How to charge an electric vehicle

Close up image of an electric car plugged in

Charging is easy, and there are many options

Charging is simple – you plug in your car and go. Most drivers charge their vehicles at home or at work, but public charging stations are also available. In fact, the network of charging stations is growing.

Costs vary, from free for many public Level 2 chargers, to 35 cents per kWh at one of the BC Hydro-installed DC fast chargers around B.C.

One thing: If you're using a public Level 2 charger, practise good EV etiquette and move your car once it's charged. Don't be the driver who uses it as a free overnight parking spot long after the car is charged.

Level 1, 120 V

  • About 80% of vehicle charging happens at home, and often with Level 1 chargers. While it can take 8 to 16 hours to charge a vehicle from zero to a full charge, most charging is for smaller amounts and "top-ups".  An overnight 8-hour charge is enough to power a battery electric vehicle for 40 km.
  • Simply requires a standard 120-volt outlet – on a dedicated circuit with no other loads – found at homes and businesses
  • Costs charged to your BC Hydro bill at regular residential rates

Level 2, 240 V

  • A 1.2-hour to 2.4-hour charge is enough to power a battery electric vehicle for 40 km. On those rare occasions when you need to charge a fully depleted battery to full, it generally takes four to six hours.
  • Can be installed outside your home or in your garage, but are increasingly common at businesses
  • Most public stations don't charge fees for charging, but many require drivers to join a service network

DC fast charger, 480 V

  • Charging time from a depleted to full battery is 30 minutes or less
  • 30 B.C. stations so far, plus 8 Tesla Superchargers
  • BC Hydro-installed stations set up for payment charge 35 cents per kWh; Tesla Superchargers free for Tesla drivers

Did you know?

It costs just over $2 to charge a Nissan Leaf, at your home, with enough power to take it 100 km.