When many Americans visualize an all-electric vehicle (‘EV’ for short), they often think of Tesla’s sleek and contemporary options that come with fun features like their ‘Insane Mode’ driving option. That’s likely because Tesla is a powerhouse in the news cycle, an innovator of design, and they advertise really well. Recently we've seen new players come on board. Ford's Lightning pickup truck is the most recent newsmaker. With the rise in climate awareness, carmakers are doubling down on electric vehicles. GM Announced in January of 2021 that all of their vehicles manufactured by the year 2035 would be electric.
As of 2021 there are more than 20 models of EVs that are currently cruisin’ the highways of America without a drop of gasoline. With that variety, and the ever-expanding third-party tech industry, choosing an electric car charger 'home charging station’ (more on this nomenclature next) can be difficult.
At Haas & Sons, we’ve had the opportunity to install many in-home systems for EVs and we’d like to share with you some common tips on selecting and installing the right one.
It's hard to estimate the cost to install as every home's setup and electric vehicle specification are unique. You can likely expect to spend between $800 and $2400 to install your unit if the electric panel is in the garage and $2000 to $4000 if the main panel is in the basement (not including the unit.) The location of the electrical panel, the desired location of the EV charger, and the size of the EV charger will determine the cost of the installation. Some counties here in MD also have different safety requirements depending on the location of the EV charger. Howard County, for example, will require the EV charger to be GFCI protected if it is installed in the garage.
- Now multiply 32 amps by how many hours per day your car needs to charge.
- For this, I will figure on a maximum charge time of 8 hours assuming you kill your battery every day.
- 32 amp x 8 hours= 256 amps per day x 365 days = 93440 amps per year.
- Now we convert that to watts so 93440 amps x 240 volts is 22,425,600 watts.
- Let’s divide that by 1000 to get the Kilowatts. 22,425,600/ 1000= 22,425.6.
- BGE is currently charging 0.08 per Kilowatt (as of September, 2021)
- 22,425.6 KW x 0.08c per KW = $1794.05 per year.
No, we do not recommend trying to install your own. Installing power for a Level 2 electric vehicle charging point is not something for a DIYer or amateur to undertake. Doing so may void any warranty and insurance companies want installs by licensed companies. This requires wiring into the electrical panel which if you don’t know what you are doing can result in injury or death.
A level 1 charger is a unit that plugs into your basic 110 outlet and then into your vehicle. The downside here is the very slow charging time. If you need your car to be able to start each day fully charged, and you have a moderate to long commute, the level 1 charger likely won't keep up. As of 2021, level 1 chargers typically provide between 12 amps and 16 amps of continuous power. At these levels of output, a Level 1 charger is estimated to deliver between 3.5 and 6.5 miles of range per hour of charging. If you need to commute or drive 100 miles each day - you'd need 15 hours to charge your car. That's cutting it close if you're home at 6 pm and out the door by 6 or 7 the next morning.
The level 2 charger solves this slow-charging dilemma. Wired directly into your circuit or breaker box, these units produce between 16 and 48 amps of power output, which can deliver between 14 and 35 miles of electric range per hour of charging. These units can charge your EV up to 4x faster than the regular Level 1 charger. This means your 100 miles of charge can be achieved in just 3-4 hours of plug-in time. Be sure to review the manufacturer's requirements, every vehicle has a different charge rate, so knowing the amount of power alone isn't enough.
Absolutely. All currently available electric vehicles can charge on a Level 2 unit - the plug/interface may change depending upon what vehicle you buy - but the unit can provide power to any of the commercially available vehicles. Adding an EV charging station to your home is also a great "perk" as you get ready to sell in this hot market. "EV Car Ready" is an amazing amenity to offer potential buyers.
What is a “home charging” system for electric vehicles?
Believe it or not, there really isn’t such a thing as a ‘home charging station or system’. This is because an electric vehicle charger is actually within the on-board components of the vehicle. So while you and your friends might be saying ‘home charger’ the proper term is actually ‘Electric Vehicle Service Equipment’ or ‘EVSE’ for short. The reason an EV owner needs a EVSE is that your existing home electrical system is most likely not outfitted to charge an EV. In short, the EVSE allows your home’s electrical system to work with the EV in a safe and efficient way for regular and consistent charging.
