By on August 2, 2021

Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.com

Filling up your car’s fuel tank is a normal and familiar chore for almost every car owner, right? You’re all familiar with the idea of driving a few hundred miles – whether that’s all at once on a road trip or in starts and stops around town – then pulling up to your local fuel spot and buying more fuel. You don’t have a fuel pump at home that you use to top off your car every night, and that’s perfectly normal. You don’t seek out apartments based on whether or not they have a gas station on-site, and that’s perfectly normal, too. Why, then, are EV evangelists so Hell-bent on charging at home?

It’s a bizarre way to think about home fueling, maybe – but outlets like US News and World Report are actively running headlines like, “Can You Own an Electric Car if You Can’t Charge at Home?” these days, so the question is definitely out there. And, as they say: “Don’t ask the question if you don’t want to know the answer,” right?

Right.

So, can you own an electric car if you can’t charge at home? The answer is: Sure. The better answer is, though, is: absolutely – and you may want to ask yourself why you ever wanted a home charger in the first place.

Sure, you can own an electric car even if you don’t charge at home. Depending on where you live, though, it may not be practical. In my old South Miami neighborhood, it seems perfectly doable, with publicly accessible chargers that will work with our new Mustang Mach-E GT just about everywhere.

That level 6 charger in Dadeland Mall? That would have been more convenient for me to get to than the nearest actual gas station was when I lived there – and the 40 minutes I’d need to spend there in dwell time? It’s certainly not the same as five minutes at the pump, but it’s doable. And, frankly, I piss away at least 40 minutes of my life at Target every week as it is, so someone like me loses nothing in terms of time spent refueling.

What’s more, it’s a rare week that I drive 200 miles at all these days. I think that’s probably true for many people who live in urban areas or more built-up suburbs, too – so it seems like it would be an easy enough ask for me to plug in at the Target or Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or anywhere else I’ll have 30 min. to an hour of dwell-time. And that’s the key thing: dwell time.

If you drive somewhere regularly between fill-ups now, with your gas-powered car, you’ll probably still drive there regularly with an EV. And if they have newer fast-chargers? You’re done.

Note: there’s no point in trying to make this kind of case for places like San Angelo, TX. The infrastructure may be coming, but it’s not there yet (even for gas, at times). There are implied asterisks and disclaimers all over this article, and I get that – but they’re not putting gas pumps in their garages, either.

Besides that, charging at home is cheap – but it’s not free. Getting a Chargepoint spec charger installed isn’t free, either, with JD Power claiming that “Costs can easily run $1,000 to $2,000.” When you can Cannonball a Mustang Mach-E from San Diego, CA to Jacksonville, FL (just over 2,400 miles) on just $160 of electricity … well, that $2,000 would pay for a lot of miles.

And, by the time you’ve put said miles on your EV, that public charging network is going to be that much better, and that much more universally accessible, too. The new EVs will probably charge that much faster, too, making these low-tech home chargers seem almost like a weird, intermediate step in technology. Sort of like Palm Pilots in the days before smartphones really kicked in and out-Darwined everything to the point that we just call them “phones” now, you know?

So, I dunno. If you’re shopping for an EV in a highly developed suburb or urban neighborhood, I’m sure you’re going to be fine, home charger or not.

[Images: Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.com, screenshots from the author]

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132 Comments on “Opinion: EV Owners Don’t Need a Home Charger...”


  • avatar
    MUSASHI66

    People aren’t putting gas stations in their garages because one tank gives them 300-400 miles of range, gas stations are everywhere and refueling takes a few minutes.

    People are putting home charges in their garages because that is the allure of an EV – charge at night for cheap, never waste time at a gas station, and only charge at a charging point as needed so you don’t waste 40 min of your life for 200 miles of range if you’re lucky.

    • 0 avatar
      hardline

      This, be ready for EV owners to swarm tho.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Tesla Cybertruck is expected to have variants with ranges of 250, 300, and 500 miles.

      My reservation is for the 500-mile Cybertruck, which gives it a longer range than my gas truck.

      The price is also comparable to what luxury-spec gas trucks (like my existing truck) cost new, as well.

      Assuming this truck materializes in something close to the stated specs, it’s going to be *very* competitive — at least to those of us who can stand the looks.

      • 0 avatar
        khory

        We’ll see what that range dwindles to when you actually need to use it as a truck. Stopping every 100 miles when towing your boat is not ideal.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          “We’ll see what that range dwindles to when you actually need to use it as a truck. Stopping every 100 miles when towing your boat is not ideal.”

          That happens on my gas truck, too. MPG goes from 20MPG to 10MPG she towing my TT (depending on the wind). Range goes from 450 miles (400 planning miles) to 225 miles (200 planning miles).

