Why Lower-Powered Chargers Are Ideal For Apartment EV charging

Joseph Nagle
July 4, 2023

Electric vehicles have become increasingly popular in recent years, and with good reason. They offer a clean, efficient, and low-cost alternative to traditional gas-powered cars. However, many potential EV owners are concerned about the availability and cost of charging stations. In particular, some are worried about not having access to high-powered charging stations, and whether this will limit their ability to drive their vehicle on a daily basis.

The good news is that, for most drivers, lower powered charging from a 20 amp NEMA 520 or 620 is more than enough to keep an electric vehicle charged for daily driving usage. In fact, it may be the best option for many drivers.

You Don't Drive Nearly As Much As You Think

Something that many people overlook is just how far they drive in a day. While there are no doubt those who commute well over 100 miles each way, for the majority of Americans its closer to about 40 miles total. When looking at EV charging from this perspective its becomes easy to see that even charging on a Level 1 outlet will suffice as its capable of adding 50-60 miles of range overnight.

Those one-off situations where you comeback with nearly 0% battery, shouldn't trigger much range anxiety either. Even if you came back completely drained, you would still be able to get 50-60 miles from a Level 1 and with our Orange 620 outlet you'd actually be able to add 150 miles of range back overnight. After a day or two of normal driving your vehicle will easily get back to a completely full state.

Beyond all of this, that is why there is a DC fast network. If you truly feel that you need to have a completely full battery after a one off event like this you can still easily stop by a DC fast charger and top up as needed. While this shouldn't be a daily usage as its bad for the vehicle battery and to be fair can be 3x as expensive, its ideal for those times when you need a full tank.

Being Fulled Charged Isn't a Requirement

The next thing to understand about electric vehicles is that they do not need to be charged all the way to 100% in order to be used. Most EVs are designed to be charged to between 20% and 80% of their maximum capacity. This is because charging a lithium-ion battery to 100% can actually reduce its overall lifespan, while charging it to less than 80% helps to preserve the battery's health and performance over time.

This means that, in most cases, a 20 amp receptacle is more than enough to provide a full charge for daily driving. Much like smartphones, most EV drivers prefer to charge up nighty to ensure they will have more than enough charge to get through their daily routine.

In addition, electric vehicles are designed to be charged using any number of standard outlets. This means that, in most cases, drivers do not need to invest in a special charging station or install a new electrical circuit in their homes. Instead, they can simply plug their vehicle into a standard wall outlet, and it will charge overnight while they sleep. Even the lowest power chargers provide enough charge to replace the energy used that day.

Lower Power Comes With Significant Cost Savings

One of the biggest benefits of lower powered charging is the cost savings. High-powered charging stations can be expensive to install, and they can also be expensive to use, as they draw a large amount of electricity. By contrast, charging from a 20 amp receptacle is much cheaper, as it requires lower gauge wiring cutting installation costs by more than half.

Additionally, lower powered charging is more convenient. Many drivers do not have access to high-powered charging stations, either because they live in an area where they are not available, or because they do not have the space to install one. By charging from a 20 amp outlet, drivers can avoid these issues and still keep their vehicles charged and ready to go. This becomes essential when working in multifamily housing like apartments and condos as most buildings simply don't have much spare capacity and the infrastructure upgrades to get high powered stations can be a major capital expenditure.

For most drivers, lower powered charging is more than enough to keep an electric vehicle charged for daily driving usage. It is a convenient, cost-effective, and efficient solution that can help to make electric vehicles more accessible and affordable for everyone. So, if you are considering an electric vehicle, don't let concerns about charging hold you back. With a 20 amp receptacle, you can easily keep your vehicle charged and ready for your daily commute.

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