Green Technology

Going Green: 5 Things to Do Before Getting an Electric Vehicle

Electric Car Charging Station

There are a number of vehicle choices on today’s market, from economy cars to hybrids and even fully electric vehicles. While fully electric vehicles are fantastic both for you and for the environment, it is not just as simple as buying a new car and driving it home.

To really be prepared for a fully electric vehicle you need to take some important steps too. Some of those steps will depend on the brand and model of vehicle you are purchasing. Here are five things you need to do before you purchase an electric vehicle.

Get a Home Charger

Obviously if you are going to drive a fully electric vehicle, you are going to need to be able to charge it at home. The thing about home chargers is that there are a lot of choices. Choosing the home vehicle charging station that is right for you means you need to do a little research and understand some terms.

A plug-in charger is the simplest option, but not always the right one. First, some homeowners’ insurance will insist that you have a hardwired station instead. Along with that, you will need a few extra pieces to make a plug-in charger work, like an additional junction box. These are easier to change if they fail than a hardwired charger.

A hard-wired charger is just that, hardwired into your electrical system. If it fails or you decide to upgrade, you will need to hire an electrician. However, these systems can be more reliable even though they are more expensive to install.

Amps: You will need a dedicated circuit with enough amps to charge your vehicle for hours at a time. An electrician can help you choose the right one, but a know that typical stations pull 30 amps, which means you need a 40-amp circuit. However, the biggest charging stations pull 40 amps, which means you need a 50-amp circuit. Many electricians will recommend the higher amperage breaker anyway just in case you upgrade at some point, your home will already be ready to handle it.

Remember, a home charger is an investment, but one that is worthwhile. By the time you pay an electrician, you can be looking at just over $1,000. Not bad, but be sure you know what you want and need before you drop that kind of money.

Update Your Garage

You will be parking you electric vehicle in your garage, but because of the constraints of where the charger is, you may need to rearrange some things. Storage will have to be more organized, and if you park another vehicle in the garage as well, you will want to make sure that the charger is placed in a way that it will still fit as well.

Also, electric vehicles are often “smart” as well, and will connect to your home WiFi when they are parked in your garage to receive software updates and even factory repairs. If your router is far from your garage, or your signal is weak there, you might need to install a booster or another router just so your vehicle has access.

Update Your Insurance

Of course, you will be updating your car insurance, and rates may change for you. While electric vehicles are often filled with some great safety features, they also tend to be more expensive to repair if you are in an accident. Often insurance rates go up. Most often this is because the car will be more expensive to repair or replace if you were in an accident.

Comparing rates is vital. In a recent survey, some insurance companies were only about 7% higher for electric vehicles, but others were around 35% higher. Use this opportunity as a chance to shop around and compare rates.

These increases may go down as electric vehicles become more common and repairing them becomes easier and less costly. Until then though, plan on paying a little bit extra each month.

Check for Chargers in Your Area

You won’t just want to be able to charge your car at home. Depending on the range, you may want to charge on the go as well. Many businesses are starting to offer electric vehicle parking with charging stations available. Without driving around and looking, how do you find them?

There are websites like that will show you the location of chargers near you. This way you can plan shopping or other outings while knowing exactly where you can charge up if you need to.

For some electric vehicles with longer ranges, it is practical and cheaper to use them for trips or vacations. In that case, you will need to know where chargers are not only in your town, but elsewhere. The same mapping sites, or just using Google maps will help you plan your trip and your charges so you won’t find yourself stranded and in need of power.

Look at Alternative Energy Sources

Finally, one of the reasons you want to drive an electric vehicle is because it is better for the environment. However, you will still be using power to charge it, and there is some debate over the correlating impact. However, many charging stations are being powered with solar or other alternative energy sources.

You can do the same in your home. Look at solar options and other alternative energy sources. You can dedicate a solar panel to your vehicle charging station, or simply draw on power you create for the rest of your home using solar as well.

In some more rural areas, a windmill or another alternative power source may also be a practical choice. These systems are, of course, an investment. They will cost you initially, but the payoff and savings in the long run make them worthwhile.

Getting an electric vehicle is a great investment and often a wise choice, but there are costs associated with it initially, and if you are going to be ready when your electric vehicle arrives, you need to take some steps first. Follow this guide to make sure you are truly prepared.

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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