          I’m expecting roughly the same 50% range-loss on my EV truck that I see on my gas truck, because the trailer doesn’t know or care what’s pulling on the tongue — it pulls back with roughly the same force no matter what’s pulling it, assuming it’s roughly pickup-sized.

          As usual, yes, us EV hippies thought of that.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Yes the trailer still pulls with the same force no matter what is powering the tow vehicle. However it also pushes back with the same force when you are going down hill. So when going down hill the trailer is helping recharge the battery on a EV while on an ICE powered truck the engine is still running to keep the brake booster doing its job.

            So unless all your towing is on flat ground an EV will have less loss of MPG/Range when towing.

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            The good thing is you’ll get to spend a lot more time on the road and at recharging stations. A few years ago a P100D owner decided to pull his 3800 lb trailer with it. If he kept his speed down to 55-60 mph he only lost 45-60% range of his 300 mile range car. I suspect the cybertruck will have a similar decrease in range. Your 500 mile truck would then have a towing range of, let’s be generous, 250 miles. Now only a fool is going to push their range much below 20%, so 200 miles. Then, assuming you have a Supercharger station available, you can probably recharge up to 70% in maybe 30 minutes or so, 100% would take you closer to an hour. If you charge only to 70% you could go a whopping 140 miles before you need to stop again. Enjoy your trip.

    • 0 avatar

      Nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      RangerM

      40 minutes is actual charge time, correct?

      The assumption is you’re already parked at the charger, and plugged in.

      If someone is already there, you’re waiting for their charge to finish. More, if they walked away to eat dinner or shop.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @RangerM: Charging stations are starting to get big. Especially the quick-charge stations. For level 2, my local Target has 8 ports. Never charge there since it’s only a few miles from home.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “If someone is already there, you’re waiting for their charge to finish. More, if they walked away to eat dinner or shop.”

        That’s why there are multiple chargers at Tesla Supercharger stations.

        Apparently Thanksgiving week is the main time they’re at capacity. The one in my town has plenty of space most of the time.

        As usual, the EV hippies thought of that.

        • 0 avatar
          RangerM

          @Luke42

          Tesla chargers won’t be exclusive to Tesla cars in the near future. You may find the chargers more full than you expect, once that happens.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            @RangerM:
            “Tesla chargers won’t be exclusive to Tesla cars in the near future. You may find the chargers more full than you expect, once that happens.”

            The Supercharger network has been growing rapidly since the first station was put in.

            The Supercharger network started out as a loss-leader which was necessary to answer the “but charging infrastructure” concerns of potential EV owners. Now it is transitioning from loss-leader to moneymaker.

            As the Supercharger network becomes a moneymaker, Tesla isn’t likely to stop expanding it any time soon.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Tesla is also making prefabricated blocks of chargers not. They first do the site prep work, then a semi-truck with a prefabricated row of chargers arrives, gets dropped onto the site, then wired in.

            It’s a profit center for them and they’re adding the other makes to increase their income. Look at the revenue for Pilot in 2020 at $29.5 billion, Love’s at $20 billion, and Wawa at $13 billion. Those 3 alone are over $60 billion. So, it’s definitely worth trying to grab/divert a percentage of that revenue. Convert 10% or more of vehicles to depend on a different fuel, then become the dominant supplier of that fuel.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          actually Musk said EV’s will remain a niche until there is a massive buildout of power plants

          as usual, the EV hippies never thought of that.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            “actually Musk said EV’s will remain a niche until there is a massive buildout of power plants”

            * Citation needed.

            Musk would love to sell you some solar panels and a Powerwall. But that doesn’t prevent the widespread adoption of EVs in the United States.

            And, yes, us EV hippies have compared the well-to-wheels emissions analyses and grid-load analyses. We know where electricity comes from, and it all works out favorably — because EVs generally charge at off-peak times.

            Also, EVs are agnostic about fuel, and they can run off of nuclear one day and solar the next, depending on where you are and what you need. (Though the power grid is always a mix IRL.)

            There are arguments to be had about all of this, but need to do your homework when you argue with people who have done their homework. The discussion has moved on from the big picture, to the details.

            As usual, the critics haven’t given this as much thought as the EV hippies.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “they can run off of nuclear one day and solar the next”

            I’m sure that in 1985, plutonium is available in every corner drugstore, but in 1955, it’s a little hard to come by.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            Funny thing about “EV Hippies” – I know lots of people with electric vehicles, and none of them are hippies.
            On the other hand, they are much more hip (which means informed and knowledgeable) than the disparaging naysayers.
            Life moves on. Drive what you like. And realize that hippies all but disappeared before Saturday Night Fever came out.

