All-electric vehicle driving ranges are increasing, with some models able to drive more than 300 miles on a single charge. Depending on how far you drive each day, you may be able to meet all of your driving needs by plugging in only at home. The Fuel Economy and Environment Label, which you see on cars at the dealership, shows driving range and charge time. The label also shows the average annual fuel cost associated with the EV and the anticipated cost savings over five years compared to the average gasoline vehicle. In addition to fuel savings, fully electric vehicles have fewer moving parts and typically require less maintenance. Additionally, no emissions testing is needed.
Compare the greenhouse gas emissions associated with charging and driving an EV in your area using EPA’s Beyond Tailpipe Emissions calculator.
Sample emissions output
What type of charger do you need?
The answer to this question is based on the following factors:
1) How many miles do you drive every day?
2) Do you have a fully electric car, or is it a plug in hybrid (gas and electric).
For short range driving and plug in hybrid cars: If you only drive less than 40 miles per day, or if you have a plug in hybrid car, you can use a charger that plugs into a standard wall outlet (120 volt). These chargers will provide you with 2-5 miles of driving range for every hour of charging. These chargers are convenient and economical, but are limited in their output and the charging rate is slow. Using industry terms, these are called “Level 1 EV Chargers.”
For longer range driving and for fully electric cars: If you drive more than 40 miles per day, and you have a fully electric car, then you need a 240 volt charger. These chargers are larger and require professional installation, but provide 10-20 miles of charging range per hour of charging. Using industry terms, these are called “Level 2 Chargers".
EV Charger Type
Average Charging Rate
(per hour of charging)
Plugs into standard outlet (120 volt)
2 to 5 miles of range (depending on environmental conditions and battery charge %)
Requires heavy duty electrical circuit and plug (like an electric dryer) (240 volt)
10 to 20 miles of range (chargers wired to 50A provide even faster charging)
Choosing a charger that has earned the ENERGY STAR label means energy savings, safety, convenience, and smart technology. Find ENERGY STAR certified electric vehicle chargers
Energy Savings: EV chargers are typically in standby mode (i.e., not actively charging a vehicle) for about 85% of the time. ENERGY STAR certified EV chargers provide the same functionality as non-certified products but use 40% less energy in standby mode, reducing their impact on the environment. If you have the option, charging your EV with green power (PDF, 172 KB) , sourced from emissions-free electricity sources, offers additional environmental benefits.
Greater efficiency = more savings! When choosing an EV charger, it is helpful to note that Level 2 chargers provide higher charging efficiency and faster charging times when compared with Level 1 chargers. As shown in the table above, Level 2 charging is on average 10% more efficient than Level 1, while adding approximately four times more miles per hour of charging.
Safety: Not all EV chargers that are for sale are safety certified, including some from large online and storefront retailers. To ensure your charger meets safety standards, choose one that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. All ENERGY STAR certified chargers are tested for safety by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
Smart Technology: Some ENERGY STAR certified EV charger models are connected, also referred to as networked, allowing for remote power monitoring and control of the charging state of the connected vehicle. These smart grid ready products may qualify households and property managers to participate in special energy bill savings programs that may be offered by some local electric utilities.
EV owners ideally have access to overnight charging, in their driveway/garage or wherever they park their car. Without overnight charging, EV owners can charge at some workplaces, or use public charging.
Ask the dealer. Homeowners who are purchasing a new EV are typically offered a 120V charger (also called a cord set) as part of their vehicle purchase or lease, rather than having to purchase it independently. However, there are advantages to upgrading to a 240V charger, including faster charging times, which may be necessary to charge longer-range EVs overnight. When shopping for an electric vehicle, ask the dealer if they sell or work with electrical contractors that have ENERGY STAR certified EV chargers.
Ask the retailer. 120V and 240V EV chargers are sold by big-box and independent retailers, mainly online. Purchase an ENERGY STAR certified EV charger to ensure it meets key industry safety standards. Non-ENERGY STAR certified chargers may not be safety certified. In fact, many products sold by some major retailers may have false safety certifications displayed.
Hire a contractor. Contact a licensed electrician to evaluate whether your home’s wiring, electrical outlets, and other hardware can support the charging requirements of your EV. Your car dealer or the EV manufacturer may also recommend a third-party or contractor network that may be able to conduct a home assessment.
Use green power to charge your car. Using “green power” from your electricity supplier will provide a maximum environmental benefit. Not only will you be eliminating carbon emissions from your tailpipe and electricity generation, you will also be supporting green power suppliers. For more information on how to do this, see EPA’s Guide to Charging EVs with Green Power (PDF, 172 KB) .
- Building Electric Vehicle-Ready Homes (PDF, 142 KB)
- Consumer demand for homes ready for or equipped with EV charging is growing. This resource outlines the paths that can make a home EV-ready.