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This question should be on the FAQ for new plug-in vehicle owners: should I shell out $2,000 for a wall-mounted 240-volt charging station that can fully recharge my electrified vehicle in approximately eight hours, or will a much less costly 110-volt setup suffice?

While there's no set-in-stone answer to this question, Dave Zehala, executive vice president of Plug Smart, is betting that, for some, 110 volts will do the trick just fine. Plug Smart makes the chipset that allows GE's 240-volt WattStation to communicate with PCs and smartphones, but Zehala says Plug Smart is working on a connected 110-volt charger, too.

Zehala envisions the cloud-connected 110-volt unit selling at Home Depot or Lowe's for less than $400 and, even though it will likely take ten or so hours to charge a Chevrolet Volt or Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid with a Level 1 setup, Zehala says internet connectivity means that plug-in owners can use their smartphones or PCs to dial in off-peak charging – just like with that über-expensive 240-volt unit.

Simplicity is key. Zehala told PluginCars:
You'll go down to Home Depot and there will be a version of our smart socket. All you have to do is plug it into a socket, and then hang it on the wall. You'll be able to meter the load, accept all the pricing protocols, talk to smart meters and your telephone.
But don't let Zehala's words mistakenly convince you that 110 volts is sufficient for pure electric vehicles. A Level 1 unit takes ages to fully charge a typical electric-only vehicle (somewhere between 14 and 30 hours). So, 110 volts will not suffice for empty-to-full overnight charges if you've got an electric-only ride. If your commute is a short one and you have a gas-powered back up, a low-cost 110-volt cloud-connected unit might make perfect sense, no?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      emperor koku
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds fine for a Volt or plug-in Prius.
      • 4 Years Ago
      SMART METER PRIVACY VIOLATIONS. 1. Must-See 4-minute youtube video on Smart meters: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8JNFr_j6kdI SMART METER HEALTH PROBLEMS AND CANCER. 2. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION on May 31 2011 placed the Non-ionizing radiation coming from Wireless smart meters (and some other wireless devices) on the Class 2-B Carcinogen List. 
http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf 3. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH months ago (Feb 2011) found biological changes in the brain after only minutes of exposure to non-ionizing radiation. 
http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/305/8/808.abstract 4. LABORATORY SCIENTISTS have observed
(1) Human Cell Damage
(2) DNA Chain Breaks
(3) Breaches in the Blood-Brain Barrier
from levels of non-ionizing radiation lower than emitted by WIRELESS Smart meters. 
http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/cc-video/ 5. INSURANCE COMPANIES Hired Independent Laboratory Scientists and these scientists also observed Cell Damage and DNA Chain Breaks and now the Insurance Companies will NOT Insure Liability damage from Wireless Smart meters and other wireless devices.
TV Video (3 minutes): 
http://eon3emfblog.net/?p=382 
6. WIRELESS SMART METERS – 100 TIMES MORE RADIATION THAN CELL PHONES.
 Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes): 
http://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/04/20/daniel-hirsch-on-ccsts-fuzzy-math/ 
 7. WIRELESS SMART METERS – CANCER, NERVOUS SYSTEM DAMAGE, ADVERSE REPRODUCTION AFFECTS.
Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes): 
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=3946 
 8. THE KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE IN STOCKHOLM (the University that gives the Nobel Prizes) ISSUES GLOBAL HEALTH WARNING AGAINST WIRELESS SMART METERS.
 2-page Press Release. 
http://www.scribd.com/doc/48148346/Karolinska-Institute-Press-Release 
 9. RADIATION MEASURED FROM SMART METER MOUNTED ON A HOME (once active in the utility system) SHOWS RADIATION TRANSMISSION PULSES APPROXIMATELY ONCE EVERY FOUR SECONDS 24 HOURS PER DAY traveling through the bodies and brains of the inhabitants of that home.
