This past weekend we took our 2012 Rav4 EV, equipped with JdeMO, on a 400 mile road trip to Monterey. The Rav4 EV has an EPA rated range of 113 miles, and Toyota sold this electric car without a ‘Level 3’ DC quick charging port. Using the standard ‘Level 2’ charging port would require about 5 hours to add 100 miles of range to the battery on a public charging station. So even starting with a full battery, a 400 mile trip would require about 15 hours of charging along the way. This seriously hamstrings the car, keeps it tethered to the garage, and effectively makes it useless for long trips…. unless you have a tremendous amount of patience.
In my opinion, an effective EV needs to be able to charge on both standard ‘Level 2’ and DC quick chargers. For the average person Level 2 charging will take care of the bulk of our charging needs for commuting to work and driving around town, while DC quick chargers will be very useful for longer trips and weekend excursions. This post relates an example of how DC quick charging makes traveling in an EV much easier.
Editor’s Note: Steve also has a blog where you can learn more about his adventures with the Toyota RAV4 EV (something of a rarity these days) – here.
A Quick Word on Levels for those unfamiliar with charging an EV here’s a quick primer:
‘Level 1‘ charging is when you plug into a 110 volt outlet that you’d normally use for a lamp. Charging my Rav on a 110V outlet adds about 3 miles of driving range per hour of charging, would take over 40 hours to fully charge the battery, or 16 hours just to cover my daily 50 mile roundtrip commute. Nice to have that option, but not surprisingly I don’t use Level 1 charging.
‘Level 2‘ charging uses 200 – 240 volts and up to 40 amps for the Rav4 EV. A typical public charging station provides 208 volts and 30 amps, for about 6 to 7 kW of power. This yields about 20 miles of range per hour of charging, and is perfectly fine for the vast majority of my driving needs: commuting to work, running errands, etc. During a typical work week I charge every other day for 4 or 5 hours on Level 2. Many people who drive EVs charge their cars in the garage overnight while they sleep, so they wake up fully charged and ready to go.
‘Level 3‘ charging, or DC quick charging, comes in various forms. For example, the Nissan Leaf has a CHAdeMO port, the BMW i3 and Chevy Spark have the J1772 Combo port, and Tesla cars have their own proprietary charging port. See the corresponding charging plugs below.