Tag Archives: Level 2

Leveling up

To take advantage of an electric vehicle you really need a Level 2 EVSE installed at home unless your daily commute is roughly half of the vehicles range (I’m speaking of the “low cost” BEVs with a range of ~100 miles–a 300 mile Tesla Model S is a different story). At Level 1 charging rates a completely empty battery could take as much as 20 hours to charge–much longer than your average night time.

Level 2 EVSE’s can cost a few hundred dollars (the DIY versions) to up to about $1000. Do some research; you may find deals and/or rebates. For myself I found a $2500 rebate towards the price of the EVSE and installation from my power company. The deal also included me in the EV program for time-of-day rates on electricity (charging at night reduces my electricity cost by a factor of 4). The program was part of Bosch’s “Plug In Now” EV business (formerly SPX). Note 1: you can even search for incentives in your area on that link. Note 2: You need to have possession of the EV before you can use that program.

The installation process was pretty easy: They first send out a contracted electrician to quote on the installation (funny that it always seems to come very close to or above the $2500! at least from the few I’ve talked to who also did this). After the quote is approved by you and Bosch they order the EVSE. Once the EVSE arrives they schedule a date to come out an install it. Now the fun begins: You can start charging at Level 2 speeds (at this point you may not be billed for the EV separately yet as the power company has to then come out and install a 2nd meter).

My Bosch EVSE

My Bosch EVSE

Using a Level 2 EVSE won’t use any more power than the Level 1 EVSE: The car still charges to whatever battery level it has; it just does it faster. In many cases Level 2 charging is slightly more efficient and thus will use less power.

Now you may ask: What does that really do to your electric bill? Using all that electricity it must be a lot! (A question I just received recently) To that my answer is below: Exhibit A my EV electric bill for the first month:

First months electricity bill for the FFE

First months electricity bill for the FFE

Yup: One month of driving around in my car cost me a whopping $37.79! In our ICE Focus the same commute was costing me $200+ per month in gas.