You can’t see Electrons, but you can track them.

A guest blog by Plug’n Drive outreach coordinator, Emile Stevens. Emile Stevens is also the brains behind Emileage Inc.

A question we often get asked is what happens when my electric car is fully charged. Although it’s possible and sometimes convenient to manually start and stop charging via your smartphone, it’s not required.  Once charging is completed, the session automatically ends.  Some EVs offer the ability to set charging timers.

Regarding tracking costs, there are a number of ways to do this.  Depending on the vehicle, there may be a summary available on a display in the car of kWh of electricity consumed.  But this may not be an entirely accurate way to track your energy usage for charging at home, due to small efficiency losses and since you might also charge your car elsewhere, from time to time.

Network connectivity and monitoring is often a feature of commercial charging installations.  But some home charging stations do offer the ability to track energy consumption.  For example, a new product from ChargePoint is wi-fi enabled and thus offers the ability to track and monitor energy usage of your electric vehicle. Our partner Autochargers is currently taking orders for this new Home charging station.

 

Some automakers also offer specialized charging solutions for their vehicles that are capable of providing energy usage details along with other advanced features.  For example, BMW offers their iWallBox Pro solution which can automatically notify you of your electricity consumption via e-mail.

 

Most home charging stations are basic units which simply provide a safe and reliable way to charge your EV.  However, it’s possible to have your electrician install a separate meter to measure the amount of electricity used by your vehicle.  There are a number of products which offer this ability.  (For example, EKM Metering, Leviton Sub-meters and Sun Country Highway), which can work for any charging station. You could also install a whole home energy monitor.

Finally, if you typically only charge at home using the 120V cord-set that comes with every EV, then a simpler solution might be a device like the Kill-A-Watt meter, which plugs in between your cord-set and wall-receptacle to track usage.

 

Keep in mind that on average, the typical electrical cost to charge an EV using off-peak rates, is approximately $30/month.  This varies based on distance driven, your local utility rates, etc.

Emile Stevens

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