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Installing Electric Vehicle Charging Station at Home

Installing Electric Vehicle Charging Station at Home

While most electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers still ship a complimentary Level 1 charger with their cars, Tesla has made the decision to break away from this practice, opting to sell its basic Mobile Connector separately instead. And others could soon follow suit.

These "trickle chargers" are undoubtedly convenient (after all, they're already there), but they can provide only a few miles of range overnight, and a full battery charge could take more than a day. According to a report from J.D. Power, about 60% of EV drivers with Level 1 chargers are thinking about installing a Level 2 charger at home. If you're one of them, this guide can help you decide whether upgrading to a Level 2 charger is the right choice for you.

What is an electric vehicle charging station?

An electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE), also referred to as an EV charging station or electric vehicle charger, serves as dedicated infrastructure intended for recharging the electric energy stored within an electric vehicle's battery pack. Just like smartphones, EVs rely on batteries as their power source. It gradually consumes the electricity stored in its battery, needing recharging or "refueling" to keep operating.

Similar to the way a smartphone is charged by plugging it into a charger connected to a standard 120-volt AC outlet, an electric vehicle charging station plays a crucial role in converting the conventional AC electricity provided by household outlets into the appropriate current format required for charging the electric vehicle's battery.

What types of electric vehicle charging stations are there?

Electric vehicle charging stations come in various types, including Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast charging stations, each differing in terms of voltage and charging speed. Below is an overview:

What is a Level 1 charging station?

Level 1 charging is the simplest and most basic method of charging an electric vehicle. It involves plugging your EV into a standard 120-volt wall outlet using the charger that comes with your vehicle. This method is slow and typically offers a charging rate of about 2 to 5 miles of range per hour of charging, making it suitable for charging the car's battery overnight or for EV drivers who have limited daily driving needs.

What is a Level 2 charging station?

Level 2 charging stations are more powerful and faster than Level 1 EV chargers. These stations operate at 240 volts and are typically installed by an electrician either on the garage wall or on a stand-alone pole. Level 2 charging stations can provide around 10 to 25 miles of range per hour, depending on the specific charger and the EV's compatibility. They are a popular choice for residential charging because of their balance between speed and convenience.

What is a DC fast charging station?

DC fast charging stations are the fastest option for recharging electric vehicles. These stations supply high-voltage DC power directly to the vehicle's battery, allowing for rapid charging. DC fast chargers are commonly found along highways, in public charging networks, and at commercial locations. They can provide up to 60-80 miles of range in just 20-30 minutes, making them suitable for quick stops during long journeys.

How much does an electric car charging station cost?

The cost of an electric vehicle charging station varies depending on the type of charger and the complexity of the installation. Here's an overview of the costs associated with different levels of charging stations:

  1. Level 1 Charger:

    • If you're content with using the Level 1 charger that comes with your electric vehicle, it may cost you nothing additional. This charger uses a standard 120-volt household outlet, and most homes already have these outlets.

    • If you prefer to have a dedicated Level 1 charger, you can purchase one for about $180 to $300, depending on its features and complexity. These chargers are typically wall-mounted and plugged into an existing outlet.

  2. Level 2 Charger:

    • Level 2 charging stations are more expensive than Level 1. They operate at 240 volts and offer faster charging speeds.

    • The cost of a basic Level 2 charger starts at about $300, but more sophisticated, hard-wired, wall-mounted units can exceed $1,000.

    • For a Level 2 charger installation, you will likely need to hire an electrician, which can incur additional costs.

    • Depending on the age and load of your home's existing electrical panel, you might also need to upgrade your home's electrical system to support the charger.

    • Obtaining a permit from your local authority is often required, adding to the overall cost.

    • Total costs for a Level 2 charger installation can range from $1,000 to $2,000 or more, depending on your specific circumstances.

  3. DC Fast Charger:

    • Installing a DC fast charging station at home is very uncommon.

    • These chargers require access to high-power electrical infrastructure, which is typically not available in residential structures.

    • The cost of a DC fast charger can exceed $50,000 or more.

    • Residential locations are generally not equipped to support these chargers due to their high power requirements.

Many states offer rebates and tax credits to offset the cost of installing charging infrastructure. These incentives can significantly reduce the overall expense of setting up a home EV charging station. For example, California offers a wide range of rebates, discounts, and credits for EV owners. If you're considering buying an electric vehicle and having an EV charger installed, do some research about your state's specific EV rebates and incentives to understand the eligibility requirements and potential cost savings.

