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6 Things You Need To Know About Installing An Electric Car Charging Port

by Antonio Chau on January 10, 2017

With Tesla releasing their “Model 3” vehicle in the near future, more and more homeowners are becoming interested in owning electric vehicles and installing electric car charging ports in their homes. Sales of electric cars are particularly popular in the Bay Area, where electric car sales double or triple the numbers in other areas. But what does it take to have an electric car charging port installed in your home and is it worth it? For most owners of electric vehicles, having an electric car charging port in the home is a necessity to ensure there is an adequate charge for the car while it is stored overnight and before long journeys, especially taking into account the time factor when charging an electric car. If you have an electric car or you are thinking about purchasing one soon, it’s important to consider whether installing a home electric car charging port could be right for you. Here we look at 6 important factors to weigh up when you’re deciding to install an electric car charger.

 

Review Your Current Electrical Infrastructure

review electrical infrastructure before installing an EVSEBefore you consider installing an electric car charging port, or even plugging your electric car into the power supply at your home, it’s important to have a checkup of your electrical infrastructure conducted by a qualified electrician. Car parking areas may be well supplied with existing electrical infrastructure such as wiring and outlets, or your garage may be sadly lacking in the kind of appropriate safe electrical infrastructure you need for car charging.

Only an experienced and licensed electrician can tell you whether your electrical system meets the standards. An electrical checkup is also a great idea to help you prepare before adding a large electrical appliance, like a car, to your home’s network. When you’re beginning to think about installing an electric car charging station, call your local electrician for an initial survey and check up to see if your garage and parking area are up to the required standard.

Plugging In On the Go and At Home

When it comes to installing a home electric car charger, it’s a good idea to fully assess how you use your car and what type of electric vehicle you have, in order to find the best solution for your specific needs. Perhaps you only drive your car to work and you have an electric vehicle charging station at work. While you are on the go, you may be able to plug in and charge up at malls, parking stations and other designated electric vehicle charging stations.

But most owners of electric vehicles will also need to have their own electric car charging port at home to refuel and recharge in the place where the car spends the most time. Depending on the charging facilities you have at your home, charging your electric vehicle can take varying amounts of time, so it’s important to find a solution that meets your needs in a time efficient manner.

speed of electrical vehicle chargeSpeed of Charging

When driving an electrical vehicle, you want to leave your home on a full charge. But how long it takes to reach this full charge with your home charging solution depends on which option you choose. Simply plugging your electric vehicle into a standard outlet in your home can charge your electric car, however this method is slower. Called ‘level 1’ charging, this form of charging uses 120 volts and takes much longer than specially designed electric car charging ports.

Recharge time depends on your battery capacity and how much driving you’ve done since your last charge. But installing a level 2 electric car charging port will charge your electric vehicle much more quickly using 240-volt power. Of course, installing a level 2 charger requires a 240-volt power supply and probably a wiring upgrade, so talk to your local electrician about your options if you’re thinking of upgrading your charging power.

Permits and Incentives For Home Charging Stations

Installing an electric car charging station in your home requires permitting in California. Permits generally cost around $200 and some cities even have expedited permitting for electric car charging ports, making it fairly easy. After you have consulted with an experienced and licensed electrician, you may also need to get a building permit for the new electrical circuit, although your electrician may take care of this permit.

A number of incentives are also available for installing electric vehicle charging stations, so ask your utilities company about any incentives before you start to look at the different option you might have.

Choosing a Level 2 EVSE Charger

If you’ve decided you want to go for the higher powered charging option, it’s time to choose your Level 2 Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE) charger. Your electric vehicle manufacturer may recommend a certain level 2 EVSE charger for your car model, so it’s always a good idea to start by asking the vehicle manufacturer. Choose UL or ETL listed EVSE products as these Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories provide a better guarantee of the quality of the charger.

Installing Your Charger

Installing your charger is the final and most important step of the process. Choosing a qualified EVSE installer is key, along with finding a qualified, licensed and insured electrician. Your electrician will help you ensure that your infrastructure and charging area is ready to have your charging station installed. The involvement of a high quality electrician is critical throughout the entire preparation and installation process for EVSE chargers, to ensure the proper function and safety of your new charging station.

Following the installation, the electrical utilities will need to be coordinated in order to supply power to the charging outlet. Once the installation is approved by a building inspector, your charging station is set up and ready to go.

While there are many factors to consider when you’re installing an electric vehicle charging station in your home, these 6 important factors are a great start to help you prepare for an efficient, safe and high quality installation for a level 2 EVSE charger.