Did You Just Purchase Your First Electric Vehicle?
Getting a new car is always exciting but getting your first electric vehicle is even more special. As EVs become more accessible and charging stations more easily accessed, more and more people are making the switch and not looking back. If this is your first electric vehicle, you likely have questions about charging your car at home. Do you need special equipment? Can your electrical system handle the increased demand for charging a vehicle daily?
Below we review your residential EV charging options and what you can expect from each one.
Installing Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Home
Major impediments to electric vehicle adoption are the pervasive misconceptions about charging. Even those who would like to switch to electric worry about being able to find charging stations and assume that they will be running all over town trying to get a charge. Many people do not realize they can reliably charge their vehicles at home. Additionally, you do not necessarily need special equipment to charge your new electric vehicle at home (though many people upgrade to a specialized charger for added convenience). You have a couple of options for charging your electric car at home.
There are three levels of EV charging stations:
- Level I – slowest charging option, and uses a standard household plug
- Level II – faster than the level I charging and requires 240v charging equipment
- Level III – fastest charging option and not available for residential installation
Level I charging is the easiest option for homeowners and is usually what people initially use. It requires no special equipment – just a standard GFCI outlet and your manufacturer-provided charging cord. Level I EV charging will give you roughly 2-5 miles of range for every hour of charging. It is also recommended that you use an outlet with its own dedicated circuit to ensure you do not overload the circuit while charging your vehicle.
It is worth noting that electric vehicle owners who rely on Level I charging typically must leave their vehicle to charge overnight and likely will also have to supplement their charging at a fast-charging station.
Level II charging can provide anywhere from 10-60 miles of range per hour. With a Level II charger installed at your home, you can more reliably count on having a full charge to your vehicle when you get up in the morning. Most EV owners switch to a Level II charger soon after purchasing their vehicle, making having an electric car much more convenient.
Because a Level II charger may require a service panel upgrade, it should always be installed by a licensed electrical contractor, like Lightning Bug Electric, to ensure safe installation. For example, Level II charging stations should be installed so they do not come in contact with the vehicle while charging. An experienced electrician familiar with installing Level II EV chargers will have the skill and knowledge to complete a safe, efficient installation.
Level III charging stations are not available for residential installation.
Tips for Installing an EV Charger at Your Home
If you’ve decided that you’d like to install a Level II charger at your home, your first step is to consult with an experienced electrician. We recommend scheduling an inspection at your home to identify the best location for installation and whether you will need a service panel upgrade or other work done to your system before installation. It is a good idea to do all this before purchasing your charger. This will ensure that when you purchase your charger, you will buy the best one for your setup.
It is also a good idea to look for a charger that qualifies you for a federal tax credit.
Have more questions about installing an EV charger at your Atlanta home? Reach out to Lightning Bug Electric for guidance.