How do you install a home electric car charger?

Installing a home charging station at home is a straightforward process, but it does require some preparation and may involve professional assistance.

  1. Assess Your Electrical Panel: Before installing a Level 2 charger, you need to ensure that your electrical panel can handle the additional load. Most homes have a 240-volt circuit, which is suitable for Level 2 charging. However, it's essential to verify the available capacity and consult an electrician if needed.

  2. Choose a Suitable Location: Select a location for your charger that is convenient for you and provides easy access to your electric vehicle. This may involve determining the best placement for the charging station, including the location of the electrical panel, the charger itself, and the charging cord length required to reach your vehicle.

  3. Purchase the Charging Station: Research and choose a Level 2 charging station that suits your needs and budget. There are various brands and models available, each with its features and charging speeds. Consult with an electrician to ensure compatibility and suitability for your home.

  4. Hire a Licensed Electrician: It is strongly recommended to hire a licensed electrician to install the charging station. They will handle the wiring and circuit installation, and ensure that the charger is set up correctly and safely. However, there are Level 2 chargers that are designed for easy installation, such as the Lectron V-Box. Additionally, portable Level 2 chargers are also an option, only needing a NEMA 14-50 outlet on a dedicated circuit.

  5. Permit and Inspection: Depending on your local regulations and the complexity of the installation, you may need to obtain a permit for the work. After installation, your local building department or an inspector will need to inspect the installation to ensure it complies with safety standards.

  6. Connect and Test: Once the installation is complete and approved, your electrician will connect the charger to your electrical panel, and you can start using it to charge your electric vehicle.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

The time it takes to charge an electric car depends on several factors, including the battery size, the state of charge, how much power the charging station has, and the vehicle's onboard charger's capacity. Here's a rough estimate for different charging levels:

  1. Level 1 Charging: A Level 1 charger, using a standard 120-volt outlet, can provide approximately 2 to 5 miles of range per hour. So, for a full charge, it can take up to several days.

  2. Level 2 Charging: A Level 2 charger, operating at 240 volts, typically provides 10 to 25 miles of range per hour. A typical electric car with a 60 kWh battery could be fully charged in 4-6 hours, depending on the charger's power output and the vehicle's efficiency.

  3. DC Fast Charging: DC fast charging stations can offer up to 60-80 miles of range in just 20-30 minutes, making them suitable for quick top-ups during road trips or for reaching an 80% charge in a shorter time.

Benefits of EV Charging at Home

Charging your electric vehicle at home offers numerous benefits, making it a popular choice for EV owners. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. Convenience: Home charging is incredibly convenient. You can plug in your EV when you arrive home and wake up to a fully charged vehicle. No need to visit public charging stations or wait in line.

  2. Cost Savings: Charging at home is often more cost-effective than using public charging stations, especially if you charge during off-peak hours or take advantage of utility rates designed for EV owners.

  3. Time Savings: Home charging saves you time. You can use the time you would spend at a public charging station for other activities, making your daily routine more efficient.

  4. Availability: You have 24/7 access to your charging station, eliminating concerns about station availability or incompatibility with your vehicle.

  5. Climate and Weather: Charging at home ensures your vehicle is protected from extreme weather conditions, enhancing its longevity and performance.

  6. Incentives: Some regions and utility companies offer incentives or rebates to encourage home charging station installations, reducing the overall cost.


  • Can I install my own EV home charger?

    It is highly recommended to hire a licensed electrician to install a home charger. Level 2 chargers require a dedicated 240-volt circuit and proper installation to ensure safety and efficiency. However, some chargers like the Lectron V-Box are designed for easy installation.

  • How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?

    The cost of charging an electric car at home depends on your electricity rates and the size of your vehicle's battery. To have a rough estimate, use this formula: Charging cost = (Vehicle Range / Range per kWh) x Cost per kWh. So, if you drive around 1,200 miles a month and your electricity rate is $0.23 per kWh, it would cost approximately $92 per month to charge an electric car at home.

  • Can you charge an EV on a 240V outlet?

    Yes, you can charge an EV using a Level 2 charger plugged into a 240V outlet. However, it's crucial to ensure that the outlet is properly configured for EV charging and that the circuit can handle the load.

  • Can you put a Level 2 charger at home?

    Yes, you can install a Level 2 charging station at home. These chargers are a popular choice for residential charging due to their faster charging speeds and the convenience they offer for everyday EV owners.

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