Ready, get set and charge! - Albuquerque Journal

Ready, get set and charge!

Those of us who grew up in cold parts of the country know what it meant to plug in your car so it would start in temperatures far below zero. Those are engine-block heaters. People not familiar with an engine-block heater wondered why there was an electrical cord coming out of the front of your car. Today, there is a new kind of plug-in for cars. Electric Vehicles (EV) is a catch-all for a mix of electric vehicles.

A battery-powered electric vehicle uses only its electric motor. A hybrid electric vehicle runs on both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor that uses energy from a battery. A plug-in hybrid plugs into a power outlet to charge the batteries and uses a petroleum-based or alternative fuel to power the internal combustion engine.

For vehicles that need an electric charge, planning is required. While electric vehicles accounted for less than 2% of the market last year, analysts predict that number will rise to more than 10% by 2025.


The driving distance on a full charge varies from 100 to over 400 miles. Air temperature affects performance, with the middle 70s being optimum. Use of heating or air conditioning affects operations. AAA found that, on average, range dropped by 41% when the temperature fell from 75 degrees to 20 degrees. At 95 degrees, range was reduced by 17% compared with the 75-degree baseline.


Kelly Blue Book lists three types of chargers for electric vehicles.

Level 1: This level refers to household three-prong outlets like those your computer or a desk lamp will use. Few electric car users charge their vehicles this way simply because of how long it takes, averaging 8 hours. If using the electric vehicle for in-town driving, overnight charging works.

Level 2: Most people prefer level 2 charging capability, whether at home or at a public charging station. These chargers provide 240 volts of power and require an external device that plugs into a receptacle such as an electric clothes dryer. They cut charging time roughly in half.

Level 3: Also called a DC fast charger, it’s the fastest charging option. These quick chargers can provide a charge in about an hour. But you will find these options only in public charging stations that typically cost money to use.

As an EV’s battery gets to a very low state of charge, the vehicle typically reduces the available power and alerts a driver to find a charging station or pull over.

PNM is offering a $300 rebate on an ENERGY STAR®-certified Level 2 EV charger and up to $1,000 toward an electrical panel upgrade. Information can be found at

Finding a charging station

There are websites and apps that help you find a charging station to plan your trip. PlugShare and ChargeHub both provide information and maps to find locations. The sites report the city of Albuquerque has 145 public EV charging stations, 12 of which are free. Albuquerque has a total of 26 DC fast chargers, six of which are Tesla Superchargers. A web search for EV charging stations provides several options.

See the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center online for information, laws and incentive in New Mexico:

Electric bikes

When the pandemic started, a shortage of bikes developed. For a variety of reasons, people turned to E-Bikes, which provide pedal assist, making pedaling easier. E-bikes come with a charging station that uses a standard outlet. Charging takes two to six hours, depending on the bike battery.

Battery-operated power tools

Battery-operated or cordless power tools have been around for a while. Cordless screwdrivers and drills have been the most common. Lists of 20 or more on can be found with an internet search. The most recent addition is battery-operated lawn mowers. Portability is the primary advantage. The tools come with a charging station and use a standard outlet.

Dispose of batteries properly. Talk to experts where you purchased the product for information.

Sources: Kelly Blue Book: and

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