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ENERGY STAR Electric Vehicle Chargers: Delivering Efficiency Even When You Aren’t Driving

Did you know? More and more Americans are driving electric vehicles. In 2015, about 114,000 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S., and the numbers are expected to rise significantly in the next few years. As the number of electric vehicles on the road continues to grow, a means to charge those vehicles, both at home and in public, becomes a big priority. Estimates show that in 2015, approximately 122,000 chargers were shipped in the U.S, with sales expected to grow to nearly 1.2 million chargers by 2020. While electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, they draw electricity from the grid when charging their batteries, which in turn generates GHG emissions.

As more people plug in their vehicles, the need to make efficient use of energy to charge them becomes an important priority. And that is where ENERGY STAR comes in. Electric vehicle chargers that have earned the ENERGY STAR label are the most energy efficient chargers in this fast-growing industry. 

So, what makes ENERGY STAR certified electric vehicle chargers different than those without the trusted blue label? Vehicle chargers are actually pretty efficient while charging—but they continue to use some energy after they finish charging (while the device is still plugged into the car), and also when it is unplugged.   To earn the ENERGY STAR, electric vehicle chargers must conserve power when the product is not actively charging the vehicle. Some of them are also capable of reducing their electricity usage during peak periods and shift charging to non-peak times as part of utilities’ demand response programs.

Which charger is right for me? Consumers today have a choice of two types of chargers, Level 1 and Level 2, both of which are eligible for the ENERGY STAR certification mark. Level 1 chargers can be plugged into a standard household outlet and take approximately 12 hours to fully charge the vehicle. Typically, all electric vehicles include a Level 1 charger at the time of purchase. Level 2 chargers use 240 Volts (similar to large household appliances like laundry machines), and can charge the car up to two to three times faster than a Level 1 charger. Level 2 chargers must be professionally installed by an electrician.

Opting to buy an ENERGY STAR certified electric vehicle charger can deliver better cost savings and energy savings for the planet. If everyone used an ENERGY STAR electric vehicle charger, savings would grow to more than $17 million each year, offsetting more than 280 million pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions, which is equal to the emissions from more than 26,000 vehicles.

Learn more about certified electric vehicle chargers on the ENERGY STAR website.

Verena Radulovic

About the Author: Verena Radulovic develops and manages various product specifications for the ENERGY STAR program, including electric vehicle chargers, televisions, displays and audio/video products.