    • 0 avatar
      snapjack

      40 minutes to charge!? Never.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Op/Ed: Car Owners Don’t Need an EV.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I keep waiting for the site brave enough to publish this one.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

      (And what Musashi said.

      “Lulz 40 minute charge time is fine I’m shopping” is … yeah, good for you, Jo.

      I ain’t got time for that, and that ain’t *my* life.

      And it ain’t most people I know – and if EVs were Super Common, well … a lot of people would be vying for those expensive-to-install charger spots at Target.

      If I wanted anything like that, I’d want a plug-in hybrid, for maximum real-world flexibility.)

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, no one says anyone needs a pickup truck that costs $60,000 and handles like a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, but God forbid any site or writer say that, lest words like “jackbooted commie tree hugger thug” get bandied about.

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        The CT may be ugly, but it will handle just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “No one needs it” is a different editorial argument from “no one needs it and it should be banned or heavily restricted”.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          The day non EVs actually get banned in the United States, call me.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            “The day non EVs actually get banned in the United States, call me.”

            Come on Mike, you’re smart enough to know this is disingenuous.

            Fuel economy and emissions standards only go one way. State level bans are proposed/planned for less than a decade from now. Politics is downstream from culture. 5 years ago, no one dared to mention ICE bans and now discussions are everywhere. I wouldn’t dream of being able to say what might be safe to pass in 2025 or 2030.

            If a train is speeding toward me on a track, I’m not going to wait for it to actually hit me before I start worrying.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @Jack:

            It isn’t disingenuous – it’s political reality. There are hundreds of millions of people who own conventionally powered vehicles – do you really think someone who bans them is going to not face a political backlash?

            And tightening fuel economy and emissions standards does NOT equal “conventionally powered vehicles are being banned.”

            “Proposed/planned” bans are a long way from “actual bans.”

            I can think of a whole range of things that were proposed or planned to be banned that actually weren’t – guns, abortions, you name it. George W. Bush proposed privatizing Social Security when he got re-elected; Donald Trump proposed getting rid of the ACA. Last I checked, both Social Security and the ACA are very much alive. Why? Because people didn’t want to get rid of them. They don’t want to get rid of their conventionally-powered vehicles, either.

            Anything that gets banned inevitably runs up against political reality.

            I’ll say it again: call me when something actually gets banned, and let’s see how that goes.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            Guns are protected by the Constitution.

            Abortions….I wouldn’t hold my breath on that being a protected nationwide right by this time next year.

            And in both cases, there are powerful interest groups that fight to protect those rights in a way that I’ve never seen for gas powered cars.

            Again, I’m extrapolating a few years into the future. ICE bans are now within the realm of acceptable political discourse. That wasn’t true a few years ago. What will be reasonable in 5 or 10 years? Look how quickly the mainstream position shifted on things like gay marriage, marijuana, crime, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I wasn’t thinking about legislation, just editorializing.

            If I write an opinion piece saying that all Subarus should be banned then I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the people that like Subarus to call me a “jackbooted thug” in response. However, that’s a different situation than if I write an editorial saying Subarus are lame and leaving it at that.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            “The day non EVs actually get banned in the United States, call me.”

            Antique cars without modern emissions standards are still around — as everyone on this blog knows, and many people are excited to see a nice one. Nobody wants to remove them from circulation.

            But, no, you cannot manufacture a new car without proper safety & emissions standards.

            I can imagine a future where emissions standards are “none”.

            As a card-carrying EV hippie (green cars got me back in to car enthusiasm), that’s not my goal. Even in an EV-heavy future, ICE vehicles will have niche applications (like medical couriers) where they flourish and provide an important service.

            EVs are the best option for commuter cars at the moment, and the list of automotive use-cases where EVs are the best option will expand very rapidly in 2022-2024 as the 500+ mile EVs start rolling off the line.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        People voluntarily buy the $60,000,000 pickup and are happy to grossly overpay. These things, well…

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Please poll the hundreds of thousands of people who bought EVs and ask them how much force of any kind was put on them to buy one. My guess is you’ll cone out with the following percentage: zero.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            2020 data is a bit skewed all around but I believe EV marketshare was something like 2-2.3% in 2019 and it may have included hybrids (I can’t recall) whereas the almighty pickup commanded 18.3%. I don’t know if EV share is going to be up for 2021 but pickups are apparently up to just over 20% now. Both types of buyers understand they are grossly overpaying, but one is mainstream and the other niche, which is fine as far as I am concerned. However certain parties want this to be flipped, and like many things pushed by State Media and other state organs nothing could be more opposite of reality.

