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Why CNBC Is Flat-Out Wrong On Electric-Car Charging

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2011 Chevrolet Volt home charging

2011 Chevrolet Volt home charging

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The transition from gasoline to plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars will admittedly be a slow one, but sometimes we wonder if our colleagues in the mainstream media would rather the transition not happen at all. 

At least, that’s the message we got reading an article by the usually balanced CNBC on Tuesday when it published a Reuters-sourced article bearing the headline that “Most US Homes Aren’t Capable of Charging Electric Cars

It’s all in the detail

The headline suggests that the survey has concluded that most homes in the U.S. are incapable of charging electric cars, period. 

It didn’t. instead, it concluded that 78 percent of U.S. homes do not currently have existing 220 Volt, high current power outlets in their garages where a level 2 fast charging station could be installed. 

We’re hardly surprised. Historically, the demand for 220V supplies in garages has been pretty low, so architects have generally avoided the extra expense of building homes with something perceived to be unnecessary until recently. 

Getting ready for a charging station is easy

Ecotality Blink Level 2 residential charging station for electric cars

Ecotality Blink Level 2 residential charging station for electric cars

Enlarge Photo

But here’s the bit the article really glossed over - the finding that of the homes SPX studied which did not have a dedicated 220V power supply already in the garage, 99% could easily accommodate the extra wiring required to support a level 2 charging station.

Admittedly, owners of older homes are more likely to struggle when it comes to upgrading their homes for a level 2 electric car charging station than owners of newer homes,  but the fact remains that most homes can be upgraded to support an electric vehicle charging station with minimal fuss.

If you have a 110V outlet, you’re ready

While charging an electric car at 110V isn’t a particularly pleasant experience for cars with larger battery packs,  it is possible with any electric car on the market today. In fact, many 2011 Chevrolet Volt owners don't bother using a level 2 charging station, instead chargint their plug-in hybrids in around 6 hours using the included 110V charge cable. 

What does this mean? 

Simply put, it makes every single house in the country theoretically capable of recharging an electric car, and not every electric car requires a level 2 charging outlet to recharge in a reasonable amount of time. 

Clipper Creek LCS-25 Charging Station

Clipper Creek LCS-25 Charging Station

We’ve said it before

Like any report, survey or statement, the message you take from it depends on how the data is presented, and what you’re looking for within the results. 

But in this case it seems the draw of a juicy headline was just too strong.

[CNBC]

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Comments (9)
  1. Most homes have neither a garage nor a carport, and therefore the article is more or less accurate. And ALL homes have split phase 120/240V electrical systems. It IS however, wrong for them to imply (if they did) that garages cannot be easily wired with a 240V circuit. That is a very simple project and very cheap, despite the folks I've heard of paying enormous prices for level 2 setups. What's worse is that our bankrupt and stupid Federal govt is subsidizing this piracy.
     
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  2. Slight correction--historically, real estate developers avoided the extra expense, not architects. [Architects did what they were told.] ;-)
    Historically, here is some Straight Dope...
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1033/how-come-the-u-s-uses-120-volt-electricity-not-240-like-the-rest-of-the-world
     
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  3. Many newer homes have their electric service panel inside or just outside the garage area. This makes for a very simple addition of a 240 line into the garage. For our house, it only took the addition of the the 240 circuit breaker in the service panel and about 3 feet of conduit into a junction box on the inside of the garage ! It was less than two hours total time to install the Coulomb chargepoint.
     
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  4. CNBC is just another corporate mouthpiece, "lefty" or not. Of course they want to drag out a transition to anything other than the status quo their corporate buddies in big oil/coal/gas don't want. That's why government has to bribe them with huge 'kick backs' to play at all. My house plugs into the sun. Media really doesn't want to spread that idea.
     
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  5. Jansen, I was going to say "and imagine how much more money consumers will save by adding solar panels" - however I don't believe CNBC leans to the left. One only needs to see where their parent company puts its money for political support. But back to EVs and how this new tech is currently perceived by major corporations and industries... Remember the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks?" It may be easier for some to stay rooted in the past, but those same folks will soon be left behind in the dog house no matter how much they bark!
     
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  6. I agree with your comments about CNBC. What a bad blog. Everywhere here in the usa there are thousand of easy or inexpensive ways to hook up the 220 v. I had it done for under $150.00 by electrician to extend my power from my unused dryer outlet. I did have to buy for SPX though. Yes,110 volts is fine too if you just charge at night.
     
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  7. A lot of people have to fear the switch to electric vehicles, because it will mean that their jobs are endangered. So it's no surprise to me that there will be pushback and some outrite lies about ev's. Think about Manny, Mo, and Jack.
     
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  8. I live in SoCal and 99% of the houses here have garages. And most of those built after 1970, it not before, have 220v dryer outlets, mostly in the garage. And most people have gone to gas dryers because it's so much cheaper. So yeah, these guys don't get it.
     
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  9. The story itself is not wrong---only the headline is. The story clearly states in the first sentence "most homes are not equiped to QUICKLY recharge an electric car".
     
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