Can your electrical system handle your new Electric Vehicle

The most convenient place to charge your new electric vehicle is in your home. Drive into your driveway, plug in, spend time with your family, and wake up the next day to a fully charged vehicle. 

First things first

The first step before purchasing your EV is to have a licensed electrician evaluate your homes electrical system. A home inspection of your electric system should be done 100% of the time. An inspection done through pictures is not recommended.  Inspection done through pictures only is like having your doctor give you a physical checkup through pictures. Home inspections for vehicles should include an electrical load calculation of your home, electrical safety check of the panel, inspection of the service entrance cable, inspection of your grounding system, and location of your EV charger. The load calculation will determine how much power your home truly can handle. 

What type of Chargers are out there? 

There are three main levels of home charging equipment – the more powerful the unit, the faster your car will recharge. Basic charging is through a 120-volt outlet, which is the standard household size. Also referred to as AC Level 1 Charging, this takes about eight hours to recharge electric cars to 40 miles of range.

The next step up – AC Level 2 Charging – requires 240-volt service. It recharges about four times faster: Every hour of Level 2 charging adds 10 to 20 miles of range.  For even speedier recharging, consider DC Fast Charging equipment. These direct current units also use a 240-volt circuit but increase the amperage for a recharge rate of up to 70 miles in 20 minutes.

Pricing for AC and DC Level 2 equipment starts at around $650 and can exceed $1,500, depending on the equipment you select and local installation costs.

How much does it cost to charge your EV? 

As you budget ownership expenses for your electric car, don’t forget to factor in the cost of electricity for recharging. Instead of miles per gallon, the efficiency of electric cars is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles, or how much electricity the car requires to drive 100 miles. For example, the 2016 BMW i3 is rated at 27 kWh/100 miles. The 2016 Tesla Model S 70, in comparison, is rated at 38 kWh/100 miles.

To estimate how much it will cost to recharge your electric car at home, take a look at your electric bill to see how much electricity costs per kilowatt-hour (typically around 12 cents per kWh). At average electrical rates, it will cost $4.56 to drive the Model S 100 miles.

Is car insurance more expensive for an electric car?

If you are trading a gasoline vehicle for an all-electric one, be prepared to pay more for car insurance. According to NerdWallet, insurance premiums are 16 to 26 percent higher for electric vehicles (compared to their gas-only counterparts). That could easily add an extra $500 in annual insurance costs to your budget. An electric car’s higher purchase price and steeper repair bills are two of the factors that contribute to these higher rates.

What tax credits are available?

The most lucrative tax credit currently available is the Federal Tax Credit, which gives you a credit of up to $7,500. The funds aren’t issued as a check, but are instead applied toward the amount of federal income tax you owe at the end of the year. Consult with a tax advisor to better understand how this credit can impact you.

If you’re considering a Tesla, when you buy the vehicle will have a significant bearing on your eligibility for the Federal Tax Credit. Only 200,000 vehicles from each carmaker qualify for this bonus, and Tesla is expected to reach that limit sometime in 2017.

Many states also offer tax credits, tax deductions, and other incentives. For example, Indiana offers free in-home charging for some owners. For more information, contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, or check out this list of electric car state incentives provided by the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

You can learn more about the upcoming Tesla Model 3, or compare the Nissan Leaf and other hybrid and electric cars currently on the market. When you’re ready to buy, save money on your electric car through our Best Price Program. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more advice on shopping for cars and other money-saving tips.

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