What You Need to Know About Installing an Electric Car Station In Your Garage
Homeowners who buy an electric vehicle are faced with a lifestyle change. They have the freedom to go where they want without paying for gas, but must consider two things whenever they leave: distance they can travel on their battery, and ability to charge. While some public charging stations are available, the majority of people charge their car at home.
Car charging happens on different levels, depending on the type of charging station available. Homeowners with an electric vehicle must therefore decide what type of charging they want to do at home and must have the appropriate equipment for that type of charging. Knowing about the different types of chargers, how they are installed and other details can help homeowners decide for themselves what type of charging is right for them.
Level 1 charging is charging that can be done from anywhere if an electrical outlet is available. To charge the vehicle, the owner plugs the car into the wall outlet with what looks like a fairly typical three-prong cord. Level 1 charging is convenient because it requires no special wall-mounted charger, however, Level 1 charging is very slow. In some cases, cars with small batteries may be able to charge overnight with a Level 1 charger, but most cars take a very long time to charge this way.
Level 2 charging requires a special wall-mounted device called an "electric vehicle service equipment" or EVSE. The EVSE costs around $500-$1,000. Different types of EVSE's have different amperage. A 16 amp EVSE will take between 9 and 12 hours to charge an electric car battery, while a 30 amp EVSE will take between 3.5 hours and 4 hours.
EVSE's are very common in homes with electric vehicles. This is seen as standard equipment for homeowners who want to have an electric vehicle, because Level 1 charging can be impractical if you want to use your car regularly.
Level 1 chargers do not require installation. Anyone who owns an electric vehicle and who has a three-prong plug outlet in their garage can charge their car at a Level 1.
Level 2 charging requires the EVSE to be installed. This should be done by a qualified and certified electrician. The EVSE requires its own dedicated circuit. If the home's electrical service has no room for a new dedicated circuit, the electrician will need to install a whole electrical panel with greater electrical service.
An EVSE that has been improperly installed is a safety hazard, as is an improperly installed electrical panel. This is not a DIY project unless the homeowner happens to be an electrician. Often installation of a new electrical panel will require the electrician to pull a permit, so homeowners should work with their electrician to ensure that this happens.
Value of an EVSE
An EVSE is a bonus in any Alexandria new home. In addition to making life easier for electric car owners, EVSE's make the home more attractive to buyers who themselves have electric cars. Since not many homes have EVSE's, any home that has such a station may have special appeal to the segment of the population that owns electric vehicles.
If you're a homeowner who would like to install an EVSE in your home, contact an electrician to get started. Your electrician can answer your questions and give you a quote.