With the introduction of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model 3, electric vehicle enthusiasts have even more affordable choices for electric cars that have a longer range than prior models. Drivers have a couple of options for electric-powered cars, and many choices based on the speed and ease of charging the vehicle. The pure electric battery vehicles (BEV) can take a long time to charge if they're drained to empty, while plug-in hybrids feature a much shorter charging time.
Charging your electric vehicle is best done overnight, at home. There are two types of chargers, as well as Tesla-specific chargers. Many of these charger models may require an electrician to properly install, making sure that your car and home are protected and safe. Charging overnight means using power during off-peak hours, allowing you to start the day with a fully charged vehicle. Choosing the type of charging station for your EV depends on your personal use of the car. Sometimes it makes more sense to have a faster home EV charging station (also referred to as an EVSE or electric vehicle supply equipment).
Some electric vehicle drivers can easily just use the electric charger that comes with the vehicle, usually good for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with a 20 to 50-mile range. These are "trickle chargers" and plug into a home or garage wall socket charging the vehicle over 8 to 12 hours overnight. It's important when installing your EV charger to have a professional electrician inspect the socket to ensure it's safely able to deliver the power needed, and many electricians recommend having a dedicated socket for your car charger.
The newer vehicle models, with a longer range, have an advantage in that they may not use the full battery power each day. For owners using a level one charger, this can be a decided advantage, as they may simply have to top off the battery each night. To determine which electric charger is best for your home, consider your current and future needs. There are two main types of chargers, Level 1 and Level 2.
Level 1 charging stations can connect to any standard household outlet and use a 120-volt connection. While there may be no extra costs for installation, the charging times are slow. For those with a longer commute, this may be a concern, but many electric vehicle owners note that they don't generally deplete more of the battery's charge than can be replenished overnight from the basic plugs.
Level 2 chargers provide a faster charge, at double the power output – 240 volts versus the level 1's 120 connection. For example, a Mercedes B electric vehicle may take up to 20 hours to fully charge and has almost 90-miles of range using the standard level 1 charging station. Using a Level 2 charger, this car can be fully charged in three hours. If you desire a faster charge, it might be advisable to install a level 2 charger at your home right off the bat. The high-speed charging stations are much more convenient and can even add value to your home.
Typical level 2 outlets require no more power than the ones you use to power your clothes dryer. If you have an older home, however, it's advisable to have an electrician inspect the outlet you'll use for the EV charger. As most EV drivers do the majority of their driving at home, a level 1 charger may not be feasible for those who drive long distances or don't have an opportunity to recharge their car during the day.
A licensed electrician can install your charging station, saving you a lot of money down the road. Each home is different, so your local Greenville Electrician can give you the correct estimate for your house. If you don't have flexibility with an EV charger location, or if you need upgrades to your circuits or breakers, it may run a little more.
A specific level 2 electric vehicle charging station may be the best solution for many electric vehicle drivers, due to an increased charging speed and improved safety features. These can be connected to your home's electric panel, or even a smart home or solar PV system. Setting up a home EV charger may be a little pricey up front, but much of that is the one-time hardware costs. Your electrician can help guide you to the right equipment your home's circuits can handle and give you a personalized quote.
Tesla recently introduced a new wall option available to juice up Model X, Model 3, and Model S cars with 40 amps of wall power – and it doesn't require an electrician to install. It's just as safe as the hard-wired version, but its portability is revolutionary. This model is similar to their hardwired option – but allows EV drivers to take the charger with them, giving greater flexibility and range when driving. What's unique here is the attached NEMA 14-50 plug, allowing users to take the wall connector with them if they move.
This particular Tesla charger may not need a professional electrician to install - simply mount it to the wall and plug it in. The only catch is that you'll need a NEMA 14-50 power outlet, and that can be installed by your local Greenville Electrician. The new charger comes in at around the same price as the hardwired one; however, you may need professional electrician services to install a dedicated, safe, outlet if you don't already have one.
Choosing the right electric vehicle charger for your home can make a difference in your enjoyment of your electric or hybrid car. Consulting with a licensed electrician before purchasing an expensive charger can help you safely care for and power your vehicle, as well as add value to your home if you choose to sell it.