            “Pickup trucks now account for 20.1% of the new car market, up from 18.3% in 2019, according to sales data from Motor Intelligence.”

            https://www.forbes.com/wheels/news/shoppers-snap-up-pickup-trucks

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            “Both types of buyers understand they are grossly overpaying”

            To each their own, but I spent nearly $60,000 on a new truck in 2018 and consider it some of the best money I’ve ever spent vehicle wise. Nothing else I could buy for that price approached the combination of usability, capability, reliability, durability, comfort, and resale.

            There’s a lot better targets for scorn in the automotive pricing world if you ask me, but then again, no one did. *shrugs*

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “There’s a lot better targets for scorn in the automotive pricing world if you ask me, but then again, no one did”

            I think that’s pretty much everything these days.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      op ed: most people don’t need cars.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Perhaps those in the <5%? of the nation with excellent mass transit and/or 100% walkability options.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I think to be more precise, most people don’t need the cars they have. I certainly don’t. I could have bought a Kia Rio instead of the car I did buy a couple of months ago, and would have saved myself about ten grand in sticker price, plus a ton in gas and insurance. I could have even bought a version of my car that goes for about six grand less. But I wanted something that performs.

          We want what we want. Folks who buy EVs want EVs.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Carlin pointed out long ago people don’t need most of the things they have or want. However unless one lives in an area where walkability is or near 100%, or public transit is excellent, one *will* need a way to procure food and supplies, travel for employment, and likely want to be able to travel locally for recreation. So there are a great deal of people across the nation who need private vehicles or some sort.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @28:

            I agree, and plenty of them will want EVS, particularly when the price starts coming down, which is going to happen.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            Doubtful on both accounts. What I could see is the loons artificially causing the competition to become more expensive *cough cough* which is basically what seems to be happening now. I doubt very much they want “cheap” EV.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed! That’s why they’re only like, 3% of the market right now.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        1.8% in 2020, excluding PHEV. Slightly higher in 2019 IIRC.

        “According to data provided by IHS Markit, in 2020, all-electric vehicle registrations share in the U.S. (plug-in hybrids were excluded from the report), reached a record market share of 1.8%!”

        https://insideevs.com/news/489525/us-electric-car-market-share-record-2020

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The EV market growth is approximately doubling every three years and likely to accelerate as more EVs come onto the market. I expect by the end of this year, the EV market will be approximately 4% of the overall automotive market.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Source?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good luck. The chart in Pew’s article is saying 2.0% this year and it was released in June. It is now August and the F-150 EV doesn’t start production until next spring.

            https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/06/07/todays-electric-vehicle-market-slow-growth-in-u-s-faster-in-china-europe/

  • avatar
    ajla

    I agree with a portion of this. I do think home charging will be less prevalent in the EV future than people expect. I get that the actual engineers that comment on TTAC have no problem installing things on their own and some of the rich guys on here have commercial grade junction boxes to support their 3 hot tubs and 20 arcade cabinets or they live in the complex from “Frasier” and the building association installed chargers at every reserved parking place.

    However, out in the normie world, many homeowners and landlords are going to balk at a 4-figure bill to get a charging station(s) installed and the property management at “Big Lots Estates” aren’t going to install chargers throughout their parking lots.

    However as the market share of BEVs increases the number of public chargers available will also need to increase. 2-3 level 2 & 3 plugs scattered throughout retail establishments works fine now but it will work less fine as more nonTesla BEVs get on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      110 outlet or a dryer plug – you’re not actually engineering the charger.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “However as the market share of BEVs increases the number of public chargers available will also need to increase.”

      If.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        It is extremely likely that the market share of BEVs will increase in the future because the number of BEVs available for consumers to consider will be increasing.

        The “if” question is will that market share increase fast enough to make the “All electric by 203x!” proclamation a reality.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Doubtful, if you haven’t noticed everything being pushed really hard by the lunatics is falling flat on its face.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            If new BEV market share doesn’t increase as a result of the offerings becoming available between now and 2026 then there will be no “EV future” while any of us are above ground and we are all just discussing whimsy.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            “there will be no “EV future” while any of us are above ground”

            Don’t tease me like that.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I’m bearish on the timeline but I do think it is going to happen. There’s too much upside for regular users and their current day issues seem solvable.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      IIRC, the higher end new Ford electric truck has the uprated charger as part of the price? Maybe I read that wrong- but I can certainly see an incentive package where getting a 50a/220v sort of fast charger hookup (since most homes will handle that) gets worked into the price.

