Though most electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are designed or capable of being charged through a typical household outlet at only 120 volts, owners will want the capability of 240 volts.
The standard household current in the U.S. is 120 volts. 120 volts can charge most electric and plug-in hybrids on the market or soon to be on the market, but the charging process can be very time consuming. Vehicles such as the Tesla Roadster could take some 37 hours or more to charge at 120 volts.
However, by stepping up to 240 volts, you can cut the time down to 4 hours. Who would want to wait 37 hours when 4 hours will suffice? The answer is nobody. But the cost to add a high amperage 240 volt circuit to an attached or non-attached garage for charging purposes is high. Depending upon the amount of work involve, it could cost $10,000 or more to add a circuit.
This cost must be considered by those that plan to own an electric or plug-in vehicle in the future. New homes should be built with a high amperage 240 volt dedicated circuit in the garage as it's much cheaper to install when building than to retrofit after the fact.
To make electric and plug-in hybrids a feasible choice for those that travel frequently and need quick charges, a 240 volt circuit is a must. A mandate should be put in place by the federal government regarding new home construction and the requirement of such a circuit in the garage as it will be one step towards having millions of hybrids and electric vehicles on the road in the years ahead.
Source: Detroit Free Press