Renting an EV

Renting an EV is a great way to test the technology to see if it works for your situation. Almost all car rental agencies carry EVs in their inventory making it easier to find and rent. We recommend that you rent an EV for at least one week and use the vehicle as you would normally. So, if it is just the commuter car, use it to commute to work, if it will be used for travel, make sure you do a trip beyond the range of the vehicle to test how you might refuel it on the road. Rent the vehicle you think you might buy because not all electrics are the same. If it doesn’t suit your needs, consider renting a different vehicle. If you cannot find the brand of vehicle you are interested in using normal rental agencies try the peer-peer rental agencies like Turo. Turo allows you to rent a personal vehicle from another individual. Just remember that not all EVs are the same.

There are three main categories, each has their own approach for charging:

  1. The Tesla charger for the EU has the capability to use either or NACS or CCS.  It is different but in a positive way.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) (J1772 Connector)

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) (J1772 Connector), this car has two modes of operation,
electric while the battery has a charge, then it reverts to gas. Typically, this will give you the first
15-75 miles on electric which is the average daily drive distance. So, unless you have a heavy
commute you will be driving on electric 70% of the time or more.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) (CCS Adapter)

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) (CCS Adapter) all non-Tesla vehicles have adopted this as the
standard for their high-speed charging. This will change over time but most vehicles have a
J1772 port too so that you can use both. Beware, the Nissan leaf currently use CHAdeMO which
is currently being phased out. All leafs do have a J1772 port built in.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) (NACS Adapter)

BEV (NACS Adapter) is only Tesla; however, most car manufacturers have adopted this standard and will be converting. Until this occurs, likely 2025, only Tesla vehicles will be able to use a NACS charging cable. Once Tesla opens up their superchargers, an adapter will be required. Ultimately, non-Tesla will integrate a NACS capability in addition to or as an alternative to CCS.

To find charging stations first download an application such as PlugShare. This application will provide you locations for charging stations, directions, if there is a cost to charge (some are free), surrounding businesses and personal reviews. It can also identify stations that are not working. Filters in the application will allow you to find the right connector type for your car. Find a station that is close to where you wish to fuel. This is a good opportunity to have lunch, shop, take a break from driving while you charge the vehicle. Plan your longer trips around your breaks and charge your vehicle at the same time. Be careful to see if the charging station has a penalty for staying beyond 100%, these penalties can be costly if you decide to have a leisurely lunch

Know where your charging port is before you go to charge, is it in the back or the front, left or right side. This will be important as you pull in to charge to get the port as close as possible to the charging station. This is no different than a regular gas vehicle pulling into the gas station.

Level 1 which is supported by a standard 110V electric plug outlet. Make sure you have been provided a level 1 adapter in your rental vehicle. That means wherever you can reach a 110V plug you can charge your vehicle. It will charge between 4 and 6 miles per hour (overnight this can mean 50-70 miles enough to do your daily tasks). Bear in mind that some cars can detect the capability of the electric supply, so using an extension that is not rated as 12 gauge, or having too many things running on the same circuit can cause the vehicle to reduce the charging speed to protect the car and home.  This can reduce the miles per hour to 1-2 miles instead of 4-6.

Level 2 requires a 240V outlet and is typically installed by an electrician and can deliver 17-30 miles per hour. You can find public level 2 charging stations by using PlugShare. Level 2 charging is typically J1772. Most cars have both a high-speed charging port and a J1772. Tesla does not, make sure you have a J1772 adapter in your rental vehicle, if you have a CCS only or NACS only charging port you will not be able to use a J1772 without one.

Level 3 is a high speed and will require either a CCS or NACS port. Level 3 can provide 100 miles of range in 15-30 minutes depending on the speed.

Fueling charges have multiple approaches and it is not regulated yet. The most common is a price per kWh, typical EVs require 33 kWh/100 miles of range. kWh cost can range from free to as much as $0.75/kWh, check your PlugShare application before arrival for station pricing.
The second method is done by time connected. Typically, this is a charge per hour or any part of an hour. If you are using a Level 2 you can expect to obtain around 25 – 35 miles per hour, level 3 can deliver 100 miles in 30 minutes. There are multiple potential adders to this fee, a one-time connection fee and parking fees and penalties for misuse.
The short answer is it depends. First is the station open to public or is it privately owned? The station might be only available to patrons of the business. PlugShare can tell you this information. Does the station have the right plug for my car? Or do I have the right adapter for the station? Know your vehicle before you look for a station. The largest charging network is the Tesla charging stations, but it is currently restricted to only Tesla vehicles. Use PlugShare to only look for charging stations that meet your needs.
  1. Contrary to gas stations don’t try to fill to the brim and get as much range as you can. As the car fills it takes longer to deliver a charge. So, the first 80% of the fill can take as much time as the last 20%. If you have the time to do a full fill when you are on an extended trip, use it, enjoy lunch at the same time but beware of penalties if you stay beyond 100%. If you have the ability to gain a full charge overnight, take advantage of a full battery every morning.
  2. If you pull into a high-speed charging station, don’t pull in next to another car. Quite often the charging stations are paired, meaning if two cars are parked next to each other they share the power and it will take longer to charge.
  3. Don’t overstay, charging stations are precious commodities and need to be shared. Once you have enough charge move on and let someone else take your place. And, some charging stations charge a penalty if you remain connected after you achieve 100% full.
  4. Your battery will last longer if you charge it slower. So, take the opportunity to charge overnight on a slower charger if you can, or charge at work on a slower charger. This way every time you drive the car it will have full range. You can limit how quickly you charge on some vehicles, so while you may be able to charge at 30 amps, you might want to limit your charge to 20 or 25 for overnight charging.