      I don’t know if that would be so much about the financing part of it so much as the ease part. Having the dealer just work out an electrician would have a lot of appeal to many people.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I’d go the home charger route just for convenience. As far as a gas station at home, that’s typical of anyone living rurally.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    Will TTAC pay for me to write an article-length rebuttal to this? I’m an engineer and former and future electric car owner.

    If you don’t need a 240 volt home charger of at least 20 amps you don’t drive enough for an EV to pay back its price premium.

  • avatar
    probert

    You read a lot about home EV chargers because currently most EV owners have one and people can’t usually see beyond there specific situation. It’s not a matter of evangelism – just the usual – if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for everyone syndrome. If you have a 110outlet at your home, you have a charger, if you need faster and have a dryer plug, you have a faster charger – no big deal.

    But, yes, you can do fine in the city without charger – depending on your driving habits/needs – one charge a week on a car with reasonable range should do the trick. In the city, a car with an epa rating of 240 miles, should do 300 easy.

    For me -In the city, I use an e-bike in the city, or public transit, charge maybe once a month for either a long trip, or to make up for errands that needed a car. Mostly, a top up from say 30% to 80% should be between 20 – 30 minutes on a slow charging car. The horror….

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Plink a few solar panels on your roof and your fuel costs go down to zero.
      A few more, and your heating and A/C costs go down to zero.
      A few more, and you build up credits on your utility bill, and maybe get a check every now and then.
      Life goes on, the world keeps turning, and some things actually get better.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I looked up my area and found no charging stations within 50 miles of my house. Probably why only see a couple of Teslas around town. I probably need a house charger if I got an electric car.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I don’t own an EV, but if I did, home charging would definitely be one of the big attractions. Do you *need* one, though? Probably not. Then again, if you decide to buy an EV, you don’t *need* a Mach E, either – a Bolt would get you from point A to point B just as well.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    You will get royally screwed on the cost of electricity at a public charging station. The sky is the limit, it’s not competitively priced like fuel at a gas station. You need a home charger. At least use a 129V plug that’s already there, better than nothing and will add significant miles over night or on a weekend. 40 minutes at Target is the best reason yet not to own an EV.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “40 minutes at Target is the best reason yet not to own an EV.”

      EVs are just like anything else in the spectrum of automobiles. They work for some of us, but not everyone. Same thing can be said of two seater cars and F-350s. That’s why I’ve always favored a market approach. Rather than force people to buy EVs, start fixing the issues that keep some people from buying them. Charging speeds are coming up and we’re starting to see new battery tech make it into production. CATLs sodium-ion battery is in production and they also have a hybrid pack with both sodium-ion and lithium-ion cells to combine the advantages of both. ArcelorMittal’s investment in iron-air batteries seems to be paying off as well, although I’m not sure if they are in production yet.

      We’ll get there, but they need to let individuals make the final decision for themselves. The government needs to be like the curling players with the brooms instead of kicking the stone.

      • 0 avatar
        Imagefont

        EV’s have the same problem today they’ve always had: Cost, Range, Charge Time, Charge Inconvenience. Whatever future batteries might be, they’re not likely to cost less and there’s no ETA on when they’ll get here. EV’s will be niche for a generation to come. A PHEV offers so much for so little. They can take care of 95% of your short trips and commutes and the gas engine takes care of all the rest. Putting 1000 lbs batteries in cars is it the answer, and for governments to pick winners and losers is insane. Coal will make a comeback in our EV dystopian future. Only idiots, liars and people bad at math think the future is the electric vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      One of the benefits/appeal of a EV is cheaper “fuel” than an ICE but that only holds true if you charge at home. We have a PHEV and doing the math it costs about half as much to drive it on electrons purchased directly from the electric company. However the going rates at the public chargers in my area are 3-4x what I pay at home making it more expensive than running the ICE. For that reason they only public chargers I use are the free Volta chargers which being level 2 don’t give you much per/hr. But hey I’ll take a free mile or two if we are going to those locations anyway. Note they also limit you to 45min of use at which point it does shut off and to start it charging again you have to unplug and replug. The only time I did that was when the wife had a doctor’s appt about 2 blocks from the Volta charger so I dropped her off and sat in the car at the charger rather than sitting in the waiting room.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        More people are going to buy an EV based on driving characteristics and cost savings than wanting to save the planet.
        Diesels are a prime example. People buy them based on ROI and/or torque.

