With the country’s network of public electric vehicle charging stations still sparse in many areas, a lot of EV drivers charge their vehicles at home. This can be as simple to do as connecting the automobile into a wall outlet or as complicated as having solar panels installed to recharge an electric vehicle’s battery.
All EVs come with a way to recharge. Technically, the charging station that transforms AC power into DC power is a component in the vehicle. A lot of vehicle models consist of a fundamental 110-volt charging system that plugs into a conventional electrical outlet with a conventional three-prong plug.
This is called Level 1 charging and, assuming you have simple electrical power in your garage, it’s the cheapest method to go. Sadly, it’s the slowest, too. Depending upon the vehicle and its battery ability, it can take anywhere from 8-24 hours to bring a vehicles power cells to 100% power.
Level 2 Charging
A likely upgrade is to spend a couple of hundred bucks to have an electrical contractor install a 240-volt circuit – like those used for a laundry dryer. This will let a vehicle owner use Level 2 charging. This can recharge a depleted battery in about four hours. You’ll need to purchase an external Level 2 device, which is also called an electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE).
Level 2 charging devices come in two fundamental types, portable and wall-mounted. A wall charger is hard-wired straight to a house’s electric grid. If you don’t have a closed garage and you’ll be charging the car outside, local codes may require a fixed-mount device. A portable charger needs no professional installation if you have a 240-volt current line. A portable system can be convenient if you have two homes or will be staying with friends or family in an another location and want to take the device along for charging on the trip.
A top quality EVSE can cost approximately $300-$1,200. If you’re picking a wall-mounted device, plan to pay an additional few hundred dollars for installation, relying on labor prices and permit requirements.
If you’re buying an EV, ensure the power outlet or wall-mounted charging station will be located within close distance to your car’s connecting port. Charger cables usually range 15-25 feet in length, yet that may not work well if the car’s port is located on the opposite end of the garage from the power source. You might need to have an electrical expert install a new charging port.
It’s possible to use solar power to charge an EV, normally with solar panels mounted to a garage roof. This can cost upwards of $7,000 per setup. This does not include having a storage battery set up to hold power during daytime (sunny) hours for overnight charging, which can increase the cost.
Solar charging becomes more budget-friendly, however, if you’re tapping into a full-house power system. Resources recommend an appropriately sized whole-house solar system can pay for itself in about 7 years. This depends on the size of the installation, regional labor rates, utility prices, and other variables.
Picking a Charging Station
Popular brand names of EVSEs include ClipperCreek, Siemens, JuiceBox, AeroVironment, and also ChargePoint, among others. An online search can help you locate a system that includes the features and power output that satisfies both your requirements and spending. Coming in both portable and hard-wired setups, the cost for a charging station varies.
It’s recommended to purchase an EVSE that can produce a minimum of 30 amps of power. Generally, this kind of device would be able to add about 30 miles of charge to a charged battery pack per hour. Some EVs can get along with less amps, however getting even more capability than you may require today makes the setup “future proof” should you at some time sell the vehicle for a new model that should use and run on the added capability. Nonetheless, if you’re intending on using a 30-amp system you might need to update the circuit breaker to one that’s rated for 40 or more amps.
Similar to many other types of digital devices nowadays, you can purchase a “smart” EV charging station that works with a Wi-Fi connection. While this adds price and complexity to what’s normally just a plug-in device, having a smart charger adds a layer of comfort. These systems enable an owner to utilize his or her mobile phone to monitor charging, and how much energy the car is using to know operating costs. Some smart chargers can interact with your power company to just charge at off-peak times for affordable rates. Some even receive commands using the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant.
Ultimately, consider charging stations and devices that have actually been checked and accredited for security by an independent source like Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Also, if you’re having a charger installed outdoors, make certain it’s safety rated for outdoor use.
Your best bet? Hire an expert to do the job. South End Electric has the background and understanding to ensure a safe and smooth installation. We can provide electrical safety inspections and installation, inspections and work with GFCI outlets. In addition, our professionals provide whole-house generator sales and installation to meet your needs. See everything South End Electric can do for you. Call us direct at 704-368-4694.