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 charging station, practise good EV etiquette and move your car once it's charged. Be the driver that gives others the opportunity to charge as well.

New for 2019: BC Hydro introduces fast charging app, RFID card

BC Hydro is rolling out two new options for charging at BC Hydro fast charging stations in 2019, a newly-launched BC Hydro EV mobile app, and a BC Hydro EV RFID card you can use to start charging without mobile access. Download the BC Hydro EV app at the App Store.

For the spring of 2019, the BC Hydro EV App and RFID card will work at BC Hydro stations formerly on the FLO network (mainly in the Kootenays), as well as at select Lower Mainland locations. By the end of the summer, access will be extended to most stations on the BC Hydro network, including those currently carrying the Greenlots sticker.

Level 1, 120 V

  • Most 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 for most cars is an 80% charge in 30 to 40 minutes.
  • 55-plus BC Hydro stations so far, plus a network of Tesla Superchargers
  • While many fast charging stations in B.C. are free, some are set up for a payment charge of 35 cents per kWh. At a cost of about $6 per 100 km of range (about three times what it costs to charge at home), you’re paying for the speed and convenience.


Did you know?

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