One of the major attractions of electric vehicles (EVs) is their ability to free us from the tyranny of the pump. Instead of the smells, noise and inconvenience of the gas station you simply pull your car into the garage at night, plug it in and go inside to eat your dinner. In the morning you emerge, unplug the car and go to work. In many ways that epitomizes the very essence of modern convenience.
But there’s a drawback to the current system of residential EV charging: the time involved. It can take as much as 20 hours to recharge a fully depleted battery using the 110 or 120 Volt wall outlet of the Level 1 charging system. And this has turned many people off to the idea of buying an electric vehicle. Can anything be done to reduce this charging time?
Installing a Level 2 Charging Station in Your Home
Level 1 charging is what it is and there is not much that can be done to speed it up. Fortunately, it is not the only option homeowners have when it comes to charging their EV. With little muss and fuss the pros from Hotwire Electric can install a 240 Volt AC Level 2 charger in your home that will drastically reduce charging times and provide you with the type of freedom you currently enjoy with your gas powered vehicle.
Level 2 charging station can reduce the amount of time it takes to recharge a spent battery from 10-20 hours to 4-8 hours. Sometimes less. In theory, you could arrive home after work with the battery down 30%, plug in, go inside to wash up and have dinner, then emerge later in the evening to go out with friends and find the battery fully charged. It’s the kind of speed that can make all the difference in your EV experience. But what exactly is involved with EV charger installation?
The Process of EV charger Installation
- Hiring a pro to do the work – There are myriad segments of the electrical code that cover the installation of a 240 Volt AC Level 2 charging station in the home. So it’s always best to hire a qualified professional to do the work. At Hotwire Electric we’ve installed scores of Level 2 chargers for residents of the GTA. If you’re worried about cost you should be aware that there are also many rebate and incentive programs out there that can help pay for the installation.
- Picking a charger – There are any number of 240 Volt AC charging stations on the market today. The two biggest considerations when it comes to choosing the right one for your home are cord length and amperage. Commercially available Level 2 chargers range from 16 to 40 amps and have charging cords that typically range from 16 to 25 feet in length. The higher the amperage and the longer the cord the more you’ll pay. But you’ll also have more flexibility and your car will charge faster.
- The installation itself – The Level 2 residential EV charger installation is intended to be a permanent installation. The device is mounted to the wall (typically inside your garage) and meant to stay there. For the sake of versatility and convenience it is recommended the charging station be installed on the same side of the vehicle as the input plug. Also, it may be advantageous to situate the device in a place where the cord can reach out to the area just outside the garage. That way if access to the garage is blocked for some reason you can still charge your vehicle.
Preparing for a Home EV Charger Installation
One of the first things that needs to be determined by the electricians is whether or not your home has the wiring needed to support a 240 Volt Level 2 charger. If your home is old there is a chance that the wiring between the electrical panel and the garage will need to be upgraded. It’s also possible that the electrical panel itself may need to be replaced along with your home’s electrical meter. These changes will of course add to the cost of the project. As we mentioned, earlier, however it might be possible to offset some or most of the installation costs by way of rebates and tax incentives.
But while it is possible you may have to engage in some upgrades to the wiring in your home it is more likely that you won’t. The vast majority of the residences we install Level 2 charging stations in do not require any complex upgrading of their electrical systems. Keep in mind too that most Level 2 chargers are completely weatherproof. So even if you don’t have a garage on your home you can still install a Level 2 charging station outdoors. Either on the driveway or some other place where you can bring your car and the charger into proximity with one another.