  • avatar
    slow_poke

    Ok. So I’ve had 3 EVs starting with the first gen leaf. I left an extension cord in the garage. Trickled back in at ~4miles an hour. Would make it to the weekend if we were strict about “only commute”. Now with a bolt and 250miles of range is to treat it like a car but that means doing more actual driving. Then the trickle charger is a nonstarter. We’ve done the “30-40 minute fast charger thing and it’s emotionally punishing. EV’s are a much better experience if you have a charger. I don’t have 30-40 minutes in my week to hang around a fast charger. Shopping centers and such are too random to rely on.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    No way would I spend 40 minutes at a “fuel” station. As a side note, I have ZERO interest in subsidizing apartment dwellers with electric filling stations. We don’t do this for gas, why would we for electricity?

    Home charging (along with it costing significantly less than gasoline) are the two biggest selling features of electric cars. I don’t enjoy going to the gas station to spend $50 even if it takes less than 5 minutes.

    • 0 avatar
      slow_poke

      Right. Agreed. If you own a home assume the cost of a charger in your EV purchase price. Otherwise wait another generation or two. Chargers are becoming more prevalent and charging rate is getting better. If you want to really save money on transportation, and treat the environment better, buy a used Prius.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      we subsidize the oil industry massively, from tax to lease rates, to military support for producers and transport. What do you think the military does? Your tax dollars at work

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “to military support for producers and transport.”

        The last 4 large scale exercises I have participated in have involved responding to a Russian invasion of Ukraine (1), and repelling Chinese incursions in Guam and other US Pacific territories following an invasion of Taiwan (3 with others in the planning stage). I don’t remember the last time we did a middle east focused exercise.

        The whole war for oil bit is a pretty tired trope at this point. Maybe 15 years ago but the world has changed a bit.

        Or maybe you don’t feel those US citizens are worthy of defending.

        • 0 avatar
          SaabStory

          Maybe war-for-oil on land is a bit old fashioned, but patrolling sea-lanes to protect the produce of that oil hasn’t been more in vogue since the war of 1812. As you know, there are 9 carrier strike groups in the US Navy, practically one for each major strait.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Crosley: “As a side note, I have ZERO interest in subsidizing apartment dwellers with electric filling stations. We don’t do this for gas, why would we for electricity?”

      — Who said anything about “subsidizing” apartment dwellers? Either set up reserved parking for the residents with the charger running on that apartment’s meter or issue a “Charge Card” that bills the charge in the rent (And will not dispense electrons without it.)

      Sheesh! Do you think apartment managers are dumb or something?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Either set up reserved parking for the residents with the charger running on that apartment’s meter or issue a “Charge Card” that bills the charge in the rent”

        Due to the COVID-24 plandemic we have declared a rent moratorium on all charging stations.

        XO
        Fedgov

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Lots of non-issues keep being brought up. Why are people so stubborn about genuine progress? No one is taking your pickup truck away, no one is coming for your guns. Calm down, relax and quit posting nonsense already!

  • avatar
    dwford

    Who wants to regularly sit at some public charging station twiddling your thumbs? A genius move would be to have charging stations at gyms. That would be perfect. A kind of forced stop where you can work out while you wait. Otherwise, for drivers who do any sort of distance, you’ve got to be able to charge at home.

    I am the perfect candidate for an EV – a full time Uber driver. But I drive 200-250 A DAY, and I’m not sitting in some random parking lot for 40 minutes or more per day to recharge an EV.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “A genius move would be to have charging stations at gyms.”

      ..or, you know what would work well? Laundromats. Lots of apartment renters need to do both laundry and charge once a week or so.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “A genius move would be to have charging stations at gyms.”

      Good thing I have a home charger; I’ve never been in a gym. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      If BEVs are to replace ICE vehicles, pretty much every parking place, public or private, will need a charger even if it’s just level one. Park the car and plug in. Run your errand whether it’s shopping, dinner or a show. Unplug when you get back to your car. You’ll have picked up a few miles while parked which may have cost you just like a parking meter would.

  • avatar
    airfidget

    Two points. Safety/regulation. Convenience/reality.

    A fuel tank is something like 10-20 gallons of gas. If you were to burn that gas, say, in your garage. It would likely be enough energy to burn your house down. Gas stations are these highly regulated, safe places that have electrostatic discharge protection, and scales and weights regulation, and anti-price-gouging regulations. All regulated and safe. I don’t think electric cars are unsafe or technologically unsound. I think the battery charging/discharging industry is not safe and technologically unsound. You take the same amount of energy to fuel up your gas tank, and put it through electrical conductors that are prone to failure. You’re going to have fires like the East coast representative.

    But, practically, conveniently. I would want the charger at my house. I could hook it to my solar panels and get free MPG’s. I could off-peak hours charge my stuff. I could charge in my sleep hours instead of the precious time I have to go between things. I could not spend 40 dollars on stuff I don’t need at Target because I’m wasting 40 minutes for my car to charge.

