If you are going to invest in an all-electric car, you will most certainly want to minimize charging time as much as possible. If you do not have a full charge, you may more easily fall victim to the new emotion electric car drivers have been experiencing: people are calling it “range anxiety.” Range anxiety refers to the driver worrying whether he or she has charge enough in their battery cells to make it to their desired destination and back again. Since public charging stations are virtually nonexistent in most areas of the country, running out of charge would be like running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, no gas stations for miles around. Additionally, many electric cars have a very limited range, sometimes only about 100 miles or so.
Accelerating Charging Time
One way you can fight range anxiety is by having your batteries 100% charged before you leave the garage. Unfortunately, this can be a time-consuming task with many vehicles. For example, the Mini-E became available for lease through certain private companies in Los Angeles and New York in June of 2009. With the standard 110 V outlet, such as that which is standard in most residences, charging to 100% capacity took about 14 hours. Unfortunately, that is even longer than overnight, and could most certainly cause problems with your morning commute. However, by installing a 220 V charger in one’s home, charging time can be brought down to only three hours. The thing is, installing a 220 V charger requires a licensed electrician, a permit to do so, and about $2000. That’s a significant increase of investment.
As time goes on, charging stations will become more prevalent across the country. With these may come 420 V “fast-chargers,” which are estimated to given an 80% charge in as little as 5 to 30 minutes. For now, however, prospective buyers of all-electric cars should remain aware of the costs associated with installing a 220 V outlet in their home.
Electric Cars on the Horizon for 2011
There are two exciting electric cars on the horizon for 2011. One is the Nissan Leaf, which is all-electric and has a range of 100 miles per day. The second is the Chevy Volt, which has an onboard gasoline engine which acts as a generator to provide electricity if the batteries are depleted. This should help to allay range anxiety to a large extent. Moreover, its range will be nearly triple that of the Nissan Leaf. However, the Volt will cost about $7000 more than the $33,000 Nissan Leaf. Both qualify for $7500 federal tax credit.