Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles

Clean energy for clean cars. It's a match made in heaven... or Mason County.

Electric Vehicles Charging StationElectric Vehicles (EVs) are the car of the future, and the future is now.

The transportation sector represents 46% of Washington State’s carbon emissions (cough!). Carbon reduction is a leading priority on both the federal and state level, while PUD 3 provides carbon-free electricity to our customers every day. Replacing our highest source of carbon, with our cleanest source of energy is a major win for our environment and Mason County.
 
We have over 30 years of experience helping customers install energy efficiency upgrades in their home or business through education, rebates, and incentives. We’re a trusted source for your energy-related services in Mason County and we’re well-positioned to meet the growing demand for utility partnership with electric vehicle infrastructure.

 

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Okay, let’s get the basics out of the way: Electric Vehicles run on energy stored in batteries. Batteries store energy as DC (direct current), but our power grid uses AC (alternating current). EVs have an on-board inverter to change the type of electricity from supplied AC to needed DC. You can plug any EV into a dedicated 120 volt, 15 amp circuit and get it to charge… but it’s going to take a while.

This is where EV chargers, or “Electric Vehicle Service Equipment” (aka EVSE) comes in handy. EVSE comes in three basic “levels”:
 

Level Electrical Requirements Benefits & Considerations

Level 1

120 Volt, 15 Amp dedicated circuit. Similar to a kitchen outlet. For a home installation, an electrician may or may not be needed to ensure nothing else is on the circuit.

All EVs have “Level 1” capability. You can toss an extension cord in your trunk and plug in to almost any outlet. Unfortunately, this method of charging is VERY slow.

Level 2

240 Volt, 50 Amp dedicated circuit. Similar to an oven or electric dryer. An electrician will be needed to install the dedicated 240 volt circuit. You’ll need to have room in your circuit panel, which will need to be inspected to ensure it can handle the added electrical load. Call PUD 3 before installation so we can help to make sure the electrical equipment serving your home can handle the added load.

A Level 2 EVSE allows for EVs to be charged more quickly than a Level 1 charger. Twice the power- half the charge time! The additional flexibility and shorter charging times allow for better utilization of Electric Vehicles and further reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Most EV owners will select a Level 2 at, or shortly after vehicle purchase.

Level 3, or “DC Quick Charge” (DCQC)

3-phase, 480 Volt, 50 KW load.

This is for unique commercial-type installations. Most homes don’t have this type of electrical infrastructure readily available.

DC Quick Charge stations are found along the I-5 Electric Highway; in central downtown or commercial locations; traditional gas stations; or in strategic tourist centers. They can charge an EV to 80% capacity in as little as 20-minutes!

These EVSE do the AC-to-DC conversion before the electricity gets to the car, so it’s able to deliver a higher amount of energy at a faster rate, greatly reducing charge times. Slick!

A painting on pavement of a gas pump with the letters EV on the front.

In a tourist-driven economy like Mason County, consider installing an electric vehicle charging station for your customer’s use. Studies show that electric vehicle owners are typically more affluent, and are more willing to spend money on accommodations during weekend road trips and get-a-ways in their EV.

In addition to a Level 2 EVSE (FUTURE-PROOF TIP: aim for 80 amps or better), commercial installations are encouraged to supply a NEMA 14-50 and a single NEMA 5-30 for a wide range of Electric Vehicle accessibility. Direct Current Quick Charge (DCQC) equipment, aka Level 3 Quick Chargers, are also growing in popularity and should be considered in strategic locations. Please contact PUD 3 if you are considering the installation of a DCQC EVSE. Unique electrical requirements apply.

Commercial customers who provide access to an EVSE are not a re-seller of electricity as a utility. Rather, they provide (for free or a fee), a service, namely to charge an Electric Vehicle’s fuel supply.

Learn more from this great EV Charging Guide for Businesses on PlugInCars.com

 

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