With gas prices on the rise, more consumers are considering an electric vehicle (EV). One of the top concerns of new EV owners is how to charge their EV. Home chargers are by far the most convenient way to charge your electric car's battery.
These 240-volt Level 2 chargers are many times faster than the Level 1 (120-volt) that the EV might have been sold with and are a lot less expensive than charging at local DC fast-charging stations.
Most EV drivers do more than 80 percent of their charging at home. Whether you’re living in an apartment, condo, or home, charging your electric vehicle at home is the most affordable and efficient way to charge your EV.
To fully enjoy the EV owner experience, an EV charger is practically a must.
Ways to Charge Your EV
Luckily, it doesn’t matter if your electric vehicle is small, big, new, or used. Every EV has a plug that can be used to charge at one of these locations:
- At home
- Public charging stations
- Workplace charging
Charging your electric car or truck in public involves finding a location and then potentially waiting for a port to become available and the car to charge. Most public charging stations also charge a fee to use. Very few public or workplace charging stations have rapid-charging capabilities and are often Level 2.
Home EV Charging Station Charging Speed
There are three categories of EV chargers:
Level 1 Charging
This is the basic charger most BEVs, and PHEVs come with. It’s a 120-volt charging cable that plugs into the vehicle’s charging port and a standard household outlet.
Level 1 chargers are the slowest-charging method. Most will only give two to five miles of range per hour of charging. But they are practical for PHEVs, which aren’t typically driven long distances. Plus, most PHEV batteries are smaller than those found in BEVs and can be fully charged overnight.
Level 2 Charging
Level 2 chargers are the most common EV home charging method. It’s sometimes referred to as an EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment). This charger type is typically installed in the garage, carport, or outside using a 240-volt outlet (the same outlets that ovens and dryers use).
A Level 2 EV home charger will charge three to ten times faster than a Level 1 charger.
Level 3 Charging
The fastest way to charge an EV is with a level 3 charger. It’s a direct current (DC) fast charger that may be found at public charging stations.
Usually, Level 3 chargers can recharge an EV battery from empty to 80 percent in half an hour to 45 minutes. However, this 480-volt charging system is too much for residential-zoned areas to handle.
How to Choose the Right EV Home Charger
There are seemingly endless options for EV home chargers on the market today. This is why it’s vital to know what to look for when choosing one for your home.
Here are some things to take into consideration:
- Hardwired vs. Plug-in Chargers: Typically, EV charging stations need to be hardwired and cannot be moved. Some modern models can simply plug into a 240-volt outlet and provide additional portability. Ask your electrician what model would be best for your home.
- Cable length: If your electrician recommends hardwiring your charger directly to your electric panel, make sure it’s mounted an appropriate distance from where you’ll park your car so that it can easily reach the EV’s charging port.
- Weatherproof: If you’re unable to keep your charging station in the garage, and need to keep it in the driveway instead, be sure to invest in a weatherproof charger model.
- Storage: Purchase a charger that comes with a holster to hold the cable when not in use.
- Easy to use: There’s no reason not to get a charger that’s easy to use. Most models are simple plug-and-go designs.
- Features: Because of the wide variety of models out there, many convenient features are also available. Consider chargers that allow you to schedule charges around when electricity is cheaper. Some models can also resume charging automatically when the power comes back on should you experience a power outage. Other chargers can also be synced through a smartphone app.
- UL Listed: This is a critical safety designation that shouldn’t be overlooked. Ensure whichever charger you buy contains the important seal. UL (Underwriter Laboratories) is an organization dedicated to ensuring the safety of consumer products, such as home appliances. A UL-Listed label ensures that the wires are the right size and that the product is up to current safety standards.
Where to Put a Home EV Charging Station
There are many places to install your home EV charging station. The most common is in the garage, which is the most ideal location for a couple of reasons.
The first is that you won’t have to be concerned about the charging station, cable, or car being vandalized in any way. You’ll also be able to avoid handling damp and slippery cables when there’s condensation built up outside. Lastly, you won’t have to fuss with charging your car in nasty weather.
If you have more than one EV parked in the garage, this will also influence the charger’s location. For this kind of setup, a central location such as a wall between the garage doors could be the most practical, whether you’re using a single charger, two separate chargers, or a dual charger. Ask your electrician for advice.
Cost to Install an EV Charging Station at Home
The first step to determining the cost of an at-home EV charger is to evaluate your electrical system. If you don’t have a 240-volt outlet in your garage or outside in the drive, you’ll need to upgrade an existing outlet. Aside from the hourly electrician rate to install the proper electrical outlet, here are some factors that will influence the cost of installation:
- Permit costs (if your municipality requires one)
- Additional electric work to rewire or upgrade your electrical panel (not usually necessary)
- The distance from your electrical panel to the charger
The easiest way to determine the cost of having a Level 2 home EV charger installed is to contact an electrician, such as the pros at Advanced Air Home Services Edgewater, Florida to walk you through the process.
EV Charging Station Installation in St. Johns, Volusia, and Flagler Counties
The experienced EV charger contractors at Advanced Air Home Services can help you choose the right charger and professionally install it once it arrives. For service in St. Johns, Volusia, and Flagler counties, call us at 386 260-2330 or request service online.