Finding either a public fast or slow charger for your EV or electric vehicle is a common problem for a lot of EV drivers. It’s why charging at home is becoming a much more preferable choice. More often than not, it’s cheaper, more convenient, and safer than the public EV charging stations out there. But what is a home EV charger? Is it an ideal choice for you? And what EV home charger can you use?
Here is everything you need to know about getting or installing home EV chargers.
1. What is a home EV charger?
A home EV (electric vehicle) charger, also known as electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) or home charging station, is a device that allows you to charge or top up your electric vehicle in the comforts of your home. These chargers are designed to provide a convenient and efficient way to recharge your EV’s battery.
Here are some key features and aspects of a home EV charger:
- Charging Speeds: Home EV chargers come in different power levels, typically measured in kilowatts (kW). The higher the power level, the faster your vehicle will charge. Common levels include 3.7 kW, 7.4 kW, 11 kW, and 22 kW.
- Connection Types: There are several types of connectors for home EV chargers, including the Level 1 charger (120-volt outlet), Level 2 charger (240-volt outlet), and Level 3 DC fast charger. Level 2 chargers are known to be commonly used for home charging.
- Installation: Home EV chargers need to be installed by a certified electrician or a professional to ensure they are properly connected to your electrical system. This may involve running new wiring, adding a dedicated circuit, and mounting the charger on your wall or a pedestal.
- Charging Cord: EV chargers come with a cord and connector that matches your vehicle's charging port. Some chargers have fixed cables, while others have connectors that you can plug into your vehicle.
- Smart Features: Many modern home EV chargers come with smart features like Wi-Fi connectivity, smartphone apps, and the ability to schedule charging times, monitor energy usage, and more. This allows you to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates and optimize charging for your EV.
- Safety: Home EV chargers are designed with safety features to protect against overcurrent, overvoltage, and overheating. They are also weatherproof and built to withstand outdoor conditions if installed outside.
- Compatibility: It's essential to choose a charger that is compatible with your specific electric vehicle. Different EV manufacturers use different charging connectors and standards, so make sure the charger you select matches your car's requirements.
- Cost: The cost of a home EV charger can vary significantly depending on its power level, features, and brand. In addition to the charger's cost, consider installation expenses, which can vary based on your home's electrical setup.
Charging EVs at home is convenient for a lot of people; this is true. However, it’s also important to remember that while it is okay to charge an EV at home using a regular outlet, the charging time might take longer. This is why some EV owners install their own home EV charger for faster, more efficient charging.
2. What type of EV charger do I need at home?
Right now, there are various types of EV chargers that can charge your electric vehicle. This includes Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 chargers. The type of EV charger you need at home depends on several factors, including your electric vehicle's charging capabilities, charging levels, your daily driving needs, and your budget.
Take a look at these primary considerations to help you determine the right type of EV charger for your home:
A. Charging Speed and Power Level:
- Level 1 Charger (120V) - These chargers are the slowest, providing charging speeds of around 2-5 miles of range per hour. They are suitable for plug-in hybrid vehicles with smaller batteries. They are also ideal if you mostly drive very short distances and can leave your car plugged in for extended periods.
- Level 2 Charger (240V) - Level 2 chargers, on the other hand, are the most common choice for home charging. They offer a range of power levels, typically from 3.7 kW to 22 kW, allowing you to add around 10-30 miles of range per hour. The appropriate power level depends on your vehicle's maximum charging capacity and your daily driving needs. Most all-electric vehicles are compatible with Level 2 chargers.
- Level 3 DC Fast Charger - These chargers are primarily for public charging stations and are not commonly used for home charging. They offer much faster charging rates, providing a significant amount of range in a short time.
B. Vehicle Compatibility: Ensure that the charger you select is compatible with your specific electric vehicle. Different manufacturers use various connectors and standards (such as Type 1, Type 2, CHAdeMO, and CCS), so the charger you choose must match your car's requirements.
C. Daily Driving Habits and Routines: Consider your daily driving distance and whether you need to charge your vehicle overnight. If you have a long daily commute and need a full charge each morning, a Level 2 charger with higher power output is beneficial and might be more appropriate.
D. Installation: Evaluate your home's electrical capacity. If you have a 240V outlet near your parking spot or in your garage, you may be able to install a Level 2 charger relatively easily. If you don't have an existing 240V outlet, you'll likely need to consult with an electrician to install one, which can add to the overall cost.
E. Budget: Home EV chargers vary in price depending on their features and power levels. Consider your budget and look for chargers that provide the necessary features without overextending your finances.
F. Smart Features: Some home EV chargers come with smart features, such as smartphone apps for remote monitoring and control, energy usage tracking, and scheduling. If these features are important to you, look for chargers that offer them. However, it’s also wise to consider the risks of EV charger hacking, where internet connectivity can lead to charger hacking and theft.
G. Weather and Location: If you plan to install the charger outdoors, make sure it is rated for outdoor use and can withstand weather conditions in your area.
