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Electric Car Charging
One of the added expenses not often talked about on alternative vehicle sites is that of vehicle charging. While most are probably under the assumption that an electric car can just be plugged into the outlet and left to charge, the reality is that in order to get the manufacturer's stated charge times and possibly even warranty, you'll need a charger.
These chargers are installed into your garage or home near where the car will always be parked and have extra capabilities over and above what your vehicle has built-in for charging. They often offer higher charge rates with faster charge times, controllers to set timers for charging to get the best utility rates, and "exercisers" to ensure your vehicle's batteries are in top shape.
Other issues include charging while on the road, at work, or when you're out running errands and forgot to plug in the night before. There are even chargers being designed now that require no plug at all.
Home Charging Units
These are often sold over and above the vehicle's price tag and can cost two or three thousand dollars to purchase and install. For many consumers, this is a sticker shock when they realize the expense is not included in their new electric vehicle purchase.
For many, though, it can be worth it. A specialized charger can offer benefits like off-peak charging, vehicle charge monitoring and even remote control via a smart phone or Internet connection. They also often offer fast-charging, the ability to charge your car up to twice as fast.
Public Charge Points
More and more, public charging stations and charge points are appearing around the nation. Mostly in areas where electrics are commonly in use. These are public stations where EV drivers can park and plug their car in to charge either for a fee or as a courtesy.
Many businesses are sprucing up their "green" image by installing free charging stations in their parking stalls, for instance, while municipalities are often installing fee-based stations on public roadways.
Other options include battery swap stations that some vehicles - specifically Renault EVs using the Better Place system - can use. Owners lease rather than own their vehicle's batteries and can get them swapped for freshly charged ones at special swapping stations.
Cordless charging is also being experimented with and used on a small scale. This is an ambient charging method in which the vehicle is parked over a special device that charges its batteries without a cord. Similar to the charging mats made for cell phones and the like.
With thousands of electric vehicles being added to the roadways every year world wide, electric vehicle charging is becoming more and more of an issue that is being tackled in many ways.
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