Electric Vehicles - FAQs and Helpful Terms

 
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FAQs

What is public charging and how does it work?
Public charging within the CPS Energy service area is currently with Level 2 charging stations, each having 1 or more ports, that allow electric vehicle (EV) owners to charge the battery of an EV.  When the charging port's cord is plugged into an EV, a Level 2 charger can charge a fully depleted battery to 100% within 4 to 6 hours, depending on the vehicle.

How many local public charging ports exist?
There are about 150 public charging ports at CPS Energy's charging stations located throughout San Antonio. A charging station has one or more ports to plug in EVs. The City of San Antonio and a few private entities have also installed a number of charging sites.  Electrify America, powered by CPS Energy, operates DC fast chargers at the Walmart Supercenter located at 4331 Thousand Oaks. 

Where are the charging stations and how can an EV owner locate one?
We partnered with businesses and educators to install charging stations at various locations across the city. Those businesses include HEB, Santikos, Wonderland of the Americas Mall, University Health System, UTSA, St. Philip’s College, Port San Antonio and Bexar County. A map with each charging station location and real time availability of charging ports can be found at ChargePoint.

Can EV owners fully charge their vehicles at home?
Yes! We anticipate EV owners will primarily charge their vehicles at home and public charging will be used for a quick charge between trips or to “top off” a battery.

How much does it cost to use public charging locally?
The public charging ports operated and maintained by us (identifiable by CPS Energy signage) will cost $1 per hour of charging, with a minimum two-hour charge. Our flat rate program provides unlimited charging at a cost of only $60 for one year.

How can an EV owner pay for the use of a charging station's port?
EV owners can use a port by accessing it with a personal credit/debit card. Just call the 1-800 number on the charging station to provide the card information. ChargePoint, the charging station manufacturer, also provides a charge card that can be used at any ChargePoint site anywhere in the country. With our flat rate program, you receive a pre-paid card that is used within the CPS Energy ChargePoint Network.

Will EV owners be able to use the CPS Energy flat rate card at other public charging locations in or outside of San Antonio?
No. The card you receive with the flat rate program accesses charging stations in the CPS Energy ChargePoint Network. 

Who owns the public charging stations?
We own, operate and maintain the majority of public charging stations within San Antonio. Our charging stations are identifable by signage and on the ChargePoint map.

 

Helpful Terms

EV - any vehicle that uses electric motors, either in full or in part, as propulsion

ICE - Internal Combustion Engine, an engine powered through the burning of fossil fules

BEV - battery electric vehicle, a vehicle that solely relies 100% on battery power or pure EV

PHEV - plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, a vehicle that has a connection to plug into an electrical socket or charging station but also has a gas tank; typically, this vehicle will run on battery power until it’s depleted and then switch over to gas

EREV - extended range electric vehicle with the electric motor driving wheels; features an auxiliary power unit, usually an internal combustion engine, which acts as a generator to recharge the battery when it runs out

Hybrid - a car that integrates a small battery and an electric motor to enhance the efficiency of the engine. The battery’s charge is maintained by the internal combustion engine (ICE) and cannot be charged by plugging into an electrical supply. Hybrids can offer greater fuel economy than a traditional ICE but can only travel very short distances on electric power only

EVSE - Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment is the technical name for the box, cord and plug that controls the safe current flow to fuel an electric vehicle

Charge - “fueling” a vehicle with electricity, not gasoline. Just like your cell phone, the vehicle will work on a partial or full charge. Charge time varies depending on the size of the battery and the amount of electric current being supplied, i.e. Level 1, 2 or 3 (Fast Charging)

Fast charge - charging at a higher current that will fully charge an average electric car in three to four hours.  Also known as Level 3

Charging point - location where electric vehicles can plug in and get charged, whether at home, at work, or in publicly accessible locations.  Also referred to as a charging station, which may be equipped with one or multiple ports to accomodate one or multple EVs charging simulataneously

State of charge (SOC) - usually found on the dashboard display and shows the remaining battery level in percentages

Range - distance you can travel on pure electric power before the battery requires a recharge

Range anxiety - concern or fear of running out of charge while driving a plug-in EV

Range per hour (RPH) - miles of range per hour of charge

Kilowatt hour (kWh) - unit of energy equivalent to the energy transferred in one hour by one kilowatt of power. Electric car batteries are measured in kilowatt hours

Regenerative braking - a method of braking in which energy is extracted from the parts braked, to be stored and reused

Level 1 charging - involves powering the EVSE via a typical wall socket. In the U.S. this is typically a 120 V AC outlet. In European countries where there may be higher current at the wall, charge speeds can be quicker

Level 2 charging - charging from a 240 V AC outlet, and typically with higher amperage too. Amperage current makes a difference in charge rates – thus not all “level 2” charging is equal

Level 3 charging - also known as DC fast charging or DC quick charging and not available for homeowners. This is high amperage, high voltage – typically 480 volts – that can charge a battery pack 80 percent full in about 30 minutes more or less