Make sure to consider these things as you pick the best EV home charger for your needs. You can even consult a certified electrician or EV charger expert to help you decide on the best setup for you and your electric vehicle.
3. How much does it cost to install an EV charger at home?
The cost of installing an EV charger at home can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the type of charger, your existing electrical infrastructure, labor costs in your region, and any additional work or materials required.
- Charger type - The cost of the charger itself can vary based on the brand, features, and power level. Level 2 chargers are the most common choice for home use, and their prices typically range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars, depending on the charger's quality and features.
- Electrical work or electrician’s consultation - The biggest portion of the installation cost usually comes from the electrical work required to set up the charger. This can include:
- Adding a dedicated 240V circuit from your electrical panel to the location of the charger.
- Upgrading the electrical panel if it doesn't have the necessary capacity.
- Installing a subpanel if the distance from your panel to the charger location is substantial.
- Running conduit and wiring to protect and connect the charger.
- The complexity of the electrical work and your home's existing infrastructure will influence the installation cost.
- Labor costs - Labor costs for the installation can vary based on the electrician's rates in your area and the complexity of the installation. Some electricians charge by the hour, while others may offer a fixed price for the entire installation.
- Additional Equipment - If your installation requires additional equipment like a wall mount or a pedestal for the charger, this can add to the overall cost.
- Accessories and extras - You may also need to purchase additional accessories like cable management systems or a Wi-Fi-enabled EV charger, which could increase the total cost of your home EV charger.
- Permits and inspections - Depending on your local regulations, you may need permits for the installation, and there may be inspection fees. These costs can vary by location.
- Tax credits and incentives - In some regions, there may be tax credits or incentives available to help offset the cost of installing an EV charger. Be sure to check if any incentives apply in your area.
To put things into perspective, Level 2 charging station installation costs can start at $500. With a 240V outlet in your home, it can even cost you less than $500. If you need additional equipment, such as proper outlets, service panels, wirings, and more, the cost could increase. At the most, a home EV charger installation can cost as much as $2500 to $50,000.
4. Can I install an EV charger at home on my own?
The short answer is yes. You can install a home EV charger on your own. However, the long answer is that a lot of experts and specialists do not recommend you do this on your own. Not unless you are absolutely qualified to do so. There are a lot of factors to consider and a lot of variables that can impact a successful installation.
Here are several important reasons why it’s best to get a professional to install your home EV charger instead:
- Risk and Safety: Installing an EV charger involves working with high-voltage electrical systems, which can be dangerous if not handled correctly. A professional electrician will ensure that the installation is done safely and in compliance with local electrical codes and regulations.
- Electrical Expertise: Electricians have the knowledge and experience to assess your home's electrical system, determine the capacity, and make any necessary upgrades to accommodate the EV charger. They can also troubleshoot any issues that may arise during installation.
- Permits, Regulations, and Inspections: Many areas require permits and inspections for EV charger installations. A professional electrician can help you navigate the regulations and permitting process and ensure that the installation meets local code requirements.
- Warranty and Liability: Some EV charger manufacturers may require professional installation to maintain the warranty on the charger. Additionally, if you install the charger yourself and something goes wrong, it may void the warranty and could lead to personal liability if there are any electrical issues or damages.
- Complexity: The installation process can be complex, involving running new electrical circuits, setting up conduits, and properly mounting the charger. Electricians do not only have the experience and knowledge; they also have the necessary tools and equipment to handle these tasks efficiently and accurately.
- Future-proofing: A professional electrician can also help future-proof your installation. They do this by ensuring the home EV charger can accommodate higher-power chargers that may become available as EV technology advances.
5. What is the best home EV charger?
As mentioned above, the best home EV charger for you depends on your specific needs. It also depends on your budget, the compatibility of the charger with your electric vehicle, and more.
There are several reputable EV charger manufacturers that offer high-quality products with various features. Some well-regarded EV charger brands and models include the Tesla Wall Connector, JuiceBox Pro, ChargePoint Home Flex, and more.
The SOLUM AC Wallbox, on the other hand, is a new, reliable option for a home EV charger from SOLUM Group. This state-of-the-art EV charging solution delivers a powerful 22kW output, ensuring a fast charging capability for your electric vehicle. It’s also equipped with advanced EV charging technology such as RFID, an intuitive app, and Plug & Charge readiness for a much more flawless and secure charging experience.
Here are other features you can expect from the SOLUM AC Wallbox:
- 1-phase and 3-phase grid connection
- IP65 and IK10 rating for durability and impact resistance
- Customizable housing and cover
- Future-ready connectivity with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and 4G cellular connections
- Secure access options
- Wide temperature range for consistent performance
- Energy Management System
- Industry-standard compliance
- Futuristic aesthetics and design
As an EV charging solution, the SOLUM AC Wallbox can empower drivers and their vehicles so they can go wherever they want to without any complications. For homeowners looking forward to having their own EV charging stations at their residences, this is a more than ideal choice.
Want to learn more about the SOLUM AC Wallbox and how you can turn it into your EV home charger? Talk to SOLUM Group experts now!