In an emissions study conducted by the Cape Cod Commission, the highest greenhouse gas emissions (55.5 percent) are associated with the transportation sector alone. To effectively mitigate climate change, carbon emissions must be cut in half by 2030—only nine years from now. We, therefore, need to start using electric vehicles as soon as possible. A key challenge to the adoption of EVs is the availability of charging stations.
With the recent installation of four electric vehicle charging stations at Heritage Museums & Gardens, the number of gas stations equals EV charging station sites in Sandwich—six each. Sandwich even has a Tesla Super Charger Station as part of this mix. That said, any home or town building or business with an outdoor 110 plug within 25 feet of a parking area can also be a charging station. So, just counting homes, if half the approximately 7,000 homes in Sandwich have an outdoor plug available, there are 3,500 more electric vehicle charging stations just in Sandwich. According to the Department of Energy, EV charging at home accounts for 80 percent of charging EVs.
The market for EVs is improving dramatically. Batteries are reducing in cost and improving in performance. The range/distance of new EVs is getting better every day, and recharging is faster. In addition, there are new models of EVs in production, where by 2035 every new vehicle could be electric. With the cost of renewable energy decreasing, the possibility of clean, renewable energy across the grid is increasing.
Shifting from pulling up to a gas pump and filling up in seconds to plugging into a charger and recharging your battery over time is quite a change to make. As mentioned, according to the Department of Energy, most plug-in owners charge at home over 80 percent of the time. For some, this could easily be 100 percent. If a vehicle gets 250 to 300 miles to a charge, that works for day-to-day travel. More businesses are providing charging stations at work. Some people cannot charge where they live or work and have to rely on EV charging stations that are often on an EV charging network.
There are a few levels of charging and supercharging. Level 1 charging is plugging into a standard household outlet. That is how I charge my hybrid EV. The car came with a cord that fits into one of the outdoor plugs next to my driveway. I could increase the outlet’s power to 220 (like what you use for an oven), but this “110 typical electrical line” approach works just fine for us. Level 2 chargers are faster and what you would find at most charging stations around town. Level 2 gives you decent charging speeds, around 20 to 25 miles of range in an hour. Level 2 chargers use an industry-standard plug called an SAE J1772. Tesla EVs can also use this cord (with an adaptor), but they also have a Supercharger connector of their own, which is even faster. Tesla Superchargers take about 20 minutes to charge to 50 percent, 40 minutes to charge to 80 percent, and 75 minutes to 100 percent. For Nissan and Mitsubishi owners, there is a very fast CHAdeMO and SAE Combo Combined Charging System (CCS). This provides up to 80 percent of your battery’s total capacity in around 30 minutes.
To find one of the 22,816 Level 2 public stations or the 3,653 fast-charging stations—just go to the web. There are networks of charging stations all across the country, and there are several websites that indicate where you can find charging stations. The largest charging networks are EVgo, ChargePoint, and Electrify America. You can also go to Plugshare, Open Charge Map, and ChargeHub. If you drive a Tesla, you can find one of the 800-plus Supercharging stations via their website. The best way to determine which fast-charging station will work with your car is to download the Chargeway app, which does not use all those new names and replaces them with a helpful color-coded number system.
Business owners—If you want to install a charging station at your workplace, you are in luck. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Electric Vehicle Incentive Program offers assistance with the cost of purchasing and installing EV-charging infrastructure for retail and office, residential, school and college, and hotel and public parking. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has recently added the new DC Fast Charging Station Program and enhanced their three rolling grant programs: Workplace & Fleets Charging, Multi-Unit Dwelling, and Educational Campus Charging and Public Access Charging Programs.
I hope this article charged you up to go out and buy an EV. With the incentive programs in place, the price of most EVs is very competitive with fossil fuel cars. Go to Drive Green for more information on these incentives: www.greenenergyconsumers.org/drivegreen. It is great to roll out of your driveway all fueled up.
Ms. Holt is a building, energy management and solar expert with more than three decades of experience. She lives in Sandwich.