It’s good to have Andrew Bimeal (April 19, “Can you own an electric car?”) suggesting electric cars, but his Readers’ Forum letter could use some clarification.
Using 120v, a driver who drives 12,000 miles a year would need to charge for about 33 miles a day and that could take up to 10 hours. Nearly all homes have 240 volts with at least a 100 amp service.
Chevy Bolts will charge up to 32 amp and most Teslas will charge at up to 40 amps. That would add about 40 miles of range every hour and fill a totally empty battery in 10 hours or less.
Any home that doesn’t have enough power to charge one BEV (battery electric vehicle) for moderate use really needs upgrading anyhow. BEVs don’t need larger breakers than electric stoves or dryers have.
Unless your circuit breaker panel is hopelessly filled, most 240v dual breakers can be replaced with quads that will allow another 240v circuit for charging.
Teslas and other BEVs will monitor their connections, detect overloading and reduce their draw if necessary. So don’t upgrade your home’s power unless you needed to otherwise. A plug-in heater could use more energy than your battery vehicle.
BEVs are so efficient that they can go as far as a regular car for the 1/4 or 1/3 the cost. We have 200 amp service, a 50 amp heat pump, an AC unit, a hot tub, a pool, an electric stove, and an electric car we drive 25,000 miles per year. It’s great for camping and trailering, too.