    First, industry. Give me a safe, regulated home charger, then provide the convenience of charging on the go with a low cost top off charger around town.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    EV drivers have a home charger because they can.

    Unless you own a farm, keeping gasoline around in large quantities is untenable and unsafe. If I consume 50 gallons of gas a month, who will deliver it – the home heating oil company? Will I dispense it with a plastic nozzle from a 40-lb 5-gallon can? The question of gasoline refilling at home is absurd.

    With electricity, the billing is automatic and I don’t need to store it on site.

    As for the cost of a charger, that $2000 installed price is a straw man. You can buy a Level 2 charger for $200 from Amazon, and plug it into a range outlet. If you hire someone to install a range outlet in your garage, I hope they won’t bill you $1800 for $100 worth of parts and 2 hours’ labor.

    • 0 avatar
      mmarton

      Growing up, my friend’s dad had a hand crank gas tank next to the garage. I don’t know the capacity but it was probably has a few hundred gallons. This wasn’t a farm and he didn’t always use the gas, but the guy had a smile on his face when the first gas shortages hit in the 70s.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Eeks.

        I can’t imagine living with a few hundred gallons of gas near my garage – not to mention all my suburban neighbors.

        Besides needing a safety-regulated dispenser with a flame arrestor, tomorrow’s problem would be theft when the next gas shortage comes.

        Nobody’s mentioned it, but lots of people live with a tank of propane next to the house. A friend’s house was destroyed when their regulator went bad, allowing vapors to come in the window and light off on the stove’s pilot light.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Reading this I had to keep looking up and making sure I wasn’t on The Onion or The Babylon Bee

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    How much effort went into this article? I expect better from TTAC.

    About the San Angelo example. San Angelo is over 100K population. Great area to generate solar electricity. If EV charging infrastructure is lacking in San Angelo now then we are truly screwed in rural Midwest. Several of my family members live in towns of less than 1,000 people. If you don’t have a home charger then you don’t charge.

  • avatar
    craiger

    It stands to reason that if the number of EVs on the road increases dramatically, the idea of charging in the parking lot of a shopping center isn’t going to work. We all know how hard it can be sometimes just to find a parking spot. Imagine lots of EVs, with some percentage of owners hoping to charge while doing their shopping. I can’t imagine that stores are going to pay to install install hundreds of charging stations. Maybe they would, but maybe they wouldn’t. Think about what it’s like to sit in an airport terminal, trying to find an outlet to charge your phone.

    Those of us in NYC know what it’s like to wait on line for a pump to become available. Heck, even here in the Atlanta suburbs, I wait 5-10 minutes at Costco to fill up.

    The bottom line is you’re going to need a LOT more charging ports than gas pumps, because of the charge time.

    If I were to get an EV I absolutely would charge at home.

  • avatar
    User84645

    RELYING on public charging is simply less convenient than public fuelling. So I ask; why would those who can’t charge at home so willingly choose to accept ANY inconvenience when it’s so easily avoidable by sticking with an ICE-powered vehicle? The one finite resource we all have is our time. I am not willing to exchange any of it so easily that I’m exchanging much more time to make my car move. I’ll check back when I can charge at home.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    While I agree that you don’t necessarily HAVE to recharge at home, but barring circumstances where you simply can’t, why wouldn’t you? The simple fact is that with home charging, you never HAVE to worry about how much charge you have left; you can charge any time you want and don’t have to put up with foul weather while recharging.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I do know 1 person who purchased and EV w/o the ability to charge at home since she lived in an apartment at the time. However they had been planning on buying a house and when her car got totaled it forced her hand to replace it sooner rather than later. So she dealt with public charging only for 6-7 months before they purchased a house. Having the ability to easily install a charger was on the list of must haves for their house. The funny thing is that the house they selected was ~2mi from her work and when I asked a year in they still hadn’t put in a level 2 charger since the pandemic cut travel and the 110 is good enough to top it up in a timely manner when it travels so few miles.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    You make it sound like Target (or wherever) can just plunk 20 chargers in the parking lot. No. Target has a X Amp service running to their store because that’s how many amps the store needs. Adding 20 chargers at 50 amps means ONE THOUSAND more amps of power service they need.

    The power distribution system simply was not designed to drop another 1000 amps of AC service wherever someone wants it. It is gonna require *significant* infrastructure upgrades to do that.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Come on now, eggsalad. Just as we know that meat is made in the backroom of the grocery store, we just know that electricity is made in the wires attached to the receptacle. Your just blowing smoke using “numbers” and stuff. /s

    • 0 avatar
      240SX_KAT

      You act like a mall would even notice an extra 1000a drain.
      The next time you’re in a big box store, count all the fluorescent tubes. Somewhere between three or four tubes per amp at 240v with ballast losses. That Target probably has over 200a of lights and over 1000a for the 100 ton AC.

