Frequently Asked Questions

Which charging station should I buy?


New plug-in vehicles come with chargers located inside the cars, plus cords and other equipment to plug into convention 120-volt electrical outlets. For faster charging, though, many drivers will want to buy Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE), known informally as a charging station, in order to plug into a 240-volt outlet.


Where do you recharge a plug-in vehicle?


Most people recharge overnight in their own garage, carport or driveway, but there are public chargers for electric cars as well in parking garages and shopping centers. Federal, state and local governments and Air Quality Management Districts are funding installation of thousands of charging stations beginning in late 2010.


How long does it take to charge a plug-in car?


That depends on the amperage of the charging system and the size of the battery. Keep in mind that most of the time, the battery will not be empty when you plug in, thus reducing charging time.

To recharge a completely empty car battery from an ordinary 120-volt socket, the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid would need 10 hours and the Nissan Leaf EV would need 20 hours.


Using a faster 240-volt outlet and a charging station, the Volt recharges in about 4 hours and the Leaf in 8 hours.


Some states are beginning to install fast-charging stations along highways that can recharge a car to 80% of battery capacity in less than 30 minutes. Visit West Coast Electric Highway for more information about the project.


Can I charge a plug-in car with solar or wind power?


Yes. The cleaner the power, the cleaner the car. Using solar photovolteics (PV) or wind power at your home or business makes even more sense with a plug-in car. The investment in solar panels pays off faster when the solar power is not only replacing grid electricity but replacing much more expensive gasoline. EVs typically can travel 3-4 miles (or more) per kWh of electricity. If you drive 12,000 miles per year, you will need 3,000-4,000 kWh. Depending on where you live, you will need a 1.5kW-3kW PV system to generate that much power using about 150-300 square feet of space on your roof. Utility credits for the daytime solar power can offset the cost of charging the car at night. If solar PV isn't feasible at your home, find out if your utility offers a green energy option.


Contact Alliance Energy Group for information and pricing on solar assisted electric vehicle charging.