Charging an electric car

Charging an electric car

“Range anxiety” is one of the main reasons people are hesitant to go electric. But, the fact is if your round-trip daily commute is less than 60 miles, most electric cars on the market today will cover you on a single charge.

Charging is no big deal with a little planning

You can get the most out of driving electric when you have:

  • A plug available for home or workplace charging
  • Accounts or apps for public charging when you're on the go
  • A clear idea of the time needed to charge

If you live in a single-family home, you can use a standard, grounded 120V plug. You can also install a Level 2 charger, which operates at 240V.

If you live in an apartment, condo or townhome without a dedicated parking space and outlet, charging can be more complicated. That’s especially true if your workplace doesn’t offer charging. Before purchasing an electric vehicle, talk to your building manager or homeowners association to discuss your charging options.

When you charge matters

Learn more about the benefits of charging your EV at different times of day.

Home charger icon
Ask an Energy Advisor

Have questions about PSE's home charger program? We're here to help. Call us at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or contact us below.

Charging on the go

In Washington state, electric car drivers can find DC fast charging stations along I-5, Highway 2, and parts of I-90. In fact, drivers can now travel “border-to-border” along the 276 miles of I-5 between Oregon and Canada without worrying where they’ll charge.

  1. Charging station locations
  2. EV-Friendly Cities in Washington
  3. Find an EV Charging Station

The difference between chargers

You can charge your car at home, at a public charging station or at work. These are the types of chargers you'll encounter:


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Level 1 Charging

VOLTS: 120
TIME TO CHARGE: ~ 12 hours*
WHERE: Home, Work, Public

This is the charging cord that comes standard with every electric car. It has a conventional three-prong plug that goes into any properly grounded standard household 120v outlet.

This setup provides between 2 and 5 miles per hour. In most cases, charging your car at home overnight with an L1 charger will be enough to meet the needs of your daily commute if you travel less than 40-60 miles a day and have all night to charge.

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Level 2 Charging

VOLTS: 240
TIME TO CHARGE: ~ 4-8 hours*
WHERE: Home, Work, Public

Most dedicated home and public charging stations operate at 240 volts. This setup will require the same type of wiring as an electric stove or clothes dryer.

Level 2 charging can add 10-25 miles of range in an hour of charging at home or at a public station. This will be at least twice as fast as Level 1 charging, often quicker, due to the higher amperage of the circuit. L2 charging can be done as a trip to the grocery store or mall.

level_three_charger_icon
DC Fast Charging

VOLTS: 300-800 Volts
DC TIME TO CHARGE: ~ 1 hour*
WHERE: Work, Public

This type of charging unit uses direct current (DC) rather than household alternating current (AC) and charges through a high-powered 480V plug. DC charging stations hook up to the electricity grid so they can get and convert far more power.

You'll find DC charging at public sites, often along highways or in urban locations and workplaces. They often look like gas pump-sized machines.