Can I charge an electric car with regular 110V or 220V household outlet or do I need to get a charging station?

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Answered by: 9561Mara, An Expert in the Green Car Lifestyle Category
Most electric cars are designed to be charged by a regular 110V household outlet or 220V utility outlet. They have battery chargers which are internal to the car so that you can charge the car practically anywhere at any time. A 110V household outlet can fully charge an electric car in about 10-20 hours. If you are charging your car overnight, this simply means that you plug it in before you go to bed and unplug it in the morning. Therefore, it only takes ten seconds of your time: five seconds to plug it in at night and five seconds to unplug it in the morning.

The only reason to get a charging station is so that you can charge your car in a shorter period of time in case an emergency arises. Fancy charging stations are designed to charge an electric car much faster than a regular household outlet. This can be useful if you are in a hurry or you know that you are going to need to make more trips than usual on a particular day. Many charging stations can give you a full charge in about two hours or a partial charge in much less time, depending on how far you need to go. If your car is a plug-in hybrid rather than a fully electric vehicle or you have a second car that runs on gasoline available to you, then you do not need a charging station at all.

Commercially produced plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are commonly sold with a home charging station that can be easily installed in your garage by an electrician. However, it is not necessary to get a charging station. You can always charge an electric car at night simply by plugging it into a 3-prong outlet with an extension cord. Charging your car at night has another advantage: most electricity companies give their customers a discount on electricity used at night. By charging your car at night, you may end up paying as little as two cents per mile instead of the ten cents per mile or more that you would pay for gasoline in a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle.

You can also use a 110V household outlet or 220V utility outlet to charge an electric car that you have built yourself. Several decades before the electric cars we see on the road today were commercially available, thousands of people converted their old, broken-down cars into electric vehicles. They did this by removing the internal combustion engines and gas tanks and replacing them with electric motors and batteries. Instead of using a fancy charging station, electric car converters simply used a small battery charger that they installed in their vehicles. By running an extension cord through the old gas cap, electric car converters freed themselves of their dependence on gasoline long before large auto manufacturers started catching on to the idea. If you would like to build your own electric car, there are many companies that supply electric car parts and many people who can help you with the process. The Electric Auto Association, a non-profit group committed to helping people obtain electric vehicles, is a good place to start.

Charging from a 110V or 220V outlet is very convenient. It means that you don't need to wait for your local politicians to decide to put charging stations at every gas station and rest stop if you want to charge your electric car on the go. You can simply bring an extension cord with you and ask the person at your destination if you can plug in your vehicle for a while. If you want to plug in your car at a friend’s house, make sure to bring a plate of cookies or other delicious gift with you. If you want to plug in your car at a restaurant or similar establishment, remember to tip heavily so that the manager will be more receptive to customers who want to plug in their electric cars in the future.

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