Does purchase of electric cars call for home wiring upgrade? One can do a great service to the environment by switching over to electric and hybrid vehicles. Such a switch will not only help the world solve the fuel crisis, but also provide monetary savings.
Prospective electric vehicle buyers usually stop short when they find out that they need to hire an electrical contractor to upgrade the electrical wiring of the house in order to enable charging electric cars at home. An electric car does not use any fuel. The motor is powered by lithium-ion or hydrogen fuel-cell.
Since fuel is not used, there will be no hydrocarbon emissions. Hybrid vehicles will have smaller quantities of emissions. Most of the automakers manufacture their own hybrids.
However, hybrid vehicles in the true sense are just starting to be easily available. Nissan Leaf is one popular electric vehicle manufactured in large numbers by a big carmaker.
The battery of the vehicle needs to be recharged only after driving it for about 100 miles. A person who uses the electric vehicle a lot will have to recharge the batteries frequently.
Many companies are working on establishing public charging stations. In a public charging station, an electric vehicle user can just drive in and get the batteries charged. As of now, such stations are not widely available.
According to research reports, approximately 80% of charging will have to be done at home. This is because many drivers cannot take the time to charge the batteries at a station. It is, therefore, a must to hire an electrical contractor to modify the wiring at home.
The batteries of both hybrid and electric vehicles are required to be recharged. The hybrid models that are currently available require a standard 110 V outlet at home, but electric cars need 220V outlet. Of course, 110V outlets can be used for charging electric vehicles, but it takes about 24 hours to charge the batteries.
As of now it is not practical, time consuming and increases the electricity consumption charges of the household as many of the electric vehicles available on date are able to cover only 40 miles on charging the battery fully.
A dedicated circuit with a 220 – 240V outlet is the best cost effective option. In such a setting the battery can be charged in 4 to 6 hours. Although, the American standard for home wiring is 110V, each home will have a 220V outlet in the garage for the dryer.
An electrical contractor can asked to check if this would be sufficient or a new outlet has to be provided. An upgrade of the wiring will be required in older homes.
According to recent estimates, it costs up to $2,000 to upgrade the home electric wiring to provide a charging facility for electric vehicles. In the case of older homes, it may go up to $10,000. This is because old wiring may have to be replaced, new breaker may be required to be installed and the electrical grid of the home may have to be rewired to accommodate the car.
An estimate based on the condition of one’s home will have to be obtained by contacting a licensed electrical contractor. The manufacturer of Leaf, Nissan, will depute an electrical contractor to a prospective buyer’s home to assess the upgrade requirements, including cost. It is recommended that
you learn about the modifications required to be done at home to provide the charging facility before purchasing an electric vehicle.
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