers offer a unique opportunity to support EV drivers that are looking for a quick charge. DCFC chargers can deliver an 80% battery charge or 60 to 100 miles of range for most EV models within 20 to 30 minutes.

Tacoma Power offers a special DCFC charging rate to eligible hosts in our service area as part of a new pilot program. This limited enrollment rate allows DCFC charging station owners to recover installation costs by reducing demand charges over a scheduled period. Learn more here.

Learn about offering public EV charging

Components of a good EV charging host:

  • Near amenities like shopping, dining, or recreation.
  • Well maintained and safe parking area.
  • Reliable chargers and low charging rates.

Deciding what level of charging to install:

Depending on how long customers may stay at your business, you may want to decide between level 2 and level 3 charging. Refer to information above regarding the differences between Level 2 and Level 3 charging.

What do I do when I am ready to move forward with installing EV charging?

  1. Hire a contractor! Your contractor will guide you through the steps of installation.
  2. Get necessary permits.

We can answer questions about EV charging for your business and can help you find the right fit.

Contact Katherine Rice at 253-502-8040 or krice@cityoftacoma.org for more information.

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