For some, the greatest appeal of owning a plug-in electric vehicle is that it can mean never having to stop at a gasoline station again. The majority of drivers will charge at home, typically overnight—enabling them to wake up in the morning to a full charge. This routine will be sufficient for most daily driving, although some drivers may wish to use additional workplace and public charging facilities when practical.
Plug-in electric vehicles can be charged using standard outlets found in your home (with a special adaptor that can be purchased at the same time as the vehicle), and also available at charging stations located in public places. Most drivers will find that home charging meets the vast majority of their needs. The outlets you are accustomed to using in your house are 110V and can charge an electric vehicle completely in 8 to 17 hours, depending on the size of the battery in your vehicle. Charging at 110V is known as “Level 1” charging.
If plugged into a 240V plug (known as “Level 2” charging), most commercially-available plug-in electric vehicles can fully charge 4 to 8 hours. High energy consuming appliances, such as clothes dryers, use outlets with this voltage. If Level 2 charging at home is desired, you can have a 240V plug installed to power the charging station. You should always have an electrician upgrade your wiring. The cost to do so generally ranges from $200 to 1500, depending on whether you need to upgrade your electrical panel. Information on getting this work permitted and inspected can be found on the city websites for both Fort Collins and Loveland.
Finally, in order to make charging while away from home quick and convenient, even faster charging stations are being installed in some public locations: Level 3 (or DC Fast Charge) devices, such as the one that was installed at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery on February 25 during the launch of Drive Electric Northern Colorado. DC Fast Chargers can charge a fully depleted battery to 80 percent capacity in 15 to 30 minutes.
To find your nearest public charging station, use our Charging Station Locator.