Youtube Video (6 minutes, 1st minute is sufficient): 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRejDxBE6OE Note: many of the tests on non-ionizing radiation (the type of radiation emitted by smart meters) have been done using instruments other than smart meters because smart meters have only been in people’s homes for a very short time. But as a Wireless smart meter emits 100 times more radiation than a cell phone, it is not difficult to project. If a machine gun (smart meter) fires 100 bullets in the same time that a pistol (cell phone) fires one bullet, it is not difficult to project the harm that the machine gun can inflict, even if the tests were done with the pistol.
        miles
        • 4 Years Ago
        Your tinfoil hat fell off. Here's a blurb from Bob Parks, a physicist at the U of Maryland. He enjoys poking holes in the cell radiation hysteria that erupts once in a while. Here's the source ink: http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN10/wn052110.html No link to brain cancer was found in a 10 year, $14 million epidemiological study of cell phone use in 13 countries (the US was not among them); the study was led by the World Health Organization (WHO). So is it safe to use cell phones? Uh, the report doesn't exactly say, instead it concludes that "more study is needed." On the contrary, the WHO study itself was not needed. I remind you that flawed epidemiology led to the great power-line scare more than 20 years ago. Publicized by a series of ignorant articles in the New Yorker http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN89/wn082589.html , it was a costly diversion that morphed into the cell-phone scare on Larry King Live http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN93/wn012993.html . Epidemiology is a useful tool for identifying possible environmental hazards, but it is not science, or a substitute for science. The science of electromagnetic radiation is clear: photons with energies below the photoelectric threshold (extreme blue-end of the visible spectrum) are not cancer agents. The energy of the photoelectron threshold is about 1 million times the energy of a microwave photon. Blueberry consumption would have a greater chance of being linked to cancer. Even as I send this off, however, my mail is full of warnings from nonscientists about the dangers of cell phones.
      Eideard
      • 4 Years Ago
      Always entertaining to see all the "sophisticated" problems y'all come up with. Our only problem is gettng to where we have choices - not living in an especially populous state. We plan on an EV, daily commute is 24 miles, our public utility doesn't vary the cost of electricity by time of day. Just waiting for Ford/Nissan/Chevy/whoever to let us buy a mass proeuced electric automobile n New Mexico.
      PR
      • 4 Years Ago
      This meme about charging every night from an empty battery to completely full is utterly false. I keep seeing silly things like saying it will take only a few hours to recharge a Volt battery at 110, but you could NEVER have a 300 mile Tesla Model S and just charge on 110, because it would take days to recharge. No! If I drive 20 miles a day in either car, it will take exactly the same amount of time to recharge at home whether you own a Volt or a 300 mile range Tesla Model S. This is because you only have to refill what you actually used from your battery, you don't have to refill from empty to full. The benefit of the 300 mile range Tesla is that if I drove 200 miles on a Sunday drive, and then put it on a 110 plug and put just 50 miles worth of charge in it, I would still have 150 miles range for work Monday morning. If I commute only 20 miles each weekday and put only another 50 miles worth of charge with 110 into it each night, I would be back to full by the weekend. The LONGER the range of the battery the LESS you need a Level 2 or Level 3 charger at home!!! This is because you DO NOT need to drive away from home every morning with a full battery any more than you have to fill up your gas tank every single morning before driving your gas car. Use public fast chargers for longer drives and multi-day road trips, so there is no need to worry about having one at home.
      uncle_sam
      • 4 Years Ago
      In Germany we have everywhere 230 (16 A) as standard. And german ovens operate at 400 Volts. Most houses have an 400 Volts ready to use, so juicing up your ev would be even faster. BUT there are NO EVs in germany. (only 2000 cars+/-) 110 volt surley is sufficient for some ppl. but with 240 you are more flexible. after getting home from a trip with an nearly empty battery, you have to wait 13 hours, for some folks this is too long if you need your car the next day. It depends on ones needs so this is a article is nothing new....
      Spec
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah, 110V is fine for the Volt and an advantage that it has. You can get a full charge overnight from any outlet. And that was also an advantage of the Aptera . . . it was so efficient that you could get a 100 mile charge from 110V overnight.
