Electric vehicles are, without a doubt, the wave of the future. If you don’t already own one, chances are you know someone who does. And with the huge difference in the cost of gas and electricity that it takes to run a car, combined with state and federal incentive programs, electric vehicles are only becoming more widespread. While this is great for both the environment and your wallet, one obstacle that almost every electric vehicle owner faces is that houses were never wired with EV charging in mind.
Charging your electric vehicle at home
If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle, it is basically a necessity to look into some of your options available for EVSE’s (Electric Vehicle Service Equipment) – also known as “EV Charging Stations.” While there are public charging stations available, they are not a practical means to depend on for all your charging needs. Having a home charging station means you have the convenience of charging your EV any time your car is parked at home.
Three levels of EV charging stations
Level 1 EV charging stations can be plugged into most standard 120-volt outlets already found in your garage. Most electric vehicles come with this as a standard package. What you need to know is that a Level 1 EVSE charges at a rate of only 2 to 5 miles per hour of charging time. That means your electric vehicle will go about 40 miles on an eight-hour charge. It takes approximately 30 to 40 hours to fully charge an electric vehicle using a Level 1 EV charging station.
Level 2 is the ideal EV charging station for your home, using 240 volts. It charges at a rate of 12-60 miles per hour of charging time, which means your vehicle can be fully charged in eight hours or less. These units require a dedicated circuit that needs to be installed by a licensed electrician.
Level 3 EV charging stations require voltage and amperage quantities not found in residential settings, and are only a public use option at this time.
What’s involved in installing a Level 2 EV charging station?
First, we will take a look at your electrical panel to make sure your existing service can handle a level 2 EV charger. If it cannot, we will recommend upgrading your electrical service to accommodate it. Then, you tell us where the most convenient location for the charger would be based off where you normally park, and we will provide a free estimate to install your level 2 charging circuit and wall mount charger.
Although EV charging stations can be hardwired, we usually recommend installing a NEMA 14-50 outlet – the same type of outlet used for an oven – and purchasing a plug-in type of EV charging station. This way, you have the option to swap the charger out for a different one yourself and you can also take it with you if you move.
However, there are some higher amperage level 2 EV chargers like Tesla’s that are required to be hardwired because they use an amperage higher than what a 14-50 receptacle is rated for. Any questions you have about which option is best for you and your EV charger, please ask! We’re happy to help.