How To Charge an Electric Vehicle at Home

August 20th, 2022 by

The number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road is growing by leaps and bounds. Before you purchase an EV, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of EV charging. Of course, you can always look for charging stations in your area, but the convenience of having an EV charging station may be enough for you to consider having one installed. Here’s everything you need to know about charging your EV at home.

Types of At-Home Chargers

Home charging units provide both convenience and security. There are two levels of at-home chargers.

Level 1

Level 1 charging is via a standard 120-volt outlet. While convenient (most of the outlets in your home are Level 1), these chargers are slow. The standard Level 1 charger can take eight to 24 hours to fully charge a dead EV battery, depending on your vehicle and its capacity.

A Level 1 charging setup is sufficient for drivers who:

  • Own an EV with a limited range.
  • Seldom drive.
  • Drive less than 50 miles per day.

In these situations, a Level 1 charger can easily top off the vehicle battery during the evening.

Level 2

Level 2 chargers are via a dedicated 240-volt line. Most homes have 240-volt outlets for major appliances such as ovens and dryers. The advantage of a 240-volt line is speed. A 240-volt outlet can charge the typical EV battery in four to six hours, making daily recharging extremely convenient.

EV supply equipment (EVSE) is the proper name for a home charging station. This Level 2 charging station is installed on a wall near your EV. Going with an EVSE provides extra safety and convenience when charging your vehicle.

Costs of At-Home Chargers

Level 1 chargers work via the standard outlet in your home. These require no additional installation or cost, as you simply plug your vehicle charging cord into a wall outlet.

Level 2 charging units typically cost between $500 and $700, depending on features and configuration. A certified electrician must install a Level 2 charger. Depending on the job’s complexity, installation may cost as much as $2,000. If you live in an older home, you may need to update your circuit breaker or install a dedicated circuit breaker for your charging unit.

Some municipalities require homeowners to get a permit and/or inspection when installing a Level 2 charging unit because it requires a dedicated electrical line. Check your local regulations to make sure that you comply.

What To Look for in a Home EV Charging Unit

You can purchase an EVSE at electrical supply stores, home centers, and directly from companies like Siemens, GE, and Bosch. Here are the essential features to look for in a home charging unit:

Power

Thirty amps is the minimum power recommended for a home EVSE unit. Your 30-amp unit must be powered off of a circuit breaker rated 40 amps or more.

There are 15-amp chargers on the market that are less expensive, but lower amperage equals slower charging. Many EVs are limited in the amperage they can handle, but newer vehicles have a greater charging capacity. If you ever upgrade your vehicle, a charger capable of 30 amps or more will be much faster.

Cord

Every EVSE uses a standard cord when connecting to a 240-volt outlet. The length of the cord connecting your vehicle to the charger varies from maker to maker. When choosing a home charger, ensure the model you choose provides enough cord to reach your vehicle’s charging port. Many less expensive home charging units have 15-foot cords, but a 25-foot cord is preferable if you typically park farther away from your charging source.

Charging units vary in their cord storage methods. Some provide a reel that allows you to wind up the cord on a spool when not in use. Other charging cords are coiled, allowing for quick and easy storage.

Portability

Although the hard-wired, mounted chargers are the standard, there are portable 240-volt charging units on the market. Portable units have several advantages:

  • Since they’re not hard-wired into your home, you don’t have to pay for installation by an electrician.
  • They can be moved to a new home, a vacation home, or around your garage.
  • You can take it with you when you travel so you can enjoy faster charging via a 240-volt outlet at your destination.

Charging Location

If your charging unit will be outside, make sure to buy a weather-resistant or weatherproof model to prevent damage from rain, snow, or high winds.

Warranty

Three-year warranties are common among high-end charging units. Be sure that your warranty covers both parts and service.

Display

The amount of information displayed on a home charging unit varies greatly from model to model. Some chargers provide only a power indicator, while others offer information such as voltage, vehicle battery level, approximate charging time, amperage, and device temperature.

Connectivity and Smart Controls

Some home chargers have built-in connectivity features such as:

  • A smartphone app that allows you to control the charger and check on charging progress.
  • Integrated Wi-Fi.
  • Voice command through Amazon Echo.
  • Bluetooth.

Protective Features

Reduce the risk of fire or damage by choosing a home charging unit that protects against:

  • Voltage spikes.
  • High temperatures/overheating.
  • Power outages.

Rebates and Incentives

Before you install a home charger, look into manufacturer or state and local incentives. You may be eligible for a rebate, minimizing your out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, many utility providers offer “time-of-day” charging discounts for owners of plug-in EVs.

Safety Tips

Here are a few safety tips for home charging:

  • Never attempt to install a Level 2 EV charging unit yourself. Look for a qualified electrician with experience installing EV chargers.
  • Never use an extension cord with a Level 1 charging cord. Most extension cords cannot handle the amperage drawn by the charging cord, increasing the fire risk.
  • Only purchase a home charging device that is certified by a nationally recognized testing facility.
  • Keep all charging cords and devices out of the reach of children.
  • Routinely inspect your charging device and cords for wear and tear. Cords with excessive damage can cause a fire or result in an electric shock.

There you have our tips for charging your EV at home. If you’re looking for an EV, contact Sweeney Cars today. We have a great selection of both new and used EVs. Our experienced and friendly sales staff can help you find the perfect vehicle.

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