Frequently Asked Questions
- What do I need to know about purchasing an EV?
1) Find a plug-in vehicle that’s right for you
Several major auto manufacturers now offer all-electric and plug-in hybrid EVs. In fact, there are now more than 20 models on the market. Check your local dealer’s website for details on specific models that meet your driving needs. Regardless of what type you choose, driving an EV on electricity can reduce your car’s fuel bill by 75%!
2) At-home charging
Ask your auto dealer what the vehicle manufacturer recommends for getting your home plug-in ready. Charging times vary depending on how far you drive between charges, the speed of your charging equipment and the capabilities of your EV. For vehicles and charging units capable of shorter charging times, higher-power electrical connections may be required – similar to the electrical connection for a household clothes dryer or air conditioner.
3) SDG&E has residential EV rates
SDG&E offers special plug-in vehicle rates for residential customers that make it easy to save money while charging your vehicle at home. On these special time-of-use (TOU) rates, the price of electricity is lowest at night, which means you can save the most money by setting your car to charge from midnight to 5 a.m. This is when most homes and businesses use less energy. The price does not increase as you use more electricity – it varies only by the time of day.
4) Charge up while you’re away
Many prefer the convenience of charging at home. There may be times when you need to charge elsewhere. You can plug into any common 120-volt outlet using your vehicle’s standard charging cord. A growing number of online tools can help you find faster public charging stations. Many EVs have built-in GPS software to help you locate the closest charging station.
- What are the driving ranges?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most electric vehicles can go at least 100 miles on a single charge, compared to 300 for a gas vehicle.
When considering plug-in EVs, consider how far you drive each day. In most cases, an overnight charge at home is more than enough to recharge an EV after your typical day’s drive. In fact, most San Diegans drive 25 miles or less each day, requiring only about 8 kilowatt hours of electricity. This is the amount of electricity a standard wall outlet can provide in about 5 to 6 hours.
Special home charging units can provide this same charge in a little over an hour. It’s important to remember that much like conventional gasoline powered cars, driving ranges will vary depending on how much electricity your car holds and your driving habits. Manufacturer websites have EV mileage information.
- Is it easy to charge an EV?
Yes. Knowing your driving needs will help you choose charging options that work best for you. Options include the standard 120-volt charging cord that comes with your car and plugs in to any standard household outlet, or specialized 240-volt charging units installed by your electrician. Your EV dealer and manufacturer can provide you with more charging option information. They can also recommend charging equipment installers in your area. Some EVs and specialized charging units can be programmed to start and stop charging automatically at the times when electricity prices are lower.
- Where are public charging stations?
There are a growing number of online maps, like this one from the U.S. Department of Energy, and cell phone apps that can help you find public charging stations – more stations are being installed every day. A simple web search for “public EV charging map” can also help you find specific locations.
- How can I charge if I live in an apartment?
If you live in a multi-unit residence, installing plug-in vehicle charging equipment may require approval from your homeowners association (HOA). Since multi-unit residence installations are often in common areas, it’s important to involve your HOA as soon as possible.
- What are EV Time-Of-Use Rates?
EV Time-of-Use rate (EV TOU)
The EV-TOU rate requires a separate meter for your EV. The EV meter tracks your vehicle’s electricity use separately from the rest of your home. A licensed electrician is required to install your dedicated vehicle meter.
EV Time-of-Use 2 rate (EV TOU 2)
The EV-TOU-2 rate uses your existing household meter to track home and EV electricity consumption. Since all of your electricity is measured by one meter, the TOU price applies to all of the electricity you use and it does not change as you use more electricity. It will, however, change depending on the time of day you use it. On TOU rates, electricity is at its lowest price between midnight and 5 a.m. If most of your electricity use occurs during the day, TOU rates may not be the best rate for you.
- How do I choose an EV rate?
1) Find your rate tier on your bill.
If your EV usage will move you into Tiers 3 or 4, EV TOU rates will likely benefit you.
2) Find your EV usage and home usage.
Your auto dealer and your vehicle’s EPA window sticker can provide the information needed to estimate your EV energy usage based on the number of miles you drive each month. If your EV usage will move you into Tiers 3 or 4, EV TOU rates will likely benefit you.
Knowing your home energy usage pattern can also help you determine the best rate. Find it by logging onto “My Account” at sdge.com, select “Energy” then “Energy Charts”. Here you can view your energy usage patterns.
- How do I sign up for EV rates?
Fill out this online form: https://ev.sdge.com/EVIS/faces/evratechangerequest.jsf
If you are unable to fill out the online form, you may download and fill out this paper form and fax or mail it in.