How Much Does It Cost to Install an Electric Car Charger
When Tesla decided to go on full Apple mode in April last year by removing the free Mobile Connector that came with every electric vehicle purchase, some probably didn't bat an eye. With how slow Level 1 chargers are, some EV owners might have not have even touched theirs.
But here's the thing: Level 1 chargers are still the most common type of chargers in the United States. Yet, a report from J.D. Power tells us that about 60% of EV drivers with Level 1 chargers are thinking about getting a better Level 2 charger, either one that's fixed to the wall or a portable option.
Why does this matter? Well, it's because around 80% of all charging happens at home, according to the Department of Energy. Nonetheless, choosing to upgrade isn't always an easy decision - financially speaking.
Types of Chargers
Before we dive into the costs, let's look at the different types of chargers out there:
Level 1: These chargers are the slowest, using a standard 120-volt wall outlet. You get roughly 4-5 miles of range per hour of charging. These are best used for emergencies or overnight top-ups at home.
Level 2: For faster charging, you need a 240-volt outlet. With Level 2 chargers, you can expect around 25-30 miles of range added per hour of charging. They're the most common choice for homes and businesses.
DC Fast Charger: This is the fastest type of charger. As the name suggests, DC chargers supply direct current to the car's battery, bypassing the onboard charger. Operating at 480 volts, they can charge your EV to 80% in about 30 minutes. However, they're mainly for public use, due to high power demands not suitable for residential areas. If you're interested in optimizing your electric vehicle's charging time, you might also want to explore smart charging solutions that complement the efficiency of DC fast charging.
Why Install an EV Charger at Home?
Installing a home EV charger offers several compelling advantages:
Convenience: With a home charger, you can refuel your electric vehicle (EV) conveniently while it's parked at your residence. This eliminates the need for regular trips to public charging stations, saving you time and effort.
Guaranteed Access: Having a home charger ensures that you always have access to a charging point, even if public charging stations are occupied or unavailable. Your EV is ready to go whenever you are.
Faster Charging: Home chargers, especially Level 2 chargers, provide faster charging speeds compared to most public Level 2 stations. This means your EV can be fully charged overnight, allowing for a fresh start each day.
Cost Savings: Charging at home allows you to take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours. Over time, this can result in significant cost savings compared to refueling at public stations, and it can be cheaper than gasoline. Additionally, home charging not only saves on the cost of energy but can contribute to overall cost efficiency, including potential reductions in electric car maintenance costs.
Increased Home Value: Installing an EV charger can enhance the resale value of your home. It's an attractive feature for potential buyers, especially as the popularity of EVs continues to grow.
Before an electric car charger installation, one of the critical factors to determine is the required charging power. The charging power is measured in kilowatts (kW) and directly impacts the rate at which your electric vehicle's battery is replenished.
Level 1 Charger: These chargers typically provide around 2 to 3 kW of power, offering a relatively slow charge. They are ideal for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) with smaller batteries that can be charged overnight using a standard 120-volt outlet.
Level 2 Charger: Level 2 EV chargers operate at 240 volts and can deliver 6 to 19.2 kW of power, making them suitable for most battery electric vehicles (BEVs). They significantly reduce charging time compared to Level 1 chargers, ensuring that your vehicle can be fully charged overnight.
Cost to Install Electric Car Charger
The cost of installing a home electric vehicle charging station can vary based on the specifics of your setup. If your home already has a 240-volt circuit available, a basic installation typically ranges from $250 to $800. However, if you opt for a more comprehensive installation, such as mounting a station with 50-amp dedicated wiring or installing a new station along with a service panel, wiring, and a 240-volt outlet, the cost can go up to between $1000 and $2,500.
These figures cover any electrical work involved, including the hourly rate of the electrician and the installation of a 240-volt and 50-amp outlet. A 200-amp panel upgrade can set you back between $1,500 and $3,000. Additionally, the price of electrical wiring can reach up to $9 per foot, and trenching can cost $4 to $8 per foot.
To offset installation costs, the U.S. government provides a federal tax credit of up to $1,000 for the purchase and installation of residential EV charging stations. Many states also offer rebates and incentives to further lessen the burden on electric vehicle owners.
When planning your installation, it's essential to consider the car battery charger amps to ensure compatibility and optimal charging performance.
