Electric Vehicles FAQs
As popularity and interest in electric vehicles (EVs) increases, we’re here with information to help make buying and owning an EV even easier.
PREPARING TO OWN AN EV
If you need to charge away from home, there are a growing number of online maps and phone apps that can help you find the charging station nearest you—more stations are being installed every day. A simple web search for “public EV charging map” can help you find locations near you.
Also, many EVs have built-in-apps to help you locate the closest charging station.
With more than 40 all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs) on the market, there is an EV for everyone.
PlugStar (a collaboration between Plug in America and San Diego Gas & Electric) simplifies the EV shopping experience. Our online shopping tool provides the information you need to make your EV transition. Find information on electric vehicle options, pricing, incentives and charging. You can also connect to a PlugStar Certified Dealer that is specially trained to support your EV needs.
Shop for an EV with PlugStar.
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 air conditioner or dryer.
If you own an EV you can benefit by signing up for an electric vehicle time-of-use plan and programming your car to charge during the cheapest times of night – like midnight to 6 a.m. Plug in your car at any time and the built-in technology will go to work for you, saving you money.
To get the biggest benefit from your EV plan, charge when rates are lowest: Super Off-Peak (midnight to 6 a.m.).
Copy: Visit My Account and use our rate calculator to determine the rate with the best savings.
We offer three EV Rates:
EV-TOU-2 - A rate for your house & EV
The EV-TOU-2 rate uses your existing household smart meter to track both your home and EV electricity usage.
Managing your home energy use is easy on EV Rates: program your car to charge at night, do your laundry or run your dishwasher in the morning or at night, change your pool pump to run at night.
Have solar? If you have solar and owe money at the end of your year, this rate will help you reduce that cost. If you don’t owe at the end of the year, you are likely great with the rate you are on.
EV-TOU-5 - Another rate option for your house & EV
The EV-TOU-5 rate also uses your existing household smart meter to track both your home and EV electricity usage. Save money by charging your EV during the Super Off-Peak hour. This plan has a Basic Monthly Service Fee of $16.
EV-TOU - A rate for just your EV
The EV-TOU rate requires a separate meter for your EV. This meter tracks your EV’s electricity use separately, while your house remains on a tiered rate. A licensed electrician of your choice is required to install this second meter at your expense, which is why most customers prefer EV-TOU-2 that has one meter for both your house and car.
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 shopping for 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 30 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.
Yes—for some EVs and charging stations, it’s as easy as plugging in a toaster! 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.
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.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR EV
Typically, any increase in your energy bill will be much less than what you would have paid to fuel up each month. Contact us at 1-800-411-7343 to see if you’re eligible for a Time-of- Use (TOU) pricing plan that could save you money. Your bill may be dependent on how often you charge and/or the time of day or night that you charge.
Electric cars have settings that allow the owner to delay the charging time in order to take advantage of lower off-peak (overnight) electricity rates available from SDG&E. Your car may be set for delayed charging, which can be reset to immediate charging, or you may be fully charged. Otherwise, if there’s a technical issue, check for messages in the charging station and/or vehicle.
Yes. Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) is designed to be safe in all weather conditions. Charging is generally much safer than pumping gas.
Using an EV’s low-voltage battery to jump start another car isn’t recommended. Check your owner’s manual for more information.
In California, automakers are required to warranty EV batteries for 10 years or 150,000 miles. Battery costs have dropped drastically and are expected to continue to fall. In many cases, only a module within the battery would need to be replaced at much lower cost. EVs have fewer maintenance requirements than internal combustion vehicles. One of the major cost savings of EVs is lower frequency of service and maintenance; this includes the battery pack. If you do have a battery-related issue that is not covered by the warranty, it can be often resolved by replacing a single module or component, rather than the entire battery, at a lower cost. Based on survey data, it is uncommon for owners to change out their batteries. For more details visit: https://survey.pluginamerica.org/
Using DC Fast Charge in moderation is unlikely to have negative effects on your battery. DC Fast Charging is slightly more taxing on an EV battery than level 1 (120v) or level 2 (240v) charging is. However, currently there’s no data to support that DC Fast Charging excessively degrades the battery. For more details visit: https://survey.pluginamerica.org/
Spent EV batteries can be reused and recycled. Batteries that can no longer support use in an EV can be repurposed by electric utilities, for example. In this second life, power providers deploy them to store excess energy that can then be used to even out the peaks and valleys in electricity supply that come with renewable sources such as wind and solar. Batteries can then be sent to recycling centers where valuable metals are separated out for reuse. EV batteries use a lithium-ion chemistry that doesn’t contain toxic materials and is considered landfill safe.