Electric Vehicles: Frequently Asked Questions

PSREC regularly receives inquiries about electric vehicles from PSREC members, so PSREC thought it would be helpful to respond to some of those frequently asked questions in this month’s issue of Ruralite

Why is PSREC communicating about electric vehicles?

It’s no secret that consumer interest in electric vehicles (EVs) is growing, and PSREC is providing information about electric vehicles and their charging requirements so that our members
can make informed decisions when considering an EV purchase.

Can I charge my EV using an existing outlet or do I need a special outlet?

All EVs come with a 110-volt- compatible (Level 1) charging unit which can be plugged into any standard household outlet. For an 8-hour overnight charge, this will enable traveling around 36 to 40 miles a day. If you typically drive longer distances or are in a hurry, a Level 2 charger takes about half the time and provides about 180 miles of range over an eight-hour charging period. A Level 2 charger must be installed by a licensed electrician.

What are my options for charging my EV at home?

Electric vehicle (EV) owners have multiple options for charging their vehicle at home. There are three common EV charging levels: Level 1, Level 2 and DC Fast Charge.

Level 1 Charging

Level One is the most basic charging level. If you choose this option, your EV will typically include an adapter that plugs into a typical 120-volt outlet. This is the easiest and cheapest charging solution, but it will take much longer to charge your EV.

Level 2 Charging

Level Two is about three to five times faster than Level One, but this level of charging often requires separate purchases and installation. The EV is plugged into a 240-volt outlet, which is used for larger appliances, like a clothes dryer. Most homes do not include a 240-volt outlet in garages, so the outlet must be installed by a licensed professional. You typically see Level 2 charging stations at shopping malls, office buildings and multi-family community spaces.

DC Fast Charging

DC Fast Charge stations are typically seen near high-traffic public areas, like gas stations, rather than in homes. This is the fastest charging level, with the ability to charge an EV at 80% in under 30 minutes. As EVs continue to become more popular, you can expect to see more DC Fast Charge stations throughout California.

Does the outside temperature affect the range of an EV?

Outside temperatures, particularly colder weather, can impact the range of an EV. Unlike a gas-powered vehicle, where the heat is mostly coming from the engine, an EV must produce cabin heat and manage an optimal battery temperature with energy that comes from the battery, which can reduce battery range.

Will an EV meet my daily driving needs?

If you are like most Americans and drive an average of 30 miles a day, an EV can meet your daily needs.

What kind of incentives are available for EVs?

Plumas-Sierra offers a $500 rebate on purchased or leased plug-in electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. There are a variety of tax credits, rebates and other incentives available for EV purchases. Visit the U.S Department of Energy website to learn about federal incentives available through the Clean Vehicle Credit program. Visit the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project website to learn about state incentives.

Should I let my co-op know if I purchase an EV?

If you purchase an EV, please let us know so we can better serve you. As more PSREC members buy EVs, it’s helpful to know where they’re located in our area so we can ensure we have the necessary infrastructure in place to meet charging needs and provide reliable power to our local homes and businesses.

We understand making the switch to an EV is a big decision. Whether you’re ready to make an EV purchase or wondering if an EV can meet your daily driving needs, we’re here to help you make an informed decision. Give us a call at 530-832-6032 or contact us by visiting our homepage.