Frequently Asked Questions
How do I charge my electric car at home?
Battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars come with a charging cord that plugs into any standard electrical outlet in your garage or house. This cord will typically provide 3-4 miles of driving range per hour of charging. Charging overnight can give you 30-45 miles of driving range. If you are buying a used car, make sure it comes with charging equipment. For faster charging, you can use what's called a "Level 2" charger. This type of charger uses a plug that is similar to what’s used for electric clothes dryers. If you own your home you may be able to have one installed, and many of the programs on this website will help you pay for it.
How much does a Level 2 charger cost?
The cost of buying and installing a charger at home ranges from $1,500 to $2,000, or more if you need an electrical panel upgrade. Many of the programs on this website can help you cover the costs of installing an at-home charging station, and your utility company may offer rebates as well. Find out if you can get help paying for a level 2 charger by using our benefits finder.
Is there anything faster than Level 2?
Yes, many public charging stations offer “DC fast” or “Level 3” charging. The DC stands for direct current, which is a fancy way of saying more electricity can go to your car than a Level 1 or Level 2 charger. Due to the high level of power of these chargers, they are not available for single-family home installations. Some Level 3 or DC fast chargers can fully charge your car in less than an hour, which is great when you are on the go.
How much will my electricity bill go up if I charge at home?
Changes to your electric bill will depend on things like your usage, your local electricity rates, and what time of day you charge your car. Most utilities have special rate programs for EV drivers and discounts for income-qualified customers. If you own your home, you may qualify for a no-cost solar electric system from the Energy for All program. You can check your eligibility by using our benefits finder.
Is a battery electric car cheaper to drive than my gas-powered car?
Yes. While the exact cost varies based on the price you pay for electricity, driving on electricity is significantly cheaper than driving on gasoline. On average in California, the electric charge equivalent of a gallon of gas costs just $1.83 (source: Energy.gov →). Plus you’ll never need an oil change.
I live in an apartment building (or other place without a charger). How do I charge my car?
Most apartment buildings do not have electric charging stations. If you can’t charge your battery electric car at home, you can use public charging stations. There are thousands of public charging stations all over the country, with more being built every day, and some of the programs on this website offer credits for public charging.
Make sure that you look for charging stations near you before deciding to buy an all-electric car. Find your nearest charging stations here: PlugShare Charging Station Map →
Are battery electric cars as safe as my old car?
Battery electric cars are safe. These cars must meet the same level of safety standards as all other cars. This means that an all-electric car is just as safe as a standard gas-powered car.
How long will the battery last?
Electric car batteries are designed to last more than 10 years. California law requires electric cars to have at least a 10-year or 150,000 mile warranty.
Will my insurance costs go up with an electric car?
Insuring an EV is just like insuring a gas car. The price of insurance will depend on the cost of the car, combined with other factors like your driving record, where you live, how much you drive, and your deductible. Insurance for battery electric vehicles tends to cost a little more because the cars are more expensive. You can get quotes from your insurance company before you make the decision to buy.