      The power infrastructure is fine.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    I’m thinking about replacing my 14-year-old Infiniti G37S coupe with a Tesla long range Model 3. One of the disadvantages of any BEV is the time it takes to recharge the battery compared to the time it takes to refill the tank of an ICE vehicle. I’m willing to make that sacrifice on the occasional road trip but not routinely. Not having a garage with level two charging via a clothes dryer outlet would be a deal killer.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    I feel like I just fell into the mind of a Millennial hipster dufus. Listing Target, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (ick, not Walmart) as the stores you shop at and using the phrase “dwell time” repeatedly and having no problem wasting 40 minutes charging an electric car. I feel the need to hop in my truck and drive to the gun range for a little mental release.

  • avatar
    tlk

    OK, there are a couple important points missing from this article, probably because they don’t support the clickbait premise of no one needs a home charger!!11

    First, the public chargers you find in random parking lots are all Level 2 (240V/208V AC). The best that I’ve ever seen out of a Level 2 charger is 7 kW (30A) shared between 2 spaces. Which means if both spaces are occupied you’re only getting 3.5kW.

    For argument’s sake let’s you have a 100 kWH battery w/350 miles of EPA range. You stop at the grocery store for 30 minutes and manage to snag one of their 7 kW chargers all to yourself, for the entire time! (which rarely happens in my experience…) So while you were shopping, your car picked up 3.5 kWH of power, equivalent to 3.5% of charge, or about 12 miles of range. Which is probably about enough to cover your trip to the store and back. So break even right? That’s all I need!

    But wait, there’s more… Most EVs out there are Teslas. And Teslas have a bit of an issue with ‘vampire drain’. Basically cool standby features like sentry mode, cabin overheat protection and always on cloud connectivity use power. In my experience anywhere from 2-4% per day (2-4 kWH) as long as it’s not summer in Florida, then the sky’s the limit for overheat protection… So if you picked up 3.5 kWH during your visit to the store you’ve *almost* covered your daily vampire drain and are losing ground overall when you factor in, you know, driving.

    So all this to say, public Level 2 charging is nice, but basically useless from a keeping your EV fueled up perspective, unless you’re spending the better part of the day in the same place. Like you park your car and leave it charging for 8+ hours while at work. Then it’s useful. But otherwise you’ll either need to charge at home or use a Level 3 (DC Fast Charger) as your primary way of staying fueled up.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      My brother charged his Cayenne Hybrid at work and home. Charging at work was free and your already there for 8 hours x 5 days so it was a perfect arrangement. In addition the charging stations were placed front and center so he basically had reserved parking. Granted not everyone will be this lucky but it allowed him to get like 70 MPG since he could do about 90% of his commute in EV mode.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Vampire losses have been greatly reduced on Teslas since the early days.

      The EVs I’ve had (Nissan, Hyundai) have none of that.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    At 40 minutes per recharge imagine the lineups at superhighway service centers on holiday weekends!

    Regardless, electric motivation economy will disappear when governments inevitably apply road taxes to electricity.

  • avatar
    dbsmith1720

    As they use to say in car ads: “Your mileage will vary” Not all EVs get the miles advertised because of weather, driver habits and terrain. All good points about the time taking to even get to a charger. Go look for the video about Thanksgiving 2019 in San Franfreako!

  • avatar
    NigelShiftright

    I really don’t have any problem with EV owners who love their vehicles and sing their praises in every combox. By all means let every opinion be freely uttered, and every vehicle be freely driven.

    My problem is with EV owners who vote for politicians who want to “incentivize” me to switch to an EV. Those folks can Eff Bloody Off.

  • avatar
    CGT

    I put a NEMA 14-50 dryer outlet in my garage for about $60. I use it to charge my Tesla overnight. Easy and fast.

  • avatar
    TR4

    All this talk of “Home Chargers” ignores the reality that any such device in a home is really a “charging point”, NOT a charger. A battery requires DC to charge it, but the home devices put out either 120 or 240VAC. It is the vehicle’s electronics that convert this AC into DC so in effect the vehicle has a built in charger. The charging point in the home primarily provides a safe connection with ground fault interrupting breaker and handshaking with the vehicle to ensure that power is applied in a safe manner. A “Fast DC Charger” is a true charger but it is extremely unlikely to find one of these in a home. They generally require 3 phase 480VAC input so this would be a HUGE upgrade for almost any residence. A good tutorial on this can be found at:

  • avatar
    dothetime

    I have a PHEV Hybrid
    Home charger is a must.

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