With electric vehicles becoming more and more popular, electrical charging stations are becoming hotter commodities for property owners. However, there are things to remember when deciding whether or not it will be cost effective to install one on your property.
Level 1 Chargers
If you own an electric vehicle, the bare minimum required home charging station is a level 1 charging station. This essentially takes normal household electrical power and uses it to fill the battery in your car. The battery in your car is the same as any other battery, utilizing different chemicals or elements to store energy, then allowing that energy to be released over a period of time. Essentially, when it is charged, the chemicals are returned to a high energy state. The rate at which it can charge as well as the amount of energy it can store are both determined both by the construction/size of the battery, as well as the specific type of chemical bonds being used. When using a level 1 charger, the limiting factor on charge speed will almost certainly be the fact that the simple 120v cannot deliver energy particularly quickly.
With that said, the upside to a level one charger is that it will likely be relatively cheap, both in terms of its components, and the labor involved. If you have a single electric vehicle, and you will be able to charge it all night most nights, this could be sufficient for your needs. However, you might find yourself short if you unexpectedly have extra driving to do or come home late one night.
Level 2 Chargers
If you want to have a charger more able to deliver rapid power to your vehicle, a level 2 charger will do the job. This can change the full recharge time of an electric vehicle from 15 hours or more down to 4 or 5 hours. This huge increase in speed means that you will have a lot more flexibility when it comes to deciding how to use your electric vehicle. Even with a very large battery, you should be able to fully charge it easily overnight and get a considerable amount of charge in just an hour or two.
However, there are two factors which might make a level two charger less desirable for you. First, they will likely come with a higher initial price tag. If you are short on cash, you might need to make do with the level one. There will be a number of components involved in gathering and delivering a greater amount of energy safely in a shorter amount of time, and some of them can be expensive. Additionally, the electrical work which will need to be done can be harder. As the electrical load will be drastically increased, you will have a greater chance of needing to upgrade your home electrical system. If your home electrical system is close to capacity, you will certainly need to upgrade it to use any type of electric vehicle charger. If you are considering an electric vehicle, a call to your electrician could help determine how much it would cost to install a charger, and what other steps would need to be taken. Depending on your property, it could be a quick job which could be completed quickly and cheaply by a trained professional, or an extensive renovation to supply more power. Either way, you will want to know before you make a decision about purchasing an electric vehicle.
One final factor which could influence your decision is the maximum rate at which the battery will accept charge safely. While top of the line and newer vehicles will likely be compatible with extremely fast power charging protocols, older or less advanced batteries are more likely to have a relevant limit to their rate of charge. In this case, a more expensive charger might not mean a faster charge. So, when deciding which charging station is right for you, consult the manufacturer and owner’s manual on your vehicle, your trusted electrician for electrical information about your property, and finally examine your lifestyle and budgetary constraints.
There is one final type of charging, but it isn’t really meant for home use. Direct Current charging systems can pump energy into a battery incredibly quickly, but not only are they prohibitively expensive, but they also take an incredible amount of power. These can be great conveniences if you are charging your vehicle at a station which has one, but it would be incredibly inefficient to build one on your property.
In short, if you are looking to put in an electrical hookup for your vehicle, choose between a type 1 or 2 charging station, and call your electrician to professionally and safely install the system. If electric vehicles become more and more common, this could be a great investment into the value of your home.