The installation of an EV charging station must adhere to a set of guidelines outlined by federal, state, and local building codes. On the federal level, compliance with the National Electrical Code (NEC) is necessary. In most states, securing both a building permit and an electrical permit is standard procedure.
The cost of these permits can vary based on local requirements, ranging from approximately $50 to slightly above $160. For instance, in Anaheim, California, the cost of a building permit is $147.67.
To get your garage ready for an EV charger, you'll need a 240V outlet. This is simple if you already have a dedicated circuit in your main electrical panel. However, if your panel can't handle a 2-pole breaker, you might need a separate panel board.
This new system means adding four extra wires - a ground wire, two phases, and a common wire. You might also have to adjust your garage's electrical setup.
If your garage's layout needs some changes, expect to spend around $150 per square foot. This will allow you to mount the charging station on a wall and make it easy to use the 25-foot cable.
Hardwired or Plug-In?
Both hardwired and plug-in EV charging stations have their pros and cons, and your choice ultimately hinges on your specific needs and preferences.
A hardwired EV charging station installation is a permanent fixture directly connected to your electrical panel. It usually involves professional installation, making it relatively more expensive. However, hardwired chargers offer the convenience of not needing to plug and unplug them for each charging session. They are known for their durability and often have higher charging capacities than plug-in models.
On the other hand, plug-in electric car charging stations are portable and can be easily relocated. These chargers simply plug into a standard wall outlet and do not necessitate professional installation, rendering them a more budget-friendly option. Portable chargers are particularly practical if you're in a rental situation or lack the ability to install a hardwired charger permanently.
Lectron offers portable Level 1/Level 2 chargers with NEMA 5-15 and 14-50 plugs capable of providing anywhere between 6 and 31 miles of range per hour. However, if you prefer having the option of hardwiring your charger, consider the Lectron V-Box. This home charging station can either be plugged in directly to your existing 240-volt outlet or be hardwired into your home's electrical circuit.
How Much Does It Cost To Charge An EV at Home?
To figure out the average cost of charging your electric vehicle (EV) at home, you'll need to determine your monthly electricity usage and the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
Here's how you can do it: divide your total monthly electricity bill by the number of kilowatt-hours you consumed during that month. This calculation will reveal the cost per kWh.
On average, households in the United States pay approximately 15 cents for each kWh of electricity.
To estimate the cost of charging a typical EV, you can consider that basic EVs usually get around 3 to 4 miles of range per kWh. To get a rough idea, divide your average monthly mileage by 3 to find out how many kWh you'd use per month. Then, multiply this by the price you pay per kWh to determine an estimate of the cost to charge your EV.
In general, charging an EV at home tends to be less expensive than refueling a conventional gasoline-powered car. For instance, if you drive approximately 1,183 miles each month, you'd use about 394 kWh of electricity for your EV. When you multiply this by the cost of 15 cents per kWh, you can anticipate paying an average of $59 per month to charge your EV.
EV Charger Maintenance
Maintenance for home EV chargers is generally minimal. However, some key aspects to consider include:
Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect the charger, its cables, and connectors for any signs of wear or damage. Ensure that it remains securely attached to the wall or mounting surface.
Software Updates: Some chargers may require occasional software updates. Check with the manufacturer for guidance on keeping your charger's software current.
Cleaning: Clean the charger and connectors to prevent dust or debris from affecting the charging process.
Safety Checks: Ensure that the charger is functioning correctly and safely. If you notice any issues, contact a qualified electrician or the charger manufacturer for assistance.
Yes, you can plug your EV into a regular 120-volt household outlet using a Level 1 charger. However, charging will be slow, providing about 4-5 miles of range per hour.
The cost of installing a 240-volt outlet for a car charger can range from $250 to $800, depending on factors like electrical panel capacity and wiring requirements.
Installing a new service panel, wiring, and a 240-volt outlet for a home EV charging station can cost between $1000 and $2,500.
While it's possible to install a Level 2 charger on your own, it's recommended to hire a qualified electrician for safety and performance reasons if you're not comfortable working with electrical wiring.
Charging an electric car is generally cheaper than fueling a gas-powered car. The exact savings depend on your electricity rates and the efficiency of your EV, but electricity is often more cost-effective than gasoline.