Electric vehicle additional FAQs

What do all the acronyms mean?

  • ICE: Internal Combustion Engine; most cars and trucks today have this
  • Hybrid: has both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor that work together for better overall gas mileage
  • EV or BEV: Electric Vehicle or Battery Electric Vehicle; these are 100% electric - no emissions
  • PEV: Plug-in Electric Vehicle; any electric vehicle that charges by plugging it in to an electric outlet
  • PHEV: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle; just like a regular hybrid, except that it has a larger battery for greater distance, and is charged by plugging into an electric outlet
  • EVSE: Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment; charging equipment made specifically for electric vehicles; it connects your car to the power supply

What are the financial benefits of owning an electric vehicle?

The cost of electricity to power your electric vehicle is usually much less than the mileage-equivalent cost of gasoline. Fewer moving parts mean lower maintenance costs. Also, there are no oil changes. And, in some models, you'll have fewer brake replacements.

Are there rebates and tax incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle?

Yes. There are state rebates up to $2,000 (or up to $4,500 if you’re a low or moderate income customer), and federal tax rebates up to $7,500. More about EV incentives and rebates. Find out about additional Federal Tax Credits for installing your home charger (EVSE) and grants available for low income customers.

What about EVSE installation and costs?

EVSE installation is required for Level 2 charging at home. A licensed electrician installs a 240V circuit. Costs vary according to your electric service, panel capacity and the age of your home's circuitry. We strongly recommend hiring a licensed electrician to conduct a load survey.

Do I need to upgrade my home electrical system in order to set up the charging station/EVSE?

A licensed electrician can give you the best assessment of any upgrade you may need, and their cost.

Do I need a permit to install an EVSE?

You will probably need a permit. Contact your city building code office for specific requirements.

Can I charge a plug-in electric vehicle from a regular household outlet?

Yes. You can plug into a regular 120V 20-amp dedicated outlet. That is considered a Level 1, or 'trickle' charge.


What are my charging options?

Level 1 (120V): A standard household outlet. Level 2 (240V): Plug in at home, work or a public site. Also, DCFC (Direct Current Fast Charger): Typically, these will be located in a public space, and not at your home.

How long does it take to fully charge a plug-in hybrid or electric car?

It depends on the vehicle, the charging level (see above), and also how depleted your battery is. At Level 1: Approximately 8-20 hours. At Level 2: Approximately 4-8 hours. At DCFC: Less than 20 minutes to reach an 80 percent charge.

Where do you charge a plug-in vehicle?

Most people charge in their own garage overnight. Public chargers are available in such places as parking garages, shopping centers and other locations. Find public chargers in your area.

Can you plug in to charge the battery even if it's not empty?


Do I need an electrician to install a Level 2 charger?

You may want to consult an electrician to install a Level 2 charger.  To help you find one, visit SMUD Energy Store.

Does SMUD have special rates for electric vehicle charging?

Yes. As an EV owner you can participate in a Time-of-Day (TOD) rate that provides an additional 1.5¢ per kWh credit every day, all year long, for charging your EV between midnight and 6 a.m.

What are the options for payment at a SMUD fast charging station?

There are four payment options at a Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC). Credit card payment with a VISA, MasterCard or American Express, call the toll free number at the charger to speak with a Greenlots operator, use the App and QR code on the charger or use the RFID Card available through Greenlots.

What happens when the battery runs out of electricity?

If you have a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the gas engine will help recharge your battery. But plugging it in to recharge the battery is more efficient and avoids harmful emissions. If you have a 100 percent battery electric vehicle, you will need to plug it in to recharge the battery.

Aren't EV batteries full of toxic chemicals and precious metals that could eventually wind up in a landfill?

It is illegal to dispose of EV batteries in a landfill. The recycling value of their material components makes it unlikely that they will. EV batteries use high value metals, such as nickel and lithium. Because of that, almost all materials in an EV battery are, in fact, recycled.