Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity due to their high safety ratings, quieter rides, low maintenance, and potential to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re considering purchasing an EV, figuring out how to charge your vehicle is one of the most important aspects of ownership. We’re here to explain your charging options, how to prep your home for EV charging, and the costs associated with EV home charging stations.
EV Charging Options
You have three options when charging your electric vehicle: Level 1 charging, Level 2 charging, and DC Fast Charging.
Level 1 Charging
Most electric vehicles come with a Level 1 charger, allowing you to plug your EV directly into a standard household 120-volt outlet. While Level 1 charging is easy and convenient, it’s not fast. Typically, your EV will receive 5 miles of range per hour of charging, meaning you’ll get 40 miles of range to your battery with overnight charging. Level 1 charging is better suited for shorter daily commutes where you’ll be driving less than 40 miles per day.
Level 2 Charging
If you need to charge your EV quicker than what Level 1 charging provides, consider Level 2 charging. However, this type of charging requires installation from a licensed electrician since it needs to be plugged into a 240-volt outlet. Level 2 charging can provide 25-30 miles of driving range per hour, meaning an overnight charge could give your EV 200 miles or more of driving range.
DC Fast Charging
DC Fast Charging is the fastest type of EV charging available, providing up to 250 miles of range for every hour of charging. Since these charging stations are expensive, they are only available in public places such as rest stops, shopping malls, and office buildings.
How To Prep Your Home for Electric Charging
When it comes to Level 1 charging, there’s nothing you need to do other than ensure there’s a standard 120-volt outlet in your garage or carport. Even if there isn’t one, most new electric vehicles come with portable charging equipment, so you can charge your EV anywhere.
Level 2 charging is different. As mentioned earlier, Level 2 charging does require professional installation from a trained electrician that’s certified and insured to install NEMA 14-50 outlets, which are similar to what electric dryers and refrigerators use.
Whenever you schedule an installation with your electrician, have them inspect your home’s electrical wiring to ensure everything is up to code. It’s also a good idea to discuss the type of EV you own, where you’ll park it, the length of your charging cord, and the type and speed of charger you want.
Costs of Installing an EV Home Charging Station
Level 1 charging doesn’t require any installation cost, but it can increase your monthly electric bill. According to Investopedia, charging an EV can add $30 to $60 to your monthly bill. However, the exact cost varies depending on numerous factors like your electricity rate plan, your current monthly usage, charging frequency, location, and the time of day you charge your EV.
Level 2 charging costs more since you must have an electrician install your charging station. Charging stations start at around $400, and installation costs can range from $400 to $1,500. Consider taking advantage of rebates since they can offset installation costs.
Other Locations to Charge Your Car
Level 2 chargers and DC Fast Charging stations are available at many public places such as community centers, hotels, and grocery stores. Several stations are free to use, while others require payment. Still, they’re usually much cheaper than the price of gasoline.
While public charging stations usually provide fast charging speeds, J.D. Power reports that 88% of EV owners do their charging at home. If you’re an EV owner and considering installing a Level 2 charging station for your home, it’s important to know that the charger would be considered part of your home. This means you’ll need the right homeowners insurance coverage to protect your home in the event of a covered loss.