EV Charger Installation: Everything You Need to Know
If you’re the proud owner of an electric vehicle (or about to be one), you’re probably aware of all of the ways you need to adapt to your new lifestyle. Before your new car, gas stations probably dominated your life, bleeding your wallet dry.
Now, you have to face public charging stations, which come with their own pros and cons.
However, there’s an even better option: a home charging station. With a personal charging station, you can charge your electric vehicle at home when it’s most convenient for you. Before you run off searching for an “electrician near me,” let’s look at everything you need to know about electric vehicles and EV charger installations.
Before You Consider an EV Charger Installation
Whether you’re still thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle or you’re looking forward to charging at home, there are some things you should know.
If you already own an electric vehicle, make sure it can connect to a charging station. Then, make sure to check your electric panel to see if you have the capacity to support a dedicated charging station.
Get Familiar with the Different Types of Electric Vehicles
If you’re still getting prepped for purchasing an electric vehicle, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by getting to know the different types available. There are five primary types of electric cars, each with its pros and cons.
Battery Electric Vehicles
These are sometimes called pure electric vehicles because they rely entirely on an onboard battery instead of a fuel tank. With a battery electric vehicle, you will need a charging station to replenish your vehicle’s range.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Hybrid electric vehicles combine a fuel tank with an electric motor. When the battery power is low, your car will rely on the engine and switch to gas power for some extra muscle. These vehicles don’t use charging stations but instead rely on regenerative braking to replenish their charge.
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles
These are just like hybrids, except they have the option of plugging into a charger. While operating on pure battery power, plug-in hybrids have a zero-emission range.
Extended Range Electric Vehicles
Extended range electric vehicles rely on a gas engine, combined with a plug-in battery pack and electric motor. Like hybrids, EREVs travel for as long as they can on electric power before switching to gas for extra range.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles
Fuel cell electric vehicles are a little on the rare side and don’t hook up to a charging station. Instead, these vehicles use hydrogen cells to create electricity. When the cells are spent, drivers can refill them at special stations.
You May Need an Electric Panel Upgrade
Before you schedule your installation, you might want to check out your current electric panel. An EV charger installation won’t be viable if the panel doesn’t have enough free circuit slots or power available.
Ensure that your electric panel is rated for around 25% more amperage than the charger you want to be installed. If the charger you want is rated at about 40 amps, your panel should be rated at around 50 for the best results. To find your panel’s rating, look inside the door or on the panel itself.
If your panel is old or underpowered, GB Electrical Services can advise you on the best options for a panel upgrade in Mint Hill, NC.
The Different Types of EV Chargers
Before you call an electrician for an EV charger installation, it’s important to get familiar with the different types of EV chargers available.
Currently, there are three levels, with level 1 being the weakest and level 3 being the strongest. The type of EV charger you select for your home should be based on your needs and the convenience factor the EV charger will provide.
Level 1 Chargers
Level 1 chargers are the weakest EV chargers of the bunch, but they’re also the most affordable. With a level 1 EV charger, you’ll have a 110-120V output available to charge your electric vehicle. For comparison, this is about the same amount of power that runs through most appliances in your home.
This low power draw is what makes level 1 EV chargers tricky. While level 1 EV chargers have the lowest upfront cost, they take the most time to charge an electric vehicle.
Typically, a level 1 charger will provide a full charge in around 40 hours or approximately 5 miles of range per hour. If you’re working with a tight budget and don’t necessarily drive very often, a level 1 charger can be effective.
This level of charger works well enough for hybrid electric vehicles, as well. Otherwise, if you’re often driving or need your car at a moment’s notice, a level 2 charger might be the better option.
Level 2 Chargers
Level 2 chargers are some of the most popular EV chargers available for two big reasons. Level 2 chargers are powerful and fast. With a level 2 charger installed in your home, you can fully charge your car in about 9 hours.
If you work from home, your car can be ready for travel by the end of the workday. Or, you can charge your car while you sleep. With a little diligence, you can have your car’s full range available to you just about every day.
The trade-off is that level 2 chargers are more expensive than level 1 chargers and tend to be more difficult to install. While a level 1 charger is easy enough to install without help, you will need an electrician for a level 2 charger installation.
Level 3 Chargers
Level 3 chargers are the best of the best. If you want a near-immediate charge for your electric vehicle, you need a level 3 charger. These chargers are a little different than the rest due to the currents they use.
Because of this, level 3 chargers are also known as DCFC chargers or DC fast chargers. Where level 1 and 2 chargers use alternating current, level 3 chargers take advantage of direct current. This focus allows level 3 chargers to race ahead in power and charge time.
Level 3 chargers put out 400V or more, charging at a rate of 50 to 60 kW per hour. Where a level 2 charger will take as long as 9 hours to provide a full charge, a level 3 charger will top off your vehicle in a little over an hour.
All this power comes at a cost, however. Level 3 chargers are the most expensive of the bunch and require considerable professional installation.
Before jumping on a level 3 charger, think about how much traveling you do. If you’re constantly on the move and you find yourself needing the full range of your electric vehicle all of the time, a level 3 charger may be appropriate. However, if you don’t need the lightning-fast charge of a level 3 charger, a level 2 charger will probably suffice.
The Benefits of an EV Charger Installation
When you’re considering an EV charger for your home, think about all of the work that goes into getting an electric vehicle charged. You need to go out, locate a public charging station, and wait for the charge to occur.
That’s a huge amount of effort just to drive your car for longer. With an EV charging station at home, everything is simplified.
Public charging stations don’t offer an instant charge. Once you drive over to a public charging station and hook up your vehicle, you need to spend time waiting for your car to charge.
You might be waiting for an hour or more, so best bring a book. However, if you install a charging station at home, you can simply charge your vehicle during your downtime. Any time you leave home, you’ll have most (if not all) of your car’s range available.
If you’re switching from a gas vehicle, you’re likely to spend half as much money charging your electric vehicle as you would fueling up a gas vehicle. If you’re using public charging stations in Mint Hill, NC, the savings won’t be as significant, but still not enough not to ignore.
When using public charging stations, it’s tempting to leave your car to do something else in the meantime. You might go to work or head off to a nearby cafe for a drink. Either way, your vehicle is left alone and vulnerable. While the chances of something happening to your car are low, they’re even lower when charging at home.
Extra Features to Consider
More advanced EV chargers can include extra features to spice up their functionality. Some include WiFi connectivity and anti-theft devices. WiFi features enable you to track your car’s charging progress remotely, while anti-theft devices make it more difficult to steal your charging cable.
Choose Get The Best Electric for Your EV Charger Installation
GB Electrical Services is the go-to electrician in Mint Hill, NC. We’ve been providing home wiring, EV charger repair and installation, and more for years. If you need a knowledgeable electrician for your EV charger installation, call GB Electrical Services and schedule your appointment today!