Selecting a home charger for your EV can be an expensive and long process. It would be best to decide how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) it will take to charge your vehicle, how much you like the idea of a device that allows you to “schedule” charging, and the price.
Not all chargers are created equal; some have no features at all. Smart features like customizable schedules (time and mileage) and the ability to turn off your car. So, here’s a step-by-step guide to selecting your home EV charger.
I. Do you need a Home EV Charger?
Home EV chargers are necessary for every EV owner and are becoming popular solutions for several different situations. Typically, home chargers are used in residential settings and allow for charging throughout the day and overnight. In some cases, you can charge your charging station with solar power to further reduce your carbon footprint. If you live in a house with ample parking space, an exterior charger is also the best solution if you have more than 1 car.
Home charging stations can be used in many different ways depending on your specific situation, whether it’s at home or work, or if you travel often and would like to be able to charge your car wherever you go.
II. What are the Types of EV Chargers?
- Level 1: Trickle Charging
The most basic charging method on the market. The rate at which electrons are pumped into the vehicle is dependent on how fast the car’s battery can take them up and is limited by the strength of the charging source.
It can take hours to fully charge a car if it requires more than 5-10 miles of range per hour; 20+ miles of range per hour will let you find a place to plug in for as long as you need and still enjoy some time in your EV before needing to start looking for a charging station again.
- Level 2: Home Charging
This method uses a dedicated 240V circuit to provide current to the vehicle’s battery at a much faster rate than a standard wall outlet. A Level 2 charger may provide up to 25 miles of range each hour of charging time, or more than 200 miles per night. The precise amount of range per hour is determined on the charger unit’s power rating and the power rating of your car.
- Level 3: DC Fast Charging
This is a new technology that allows for fast charging, typically at 50-70 miles per hour on average, which reduces the time it takes to charge from hours to just minutes. DC fast charging stations are typically located at grocery stores, airports, and shopping centers.
Many current EV models also have the technology installed to handle DC Fast Charging, so EVs can be charged wherever this technology is offered.
Each level has its own benefits and drawbacks, and what works for one person may not work for another. Suppose you’re serious about buying an EV or are considering switching to an EV (especially those with DC fast charging capabilities). In that case, you must understand the charging basics to decide which EV is right for you.
III. How do you Choose Your Right EV Home Charging Station?
An EV charger can be a long-term investment. It can even be a lifetime purchase depending on the type of EV that you buy or if you switch your car many times. Charging stations range from simple Level 1 units that plug into a standard household outlet to high-powered three-phase charging stations supporting fast charge rates.
The most suitable product for your needs will depend on your location, the power available at your home, what kind of car you have, and how often you plan to charge it. Therefore, it is essential to choose the right one for your needs. You should take a look at the following things when choosing an EV home charging station.
① Charging Speed: How fast do you want to charge?
Slow charging may be fine if you’re plugging in every night or is not an option if you’re on the move. Many drivers, however, may want to get a quick charger to optimize their driving range when away from home.
If you’re going to charge fast, it’s essential to know what your car can handle. Most modern EVs come with a Combined Charging Speed (CCS) rate of about 50 miles of EPA-rated electric range per hour of charging, so look for a charger that can match this rate.
② Power & Supply: How much capacity can electric panel provide?
Power and supply are two different sources of power; Panel Capacity = Amperage (A) x Voltage (V). The Electric Power System in the United States is rated at 120, 208, or 240 volts with 47–65.3 amps.
Any charger that plugs into a standard wall outlet will work with any voltage, so you won’t need to match precisely the voltage of your electric panel to be safe. Cheaper chargers may not be tested for safety, but some higher-end chargers will appear on a list of other certified chargers. Check if a charger will work with your home’s electrical Capacity before choosing what’s suitable for you.
③ Location: Where do you plan to put your EV charger?
Just like you need to find your best places for charging, you also need to consider where to put your EV home charger. Install your home charger close to the electrical panel or with direct wire from the electrical panel or a dedicated breaker. Besides efficiency, location also has something to do with safety.
If you want even more convenience, a wall-mounted charging station that can be used inside or outdoors is the ideal choice. A weatherproof station allows for charging when it’s raining outside and gives you the flexibility to travel and park different cars in different locations.
④ Safety & Reliability: How important are safety and reliability to you?
To begin, do a Google search for your exact charger to see whether it has been tested and approved by a globally known testing facility. You may also inquire with your electrical contractor or electrician if the charger you are considering has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing facility.
⑤ Incentives & Rebates: Can I benefit from the state or local ev incentives?
If you are considering a home charging station, ask your utility company if they have special EV rate plans and rebates. Each country and region is different, but many have incentives and rebates for installing an EV charger at home.
A lot of countries and localities are offering incentives. If you want to take advantage of them, make sure the charger you’re considering is eligible for the incentive. For example, if you get a rebate for installing a charger by June 31st, 2022, check to see that the charging station meets that deadline.
Many utilities provide EV charging rate options that save you money if you charge during off-peak hours. You may inquire with your local utility about this option. You may also be eligible for extra incentives and refunds for charging at home. To qualify for these incentives, chargers must often be smart.
⑥ Smart Features: What else can an EV home charger do for you?
Setting charging schedules and reminders on a smart charger is as simple as touching the app or speaking into the device. You can also monitor your energy use and miles traveled in one convenient location.
Smart chargers often have a number of smart features, such as scheduled charging, reminders, and access to charging information.
If you own a vehicle that enables smart charging, such as the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, you may manage and monitor charging from your house or garage. Some smart chargers with digital displays integrate smartphone applications for monitoring and tracking charging.
⑦ Cost: How much will it cost?
Many chargers on the market are very configurable. You may choose them based on their pricing and the characteristics you need. Home chargers, for example, range in price from $500 to $900. What you will receive from this pricing range varies. The more you pay, the more functions your charger will have. So, before purchasing a home charging station, evaluate how much money you have to spend on one.
Prices for a simple home EV charger may vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars for a top-of-the-line smart home EV charger. The price discrepancy is due to the cost of hardware, installation, and warranty/support for each business.
Cheaper chargers may not have been certified for safety or may lack useful features such as the ability to set reminders and schedule charging. Choose a Home EV Charger that will protect you and your appliances while also saving you money on charging via scheduled charging and possibly rebates.
With the information provided above, you should be able to choose an appropriate home EV charger for your electric vehicle. You should also be prepared to install it and begin reaping the advantages of home charging.
If you understand the purpose of a home EV charger, why it’s required, and which kind is the safest, most convenient, and most cost-effective for your circumstance, you’re now ready to choose one that meets all of your requirements.