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Electric Vehicle Charging

If you’re one of the more than 4,600 Nebraskans with an electric vehicle (EV) registered in Nebraska this year, congratulations! According to www.fueleconomy.gov, your vehicle converts more than 77% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Conventional vehicles only convert about 12% to 30% of the energy stored in gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles only fare a little better, falling short of 40%. When you’re driving an EV, you’re driving the “top-of-class” for energy efficiency!

To garner even more efficiency, consider these practices for EV charging:

Do not fully charge the battery – To maximize battery life, daily charging should be to approximately 80% of battery capacity.  For occasional use and long trips, charging to 100% is fine, but everyday charging to full capacity can lead to decreased battery life. Another issue with charging to 100% is the vehicle regenerative braking will not engage, meaning the EV is not running at maximum efficiency.

Avoid extreme heat while charging – If possible, avoid charging in extreme heat. Although battery packs are designed for extreme conditions, it is better to charge during the coolest times of day so the battery thermal management system doesn’t get overworked.

Pre-heat during cold weather – For a fully electric vehicle (not a plug-in hybrid) the battery – rather than the hot gas engine – becomes the primary source of heat. When an EV’s heater is engaged in sub-freezing temperatures, the battery capacity will be greatly reduced and will not achieve full range. Pre-condition the vehicle by turning on the heater while the car is still plugged in, and wait several minutes prior to driving while the vehicle is still connected to the charger to maximize range in cold weather.

Charge at the right time of day – Night-time charging is best since the strain on the electric grid is often the lowest. Consequently, some local electric utilities provide special rates for off-peak charging. Many EV chargers have smartphone apps and network capabilities that allow users to program charging for certain times of day to get the most economical power.

Use an ENERGY STAR®-certified charger – With more than 240 unique models from more than 17 manufacturers, using a certified ENERGY STAR® EV Charger assures:

  • Energy Savings – EV chargers are typically in standby mode (i.e., not actively charging a vehicle) for about 85% of the time. During this time, certified chargers provide the same functionality as non-certified products, but use 40% less energy in standby mode.
  • Safety – Not all EV chargers are safety certified, including some from large online and storefront retailers. All ENERGY STAR-certified chargers are tested for safety by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Smart Technology – Most ENERGY STAR certified EV charger models are networked, allowing for remote power monitoring and control of the charging state of the connected vehicle. These smart grid-ready products allow some households and property managers to participate in special energy programs offered by some local electric utilities.

Your local public power utility wants to help you efficiently and safely get from point A to point B on the road. They may also provide EnergyWiseSM or other incentives to optimize charging your EV. For more ideas on how you can make your home or business EnergyWiseSM, contact them for more information.

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