Environmental Efforts

Electric Vehicle Basics
Plug-in electric vehicles can help increase energy security, reduce dependency on foreign oil, improve fuel economy, lower fuel costs and reduce emissions associated with operating a motor vehicle. Before purchasing an electric vehicle, several factors needs to be considered. Here are a few basics to help you get started.

General Terms
Electric vehicles – This describes all vehicles that use electric motors, including plug-in hybrids, range-extended and battery-electric vehicles.

Battery-electric vehicles – A battery-electric vehicle uses a battery to store the electric energy that powers the vehicle's motor and is able to plug in to the electric grid to charge the battery.

Plug-in electric hybrid vehicles – A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is powered by conventional or alternative fuels as well as electric energy that is stored in a battery. The vehicle can plug in to the electric grid to charge the battery.

Electricity and Charging Requirements
Vehicle charging is a significant part of an electric vehicle purchase. It is important to know how charging works and whether your home or business will require upgrades to your electrical wiring in order to charge your vehicle. There are three ways to charge electric vehicles:
  • Level 1 – Uses a standard 120-volt outlet. The electrical draw is roughly equivalent to a 1500-watt personal hair dryer. Most plug-in electric vehicles will require 8 to 12 hours to fully charge.
  • Level 2 – Uses a 240-volt rated charging station and will probably require modifications to a home's electrical panel. This will take 4 to 8 hours to charge.
  • Level 3 – DC Quick Charge uses a 480-volt connection. It is the fastest charging method available and is used for commercial charging. Charging time is 30 to 45 minutes.
Vehicle charging equipment installation costs can vary greatly depending on the configuration of your home or business' electrical circuits, local code requirements and the type of equipment installed. Permits may be required prior to installation or construction. The local building and safety department should be consulted to determine specific requirements. If an electrical contractor is hired to perform the work, it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate permits are obtained.

Depending on the charging option, an upgrade to your home or business’ electrical system may be required:
  • Step 1 – Check with the auto manufacturer or dealer on vehicle charging and maintenance requirements.
  • Step 2 – Determine if the vehicle you intend to purchase requires an upgrade to your home or business' electrical panel and wiring.
  • Step 3 – Contact a licensed electrician for consultation on your home or business' electrical needs and upgrades. Permits also may be required.
  • Step 4 – Contact MidAmerican Energy at 888-427-5632 if you plan to install a charging station at your home or business. A MidAmerican representative will:
    • Meet with you to determine the amount and characteristics of the load your home or business' charging equipment will add to the electric distribution system.
    • Conduct an evaluation to determine if current electric facilities need to be upgraded. If facility upgrades are needed, the property owner may be required to pay a portion of costs related to the upgrade.
    • Prepare a facility upgrade estimate, if necessary. If you approve the estimate, MidAmerican will complete any necessary facility upgrades.
    • Notify you when it is safe to operate your home or business' charging station.
Charging Your Vehicle
The best time to charge a vehicle is at night or on weekends during off-peak hours, when electricity demand and costs are lowest. MidAmerican does not offer special rates for vehicle charging; however, MidAmerican does offer optional residential time-of-use rates which may provide savings to customers who have the ability to shift significant usage, including electric vehicle charging, to nights and weekends. Charging during off-peak periods may reduce the need for distribution facilities upgrades, and also may allow more effective use of nonpolluting resources such as wind or hydro.

Additional Resources
These resources are provided as a service for visitors to MidAmerican Energy's website. Accessing these links will take you to a website separate from this website and any other MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company website. MidAmerican Energy is not responsible for the content and accuracy of the information on these sites.