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If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), one of your first questions will be: “How will I charge it? 


To answer this question, you need to understand some charging basics. 

Note: Technically speaking, the device that plugs into your electric vehicle IS NOT a chargerAn EV charger is a component inside your vehicle which receives power and charges your EV battery. The device that plugs in to your vehicle is called the electric vehicle supply equipment or EVSE. Most people call the EVSE a charger. For simplicity’s sake, I will also refer to the EVSE as a charger as well.  


There are 3 Types of Chargers

Level 1 Chargers: Every EV comes with level 1 charging cords. They plug into a standard wall outlet (110 Volt) and charge a car slowly, often taking 24 hours or more to fill a battery completely. While they have no installation cost, they can add more range overnight than most drivers use in an average day. On average, an EV will gain 4 miles of charge per hour on Level 1.

Level 2 Chargers: These chargers use a 240-volt connection, similar to many ovens and clothes dryers. EV owners often pay to have them installed in their homes. Some shopping centers and other locations where customers might spend several hours have also installed Level 2 chargers. A Level 2 charger can refill most EV batteries in about eight hours. An EV will gain up to 25 miles of range per hour while charging on a Level 2 charger. 

Level 3 Chargers (DC Fast Chargers): These large units are directly connected to the local electrical grid. Installing Level 3 chargers in private homes is cost-prohibitive for almost everyone. They are typically found at highway rest stops and can refill some batteries completely in under an hour. 


The answer to “how will I charge my electric vehicle?” depends largely on your living situation. 


Do you own your own single-family home?

This is probably the easiest and most satisfying situation for EV owners. Homes with a garage or off-street parking and adequate power can choose a Level 1 or preferably a Level 2 charger. An electrician can help you find out which level is best for your home. Homes without off-street parking are in a tougher situation. Certain neighborhoods in Cambridge and Boston, for example, do allow on-street charging with the charging cable inside an ADA compliant cover. This can work well if you have regular access to street parking in front of your home.  We recommend consulting your town or city for rules and regulations.  


Do you live in an apartment or apartment-style condominium? 

This may be a little complicated. As with single-family homes, certain neighborhoods do allow on-street charging with the charging cable inside an ADA compliant cover. Apartments with assigned off-street parking spaces and adequate power should consult with their landlord or condo association about installing Level 2 chargers. 


Do you have access to EV charging at work? 

Having access to Level 2 or Level 3 charging at your place of employment is a great benefit. Ask your employer about adding EV chargers to the property. 


Two EV Owner Perspectives 


EV Owner with Home Charging (John, Quincy, MA) 


I am a homeowner and have owned electric vehicles for over 7 years. I currently have two EV’s. I charge both vehicles the driveway using a “dual head” Level 2 charger. The dual head charger allows me to charge both vehicles simultaneously at half the power (16A) or one vehicle at full power (32A). Research indicates that you may extend the life of an EV battery if you routinely charge between 50% and 80%. Following the 50%-80% rule at home is very easy. Just set the maximum charge on the vehicle to 80% and the EV will stop charging when it reaches 80% every day. 


At least 90% of my charging is done at home. 

There are ways to save money if you can charge at home. Cities, towns, and local utilities may offer incentives for folks who are willing to charge during off-peak times.  For example, National Grid, which serves Quincy, MA offers a charging rebate program. Every time you charge at home during off-peak times, the app applies a credit to your electric bill. In the last 12 months, I have saved $161 through the program. By charging your EV during off-peak times, you will help to increase the efficiency and reliability of the power grid. Check with your local utility for charging rebates and incentives.  


There are many times when I choose not to drive my EV and use alternative transportation instead.  

For more around town destinations, I can either walk or take my e-bike. I am fortunate that Quincy has many bike paths and wooded trails. E-bikes give you that extra power boost to make it up steep hills. It is often quicker to get to my destination in Quincy by bike than it is by car due to the off-road options. 

As a lifelong Boston native, I use public transportation whenever I can. I live close to public transportation (MBTA Subway and Commuter Rail). If I plan to take a trip that is on one of the MBTA lines, I will “hop on the T” to save myself from the frustration of driving in heavy traffic, searching for a parking space, or avoiding paying for one. 


Occasionally, I may “opportunity charge” at a public Level 2 charger when it is conveniently located next to a restaurant or shopping center for example. 

If I am planning a longer road trip (greater than 150 miles) for the following day, I will charge up to 100% to minimize public charging stops. I will also use EV trip planning tools such as PlugShare, A Better Route Planner, and my vehicle’s internal navigation system to find and navigate to the most reliable public charging locations. 


EV Owner Without Home Charging (Ray, Charlestown, MA) 


I bought my Tesla over 4 years ago during the EV infancy period if you will. This was out of necessity since there are no assigned parking spaces where I live in the city and therefore no chance of plugging in at my condo. As a typical Boston resident, my options are basically limited to public charging. The Tesla Level 3 public chargers provided me with a convenient opportunity to refuel that other automakers did not offer at that time. Today, I would potentially make a different EV choice as Tesla is opening up its proprietary charging stations to all EVs of other automakers.  


For me, it comes down to convenience, as it was when I refueled my gas cars.

I open the Tesla app, locate the nearest public Level 3 charger and navigate there. The charging session usually lasts about 35-40 minutes, and I am on my way. This is significantly longer than a gas fill-up, but I don’t really mind. It gives me time to catch up on my phone with emails, texts, calls or just taking a break. 


ENE has a team of EV experts who can help you navigate your EV future.


If you would like to learn more about our municipal EV programs and services or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 


You may reach us by phone, at 1-833-443-8363 or email us at 

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