Planning to Drive Electric? Call Us Before Plugging In
Published: May 7, 2020
Are you thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle in the near future? If so, let’s visit about the possible impact to your electrical service.
Purchases of electric vehicles are growing at an astronomical rate—an 81 percent increase from 2017 to 2018, according to the Edison Electric Institute, which tracks electricity use. As of September, 1.3 million electric vehicles are traveling on United States roads. That number is expected to soar to 7 million by 2025.
With the increase in the number of electric vehicles comes the need for more electricity to power them. That’s why it’s so important for members to let Rock Energy know if an electric vehicle is in your future.
The service to your home or business is sized to meet the demands as they existed when service was connected. Adding the EV charger creates a risk of overloading the wires and transformers powering your home. Overloaded services can fail and leave you in the dark with an uncharged EV.
It won’t be just your home in the dark. One transformer can power up to 10 homes. If the transformer fails, your neighbors also will be without power. A failed transformer also could cause problems down the line and result in thousands of power outages.
Our equipment often can handle an overload for a while, but its life span will decrease significantly when the rated capacity is exceeded over an extended period. That means additional costs for the co-op. And since we are a cost-of-service provider, those additional expenses ultimately are passed on to members.
So if you’re planning to buy an electric vehicle, give us a call. We will need to know whether a rapid, fast, or slow charging unit will be installed. These three main types of EV chargers represent the power outputs, and therefore charging speeds, available to charge an EV. A rapid charger, which requires at least 50 kW, can bring the majority of EVs to 80 percent charge in less than an hour. On the other end of the spectrum is a slow unit, which uses about 3kW and is best for overnight charging. For reference, a typical home will have a 5 to 7 kW load. So you can see, chargers can dramatically increase the loading requirements for a home.
After we gather the information we need, our engineering team will determine if the capacity of the present equipment is adequate. In situations where a significant amount of new load will be added, we might need to install larger service equipment or make other changes.
In addition to EV chargers, we also need to know if you plan to make any other changes that might significantly increase the amount of electricity you consume. Some examples include instantaneous water heaters, home additions, and farm equipment.
One simple call can save you from an unplanned outage and paying for costly damage to your equipment or the co-op’s. Please make sure you notify us as far in advance as possible to ensure that the required service upgrade will be available when you need it.