As more and more electric vehicles (EVs) are making it to the market, home charging stations are in high demand. Many new cars will come with a Level 1 Cable that you can plug into a standard 120V outlet at home, but it could take all day to get a full charge. So, upgrading to a Level 2 Charger that gets the job done in a fraction of the time is a lot more practical. Before you get too far down the path to purchase, however, there a few important things to consider.
How Much Power Do You Need?
First and foremost, it is imperative that you make sure your home is equipped to handle the additional electrical load of an EV charger. If you already have a 200-amp panel, you are probably good to go. But, if it’s only a 100-amp panel, you may end up needing an upgrade before installing a charger. It will depend on the power consumption of your home’s appliances as well as the configuration.
Regardless of what your home is equipped with, it’s a good idea to have it assessed before attempting an installation or plugging in the cable your car may have come with. You really need to put an EV charger on dedicated circuit to avoid a damaging overload. You shouldn’t have to worry about running the dishwasher while charging your car, right?
Plug-in or Hardwired?
Did you know you’ve got choices about how your charger will be powered? You’ll either need a 240V outlet to plug it into, or you can hardwire it directly into your home’s electrical service. Both options provide reliable charging with GFCI safety either built into the unit or through your breaker panel. In my opinion, they are equally good choices, just be sure not to base your decision on already having a 240V dryer outlet in your carport! EV chargers require a 50-amp NEMA 14-50R receptacle. Your dryer outlet provides only 30 amps, and the prongs won’t line up. So, either way, you’ll need to have a dedicated outlet installed.
Where Should It Be Installed?
Level 2 Chargers can be safely installed both indoors or outdoors and are made to withstand temperatures far more extreme than we experience here in the south. Ideally, you’ll be able to carve out a space in your garage, as this will likely be the most convenient location. But, with just a bit more complexity to the installation, you can put them almost anywhere you store your car, even free-standing next to your driveway. Just be sure to consider the required length of the charging cable to reach all your vehicles before you break ground (or wall). Typically, 18-25 feet is enough to cover a 2-3 car garage.
What If You Need Two?
If you have more than one EV vehicle, or envision more in your future, you may want multiple chargers. Really, you can install as many EV chargers as your heart desires. The only catch is, your electrical service must be able to support them. As long as there is adequate power, and each charger is on a dedicated circuit with its own outlet, there really isn’t a limit on how many chargers you can have!
Why Not Just Stick With the Level 1 Charger?
EV drivers will do the vast majority of their vehicle charging at home, so it’s important to choose one that meets your specific driving needs and budget. If you only use your car to go a few miles here or there, the cheapest option is obviously the Level 1 Cable that plugs directly into a standard 120V outlet. But remember, and I cannot emphasize this enough, it must be on its own dedicated circuit. If you do more driving than that, which most of us do in the metro area whether we like it or not, a Level 2 chargers will definitely make your life easier.
*There is no significant difference between Level 1 Cable and a Level 2 Chargers as far as their impact on battery life. Only the Level 3 DC Fast Chargers have the potential to affect the longevity of your battery when used regularly. They also consume a ton of electricity, so they’re not installed at a person’s home, but you might be happy to find one at a rest area!
Don’t Forget Your Tax Credit!
Georgia Power is offering homeowners a $250 rebate ($500 for businesses) on the installation of an EV charger in 2023. If you plan to install one this year, make sure you take advantage of the rebate!
Bray Electrical Services is certified by Georgia Power to install EV chargers, and we’re ready to help. We can handle everything from the safety inspection and permit to the actual installation. We’ll ensure that you have sufficient electricity flowing into your home to support charging your vehicle(s), and we’re equipped to expand your system if required. Don’t hesitate to call us with questions!