      Tom Shire
      • 3 Years Ago
      Besides saving time, is charging with 240v. more efficient than using 120v.? THAT is the question this blog post fails to address.
      Roy_H
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's really simple, if you don't NEED a $2000 to $4000 charger, don't buy one. These more expensive chargers will be much cheaper in a year or two, so the longer you can hold out the better.
        amtoro
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        For readers that are not familiar with these terms, the Charger for L1/L2 (120V/240V) comes in the vehicle, be this a Tesla, a LEAF, a Prius, Volt, etc. These devices are called EVSE or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment and are smart cords that communicate with the vehicle before delivering current. I bought a SPX Power Express directly from the manufacturer for $750 + tax + s&h; the electrical installation cost me $150. And if bought before December 31st, there is a federal tax credit for 30% of the EVSE cost that expires this year.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 4 Years Ago
      sigh. my days are constant onslaught of human stupidity. both level 1 and 2 are extension cords. other than a little signal and a relay to turn it on or off that is exactly what it is. someone could sell you people a coat hanger for 2000$ if they just call it a clothes station and make it more difficult to use.
        EZEE
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Beats the he'll outta me why some people call liberals 'elitists.'
      • 4 Years Ago
      ABG, do you know why 110 charging makes no sense in the US? FOr the same reason 220 makes no sense. The us dropped the 110 standard ages ago, we have 120 and 240! If you are charging on 110V then you should call an electrician because there is an issue with your home wiring or you have serious voltage sag. I particularly like comments that say 110 and 240, somehow doubling 110V gets 240? ABG, try to get some basic concepts correct because this blog does more to spread poor information then inform people with proper facts. Lets not forget that an EVSE of "charge cord" is NOT a charger, those are on the car.
        Dave R
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well said - bugs me too when people talk about 110/220V when it's clearly not.
      Jelly
      • 4 Years Ago
      VW Bulli Microbus will charge up its batteries in under 1 hour on 240V in the UK, so things will get better especially with the 183 mile range of the VW Microbus which would last me all week for trips to work.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Jelly
        your statement struck me as wrong (the Bulli doesn't exist and you probably can't get that powerful plugs in UK) but it made me think, it might well be possible to charge a typical EV in 1 hour from 240V although you would have to hack a few standards. say a typical EV has 24kWh battery, from 240V in 1 hour that's 100A. the power company and electrician will probably object to 100A flowing through a standard plug (but come to think of it you do have these ridiculously large plugs in UK, though still rated only 13A) but if they were willing to do it it might just work. 100A is no problem for the power company to supply
          DarylMc
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          There has probably been about 100 years of enginerring and design to come up with the load ratings for electrical equipment and that 13A plug so that it will last for a reasonable time and be safe. Then you want to overload it by 700%? 100A @ 240V single phase is not a huge problem for the distribution network to supply to one home but it would be a huge concern if 2 or 3 of your neighbours were doing it at the same time. Most homes I am familiar with are not wired to handle 100A so it might be something for people to consider if they are building.
          skierpage
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          @DarylMc , DanF can't and won't learn even basic electrical theory when it comes to charging and electrical standards. For greater current you should use a different connector engineered for it, there are many IEC and NEMA ones . But current draw is determined by the resistance presented by the car's on-board charger, and a car mustn't pull more amps than the circuit into which it's plugged can handle. DIYers (with more talent than DanF) may be able to hack their car to tell it "Pull 7 kW, I've plugged you into my 30 amp dryer outlet". But in the real world, the way high-power charging works is "Supply equipment provides its current capacity to plug-in electric vehicle" and the car must not pull more amps than that, therefore you need additional pins carrying a signaling protocol.
      Jim McL
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have a 24 kwh Think City EV, and I usually just use the 120 volt EVSE since my commute is so short, about 20 miles. If I use the 240 volt EVSE, I often set the timer for only 2 hours of charging or less. So even for BEVs, the 120 volt option can make the most sense a lot of the time. But I always use the 240 volt job when going out of town. Of course, once there are more public charging stations I might not.
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