Electric vehicle owners love being able to charge their cars and trucks at home, and by far the best home-charging solution is the Level 2 charger, which is many times faster than a standard 120-volt Level 1 charger that some EVs are sold with.
Read on to learn more about Level 2 charging stations and how you can get one installed in your garage, carport, or driveway.
The Difference Between Level 1 and Level 2 Charging Stations
Residential neighborhoods are serviced with electricity that can support a Level 1 or a Level 2 charger. The DC fast charger found out in public can only be installed on commercial-zoned property like office buildings, hotels, and parking structures.
Level 1 Chargers
A version of a Level 1 plug-in charger usually comes with most electric car purchases. These chargers are designed to plug into a standard 110- or 120-volt outlet. Also known as slow-flow chargers, Level 1’s will provide roughly three to five miles of range per hour of charge. For an eight-hour charge, this will give someone 24 to 40 miles of range.
If you have a plug-in hybrid, like a RAV4 Prime, this may be all you need because the battery has 42 miles of range.
Level 2 Chargers
Level 2 chargers come in both portable and hardwired versions. These types of EV charging stations are compatible with 240-volt outlets (the same kind used by stoves and dryers). Because Level 2 chargers can handle more electricity, they can provide an EV-manufacturer-recommended 80 percent battery charge overnight, when many utilities offer discounted electricity rates.
(For example, Alabama Power offers a program that allows customers to get a 1.7 cent discount per kWh for charging their EVs from 9pm to 5am.)
EV Charging Station Installation Considerations
If you’re new to the world of electric cars and are looking to add a better and less expensive way to charge your new car, here are some things to think about when choosing your new device.
1. Hardwired vs. Plug-in Chargers
One of the first things to think about is if you’d prefer a plug-in or hardwired style EV charger. There are pros and cons to both. Plug-in chargers are more portable and easier to move from one place to the next. While hardwired chargers cannot be moved, they usually come pre-loaded with more advanced changing features.
2. Cable length and storage
If you decide not to go with a portable charger it's crucial to make sure the EV charger is placed so that it can reach the electric car charging port with the provided cable length. Also, consider a storage unit for your EV home charging station, so the cable isn’t left hanging from the wall.
3. Weather Considerations
If you prefer to park in the driveway, it may make more sense to install your home EV charging station outdoors. If you decide to go this route, be sure to select an EV charger that is weatherproofed. Most that are built to withstand the elements will promote this fact.
The more the EV market grows the more options chargers seem to come with. Smart features like scheduled charging, auto-resume when power is lost, and synching with your smartphone via an app, can help you charge your car with ease from your couch.
6. UL Listed
This stands for Underwriters Laboratories. They are a safety standards company that tests products like EV chargers to ensure they are safe to use at home. Be sure any purchases you make contain this important stamp of approval.
Cost to Install an EV Charging Station
When looking into how to install an EV charging station you will quickly realize you’ll need assistance from a certified electrician. It’s highly likely that you’ll need to upgrade one of the electrical outlets in your garage to support charging your EV.
The typical installation cost ranges from $400 to $2,000, depending on a number of factors.
Ask your electric utility about rebate programs. Many utilities nationally offer their customers rebates on the purchase and/or installation of Level 2 Home EV chargers, and many more utilities will be offering these programs soon.
EV Charging Station Contractors in Alabama
Looking for help installing an EV charging station at home? AirNow Home Services offers experienced, professional EV home charging station installation in the greater Montgomery, Alabama area.
We can help you pick out the perfect charger for your home and EV, and we offer guaranteed service. Call us today at 334-835-8246.