Getting Your Garage Ready for the Electric Car
Switching to an electric vehicle (EV) entails switching mentality, frame-of-mind, and garage. Deciding to buy an EV needs careful planning and consideration as these cars come with very specific needs that vary from one model to the next. A garage needs to be equipped with careful planning in order to guarantee the best possible maintenance of your car.
Generally, an electric car requires less space due to its very little maintenance needs and tools. When compared with the more common vehicles which use an internal combustion engine, both the electric and the plug-in hybrid vehicles offer much lower maintenance costs. This is due to the fact that electronic systems are much less likely to break down. Also the fewer mechanical systems in an EV last longer due to the better use of the electric engine. As a general guideline, you should keep a source of soft water for the batteries, the chosen re-charging system, cleaning agents for the connections, a compressor for tire inflation and brushes for the motor.
Another consideration to be made is re-fueling or re-charging specifications as these vary from one model to the other and are regulated by law. There is a wide range of options for re-fueling these types of cars and each come with different garage set-up needs. For instance, a PEV which is refueled directly from a wall socket will logically need an electric wall socket that is situated well for comfortable refueling of your specific PEV car model. Solar powered electric cars, on the other hand, need a strong garage structure that can hold the weight of solar panels. Wind powered cars need space for a wind turbine, and a structure that can support this safely. Also, such a power source needs to be positioned in a manner that allows the maximum exposure to wind.
PEVs come in 3 levels of charging capabilities and therefore 3 levels of charging equipment needs. Level 1 charging can be as simple as a lead from the car to a weatherproof wall socket. Level 2 charging at low current can be possible with a higher voltage lead that is standard across Europe. In certain cases, level 2 charging is regulated by local laws and would therefore require a dedicated charging station that is equipped with a high-capacity cable running to the car with connectors that protect the user from the higher voltage. In the U.S. electrical regulations demand that the charging stations are constantly wired to an AC outlet and the cable to have an interlock that de-energizes the EV connector and its cable whenever the electric connector is separated from the electric vehicle. Level 3 charging requires an electrical device, known as a rectifier, to be able to convert alternating electrical current into direct current (DC). This is an external device having a special electrical connection, cables and other signaling devices. In the case of level 3-charged cars, the garage need not have an electric source since these cars can only be charged at regulated stations. When considering this type of charging however, keep in mind the availability of local charging stations. When these are infrequent or unavailable, go for cars with level 1 or 2 charging capabilities and equip your garage adequately.
The electric car will soon become a daily reality throughout the world. Make sure you get your garage ready for it, so you too will be able to reap the benefits of an electrical vehicle.