Electric car charging at home – how to be EV Car ready

Electric car charging at home is a growing topic of conversation at Livingetc. As electric car sales begin to explode in the US and Europe, the demands on how our homes operate are changing. Drivers gravitate to everything from the humble Nissan Leaf to the flashy Tesla Model S in record numbers. But what does this mean for the way we should design our homes?

As well as helping the climate and saving money in the long run, opting for an electric car means you’ll never have to worry about gas or an oil change again. But this shift also likely requires you to figure out how you’ll charge your car at home.

According to the US Department of Energy, more than 80% of electric vehicle (or EV) charging is done at home. Thankfully, charging options for drivers have come a long way from when you’d spend almost an entire day waiting for your battery to charge. Today, the process can be relatively quick and painless.

Electric car charging at home – the basics

(Image credit: QMerit)

1. The VE cable

Your new electric vehicle will almost certainly come with a cable about 20 feet long. Longer variants are available, and they will plug directly into a standard household outlet. At one end is the pistol grip style connector that plugs into the car.

The simplicity of this arrangement comes with a catch – while a standard 120-volt outlet will fit your lamp or microwave, it’s extremely slow when it comes to charging your car. Known as Level 1, or “trickle” charging, this arrangement will only deliver three to five miles of range to your car’s battery each hour. Which means you could spend more than an entire day recharging an empty battery.

2. Level 2 Charge

Because a cable can be slow, many electric vehicle owners opt for what’s called Level 2 charging. This requires a 240-volt outlet, the kind you’d need for a device with the weight of clothes dryer or electric oven. With this type of charging, you can expect 25-30 miles of range to be added to your battery every hour when plugged in.

“If you have an outlet that can accommodate 240 volts, you can just plug it in and go,” says Ronald Montoya, consumer advice editor at Edmunds, a car news site. “If you don’t have it, you’ll have to rewire your outlets, either in your garage or in your driveway. Also, most manufacturers recommend against using extension cords that don’t match the voltage, as it can be dangerous. »

3. DC Chargers

home electric car charging DC charger port

(Image credit: QMerit)

There are even faster chargers, called DC chargers, that can charge your car battery up to 80% in just 15 minutes. But this is industrial grade equipment normally used in commercial settings and therefore prohibitively expensive for home use. So the choice is really between level 1 (cable) and level 2 charging.

4. Position your home charger perfectly

electric car charging at home

(Image credit: QMerit)

Your home may not have the electrical capability for a Level 2 charger, so it’s worth consulting a qualified electrician to see if they can upgrade your circuit board to allow you to plug in your car. . Ideally, you want an outlet that’s not too far from where you park your car, so you don’t have to stretch the cable where it becomes a nuisance or hazard. Make sure you like the location of the plug point before you install it.

Many people use a simple wall outlet in their garage or install one in their driveway. You might want to opt for a “charging station” – a stand that hangs on the wall that you can wrap the charging cable around and includes a display that shows you how much time you have left to charge and other data, such as how much carbon emissions you’ve avoided.

5. Watch your charger

Many electric car charging stations offer the ability to view this data through an app on your phone, allowing you to remotely schedule when you want your car to charge. Savvy drivers often choose to do this during less expensive off-peak hours, late at night or early in the morning. If you charge in the driveway, you can get special charging stations that are resistant to various weather conditions.

Most of these features will work for any electric vehicle you own, although some brands, such as Tesla, have their own unique charging systems that only work with their cars. The energy demands of some newer and larger EVs also require their own solutions – the new Ford F-150 Electric, for example, would take some time to charge up to its 300-mile range with a standard-level charger. 2. So the company has its own wall-mounted charging station that allows 80 amps to flow through the hulking vehicle, about double what the standard Tier 2 would provide.

6. Charge your car cheaply

EV car charging at home in a rural setting

(Image credit: Alamy)

“If you have a 240-volt charger and you can plug it in and go home, that’s the best experience as an EV driver,” said Joe Britton, executive director of industry body Zeta EVs. “Ideally, you wouldn’t even think about it. You’ll plug in, schedule your car to charge at midnight, where the utility may offer an off-peak discount of up to a third, and your car will be ready to go in the morning.

How long does it take to charge a car?

Your car model and charging configuration will influence the time it takes to recharge your battery. But a Level 2 charger should, as a rule of thumb, fill a nearly empty battery in six to eight hours.

Since Americans, on average, only average about 30 miles a day, most nightly recharges will involve a short recharge rather than a full replenishment. The later stages of charging will take a little longer, as the batteries charge faster when empty before slowing down at the end to prevent cell damage.

“Unfortunately, we’re not there yet with five-minute charge times like you’d get from putting gas in your car,” Montoya said. “But keep in mind that most of the time you are just refueling and the main difference is that the ‘gas station’ is at your home. If you charge overnight, you won’t even notice it.

How much does it cost to set up electric car charging at home?

Getting a new 240-volt panel at home could cost around $500, fully installed, while charging stations can range from $500 to $2,000, with labor costs adding several hundred or even a few thousand. dollars depending on the location and the amount of work required. .

The cost of charging will, again, depend on your location and the time of charging (peak hours of 4-9pm are usually the most expensive), but in almost all cases plugging your RV into the house is cheaper than if you had to pay for gas or use public charging infrastructure, which often involves having to be a member of a certain provider and paying premium rates.

According to the US Department of Energy, if you pay c$0.13 per kilowatt-hour for your electricity, which is close to the US average, you’ll pay around $9 to fully charge an electric vehicle with a range of 200 miles. You have to pay for a charger and, in many cases, a more expensive car than a traditional petrol or diesel alternative, but overall EV drivers are generally ahead of long-term costs.

“The payback isn’t in 20 years, it starts as soon as you turn on the system,” said Tracy Price, general manager of QMerit, a California-based electric vehicle charger installation company.

ev car charging ports in california neighborhood

(Image credit: Alamy)

Can you charge a car at home if you don’t have a driveway?

Nearly one-fifth of Americans live in an apartment or condo, a living situation that typically rules out having your own driveway or garage. For tenants, in particular, it is difficult to install the equipment needed to charge an EV.

“I live in a condo, there are no chargers and while I would love an electric car, it would require a whole conversation about who pays for it,” said Ronald Montoya, consumer advice editor at Edmunds. “If you can’t charge at home, you have to rely on public infrastructure, which is much more difficult.”

There are only about 45,000 publicly available EV chargers in the US, which are split between several different vendors that each require memberships (Tesla has its own network). Joe Biden’s administration has set a goal of 500,000 new EV chargers across the country to help remedy a situation where some places, like California, have plenty of chargers while states in the Midwest and South charge the deserts.

However, the situation is slowly changing. The growing demand for electric vehicles is putting pressure on landlords to carve out certain locations in basement garages and parking lots for tenants who request them as a convenience. And companies are also realizing that more and more customers are coming to them powered by battery-powered rather than gasoline-powered cars.

“There’s going to be a bias for that store or that cafe that has chargers,” says Joe Britton. “It’s the same with apartment buildings – the cost of installing two Level 2 chargers is not extraordinary and it will put a premium on the properties.

“We will see more and more depending on the demand. The future will allow you to charge where you are and when it suits you, without having to go out and search like you do for a gas station.

About Robert Wright

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