After you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of owning a hybrid vehicle from performance to maintenance costs the reality sets in for charging your hybrid vehicle. Ensuring access to a charging station throughout the NC Triad is essential for hybrid and EV owners.
The availability of charging stations in Durham, Burlington, and Greensboro has grown in the last several years. However, you may also want to consider charging at home to maximize your vehicle’s battery life in the event charging stations are not readily available throughout your commute.
Consider Home Charging
If you have ever thought of a home charging station for your hybrid, it’s almost like having your own gas pump in your garage. One of the biggest conveniences of having a charging station at home for charging your hybrid vehicle is not having to wait around while it charges; you can simply plug in when you get home and unplug when you’re ready to drive again. Additionally, you can even install smartphone or tablet apps to tell you when your vehicle is done charging.
To charge at home, you will either need a Level 1 EVSE or Level 2 EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment). Both are efficient, however the Level 2 EVSE offers a faster charge, though tends to be more expensive in regards to your utility costs.
Home Charging Station Set Up
The Level 1 provides charging through a 120 volt (V) AC Plug which adds 2-5 miles of range to a vehicle per hour of charging. Using a Level 1 EVSE does not require special equipment aside from an outlet, but you will require a dedicated branch circuit. Ensure the outlet does not supply any other appliances with power prior to charging your hybrid or EV, such as a refrigerator or lighting.
The Level 2 provides charging through a 240 volt (V) AC Plug and does require drivers to install special equipment in addition to a dedicated electrical circuit of 20 to 100 amps. With this plug, you can see 10 to 60 miles of range per hour of charging your hybrid vehicle.
Some states offer incentives for residential Level 2 EVSE, but the cost before incentives and installation is typically between $500-$2,000. If you do have proper equipment for a Level 2 EVSE without additional equipment installation (newer homes typically do) you could save some money up front.
There are several brands of Level 1 or Level 2 EVSE plugs on the market, and they all have their pros and cons. More importantly, most are affordable enough to purchase and they are of course an investment. ClipperCreek makes easy to install, durable, and fair priced EV charging stations which are available on their site.
Although ClipperCreek states they are easy to install, it is recommended to have a licensed and experienced electrician install yours. Be sure to search for competing estimates from reputable electricians who have experience installing charging stations or the like.
Charging Stations in NC Triad
If utilizing or purchasing an EV for home charging your hybrid vehicle isn’t in the near future, you still have options for keeping your vehicle charged around the Triad. With over 200 charging stations across NC, and more popping up every day, the Triad is an especially popular region for hybrid drivers.
The Triad houses upwards of 75 charging stations alone, and a map of each one can be found here. If you’re traveling out of town, the map also offers charging stations across the United States. *Map courtesy of PlugShare.
Tips For Staying Charged
Are you planning a road trip soon? In addition to the map of charging station locations provided above, there are some useful tips to help keep your hybrid/EV charged while you’re on the road.
- Avoid Hard Braking. By anticipating stops and braking moderately, you allow the vehicle’s regenerative braking system to recover energy. The recovered energy from your vehicle’s forward motion is then stored as electricity.
- Maximize Accessories. Consider pre-heating or pre-cooling the cabin of your hybrid or EV while it is plugged in. This helps maximize and extend the vehicle’s electrical range.
- Don’t Over or Under Load It. Although it’s sometimes unavoidable, try to never let your vehicle’s battery become completely drained. Pushing your battery to the max is also not recommended, as it does not leave room for energy stored during regenerative braking.
- Map Your Drive. Before your road trip, try to map out key locations along the route that offer charging stations. These can be found at some rest stops, gas stations, or supermarkets and will allow you to kill two birds with one stone.
More questions on all things hybrid and electric vehicles? Be sure to follow The Hybrid Geek for monthly articles with helpful tips on extending your hybrid’s life.