How to Choose a Home EV Charger
How to Choose a Home EV Charger
The only way to refuel your electric vehicle is by recharging it. This means that EV owners need to install electric car chargers to help them amp up their vehicles whenever the need arises. Electric car charging at home is the most convenient of all, which is why most, if not all EV owners, have an electric vehicle charger installed at home.
This, however, does not mean that the standard power supply from your wall outlet will not charge the EV. It will only take longer to get a partial charge or even a full charge for your EV. While it is possible for you to simply plug the electric vehicle into a standard 110-volt wall outlet for charging, it’s an agonizingly slow process. This slow kind of charging is also called Level 1 EVSE charging. As long as the plugged chord is not tampered with, the EV will recharge anywhere between 8 to 24 hours to fully power up the cells of the car battery. Generally, the length of time it takes to charge an EV depends on the type of EV and its battery capacity.
But charging your EV at home can be quicker and less tortuous. All you need to do is get an experienced and licensed electrical contractor to install an electric car home charging station in your garage in a location that's close to where you park your EV at night (that's if you prefer to schedule recharging at night). If you have a reliable utility service, then within a few hours of the night, your car will be fully amped up.
Installing a Level 2 Home Charging Station is Better and Faster
Home EV charging is always better when you upgrade from just plugging into a standard 110-volt wall outlet to installing a faster, 240V Level 2 EVSE home charging station. This can quickly add 12 to 60 miles of range per hour of charging. So to get the most out of your EV, it is important you install an EV home charging station.
Depending on the prevailing rates in your area and how much work is involved, the cost of installing a home charging station can rise to a couple of hundred dollars. But it is worth the expense because the higher-voltage supply essentially creates what we know as the superior Level 2 charging system, which typically refuels your vehicle in just a few hours. Ensure you have the electrical contractor install the 240-volt plug very close to your vehicle’s charging port when you park it in the garage. EV home charging units are known as Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE).
You can find ESVEs for installations at your local electrical supply stores, home center stores, as well as from Primecom.Tech. Depending on the manufacturer and the unit's configuration features, the cost of each unit varies between $240 to $750. But keep in mind that this does not include the cost of installing the charging station (It is not expensive. However, if you need to do an electrical system upgrade, you should get ready to spend more). You need to also factor in the cost of getting permission from the local authorizing bodies.
What to Consider When Shopping for Home Chargers for Electric Cars
A significant number of home chargers can charge any EV provided the universal J1772™ connector (with an adapter, for Teslas), is connected. However, Tesla chargers will only work with Tesla vehicles. While compatibility with your vehicle may not be an issue, there are several other factors to consider when looking to purchase an EV charger for your home.
Here are some important considerations and questions to answer to help you find a suitable home charging unit for your EV:
When it comes to purchasing a home charging unit that will serve you well, the speed of charging is an important consideration you need to make. Although all Level 2 chargers use a 240V supply, the charging speed majorly depends on the charger’s amperage. Also, your need for speed will depend on the range of your EV range, the mileage you cover every day, and of course, your driving style. For most EVs, a 32-amp charging station is a fantastic choice.
- Power Supply
It is also important that you choose a charger with an amperage or current supply level that matches the demand of your car. This depends on the available electrical capacity at your home. According to the National Electrical Code, your electrical circuit must have 25% more amperage than your charger’s output. For instance, if you`re looking to purchase a 40-amp Level 2 charger, you should get a circuit breaker that’s rated for at least 50 amps.
Alternatively, you can get a flexible home charger, which you can set to an amperage that works for your home. You need to check your electrical panel to find out how much current is available for charging. If your panel is near full or already full, an electrical system upgrade is necessary. For this, you'll need to consult with an electrical contractor for help.
- Safety and Reliability
This consideration answers the question of how important safety and reliability are to you. To ensure that you`re installing a charger that's safe for your home, it is best to go for one charger that has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. An EV ENERGY STAR certification typically indicates that a charger utilizes minimal energy when not charging, and this can help you lower your electric bill.
Also look into the reputation of the manufacturer of the product you're interested in, as well as the warranty and support available for the charger you want to buy. A good recommendation is a 3-year warranty from a reputable company, plus 24/7 customer support.
- Position of the Charger
Another important question you need to answer is where you want to install your charger. Remember, it has to be close to where you regularly park your car — either in the garage or parking lot. It is usually best to install your EV home charging station close to the electrical panel.
For the possibility of charging multiple cars, you can install the unit close to your garage door, while for outdoor use, you can install a weatherproof charger that gives you the flexibility to charge your car wherever you want to park.
Will installing the charger help you save money? Many utility companies provide special EV charging rate plans and off-peak rates that EV owners can benefit from and save some dollars. To be certain, you can check with your local utility provider to be sure if any such plans exist.
If your car is like most EVs that support scheduling, you don't necessarily need to stay up at night to take advantage of the off-peak period charging. But note that using the schedule feature may interfere with charging when you’re not at home. Another way of saving is from your local utility, which sometimes offers grants and rebates for home charging.
Most important or first of all considerations is the cost of the charger. It's a simple rule here: you get exactly what you pay for, just as with any other kind of purchase. The average cost of home EV chargers is $240-750. This is about half of what most gas-powered vehicle owners pay for fuel in a whole year. Essentially, it is not enough to choose a charger that provides you with the efficiency you need, it's also important that you don't empty your purse in the process.
- Availability of Smart Features
Smart features like WiFi in your charger can make life a bit fun. Getting the right charger is one thing. In some smart EV chargers that are WiFi-enabled, the charger can connect to an app, which can then be used to manage charging and perform other functions like scheduling for recharge.
With such an app, you can also track your energy consumption and stay in the know about how much you're spending on charging. You can also track the mileage you cover in any specific direction on the app.
Having checked all you need to consider when purchasing a home electric car charging unit, it's time you made a decision and bought one already. Remember to take advantage of tax rebates, utility rebates, and any other promotional offer available to you. But most importantly, ensure that you're in strict compliance with all local and state regulations about the purchase, installation, and use of home EV charging stations.
If you're interested in learning more about level 2 ev chargers, read our another article IS IT SAFE TO CHARGE MY ELECTRIC CAR WITH LEVEL 2 220VOLT CHARGER?