Checklist for Choosing an EVSE for your home
The biggest issues with most homes are that they’re wired for smaller appliances that can’t handle the energy needs of an EVSE and many weren’t built with EVs in mind, so sometimes we have to upgrade or replace the main electrical panel. Additionally, the manufacturers of EVSEs all vary on their features and options, so think long-term here. Consider the following before you buy anything:
It’s safe to say that a reliable EVSE unit will start around $500 and go up from there. Depending on the system’s capabilities (listed below) and additional features you might select, the higher the price can be. It’s also worth mentioning that the amperage capabilities of the EVSE will affect the price, because as amps go up, the system costs more. There’s a big difference between the most basic 20 amp EVSE and Tesla's behemoth 100 amp system. Please note that this does not include installation, so if you need a professional electrician in Annapolis for help, call Haas & Sons.
Volts Needed for an EVSE:
Level 1 chargers use 120 volts and level 2 chargers use 240 volts. Nearly all homes in Maryland are capable of providing 120 volts and 240 volts. With either level charger, we recommend to have a dedicated circuit installed so it won’t cause issues with other areas of your home.
Amperage Needs for an EVSE:
Amperage of your EVSE impacts your rate of charge, so it’s suggested to get one that’s 40-50 amps. Smaller level 2 EVSEs only require 30 amps, but as technology changes and different models of EVs are released, it’s safe to assume that 50 amps is the new standard, so save yourself on future upgrade costs. Plus, this allows for faster charging on vehicles that can accept higher amps.
You might need to ‘heavy up’ or replace your existing electric panel (the breaker box) to add an electric vehicle charging station. A lot of older homes in Maryland were designed with only 100 amp main electrical panels and when adding 30-50 amp of use from your EV charger, we may need to upgrade to 150 amps or 200 amps. Additionally, as EVs become even more popular than they are now, this is a good investment for selling your home down the line, as it will be EV-compatible on the MLS.
EVSE Location & Cable Length:
Make sure you select a location that’s accessible for your EV. Consider cable length in this step, as most EVSEs come with a connecting cable that is 8 to 25 feet in length. That’s a big difference, so if you’re installing an EVSE on a pedestal outside or around the back of your garage, that cable can be used quickly. Consider all scenarios when looking for a permanent location of your EVSE and which one you buy.
EVSE Add-On Features:
Living in the age of on-demand products and services, one might think that having all the bells and whistles on their EVSE would be the route to go, but we’d like to exercise some words of caution. Although it sounds really cool to have a touchscreen EVSE that has timers, usage meters, monitoring capabilities from your phone, and more, each of those additions comes with problems. One of the major ones is if you experience a loss of internet connectivity. In that situation, if you had a smart EVSE, you would be without the ability to charge. Additionally, each time you add a new feature to your EVSE you’re increasing the cost and in many situations, creating redundancy, as many of these cars come with apps and in-car tech for diagnosing performance.
EVSE Safety Precaution:
Last but not least, be certain that your EVSE comes standard with a built-in GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) protection. This will protect you and your family from accidental shocks, which could occur if the EVSE didn’t have grounding protections. There would be nothing worse than going to enter your vehicle and being shocked badly or permanently hurt, so make sure it’s protected.
Protect your investment with whole home surge protection:
Speaking of safety tips, it’s a wise idea to consider a whole home surge protector for the safety of all your electrical items. Many moons ago, households had far less plugged in 24/7 than we do now. With so many household electronics and appliances constantly connected, you’re potentially at risk for an electrical surge that could cause house-wide damage. Many of these options run anywhere from $500-$800 to have installed.
Top 3 EVSE Choices:
As we mentioned above, we’ve had the opportunity to install many EVSEs and we’ve learned which ones require us to come back for servicing and which ones last without issue. In no particular order, our Top 3 recommendations are:
Tesla Wall Connector:
It would be difficult to talk about EVs and EVSEs without mentioning Tesla. Tesla has done an exceptional job with making electrical sexy, fast, and fun. Their EVSE is no different. Starting at $500, the Tesla Wall Connector is a no-brainer for the Tesla owner, but it should also be considered for the other EV drivers out there. Tesla currently offers one unit that is hardwired and uses up to 48 amps at 240 volts. They also offer the fastest recharge speeds, so if you’re pushing your vehicle’s range limits often, this would be the product for you! The main unit comes with a 4 year warranty and accessories have a 1 year. Unfortunately, Tesla does require you to purchase additional components separately, such as cable management fixtures, adaptors, and longer cables.
If you don’t own a Tesla, the Siemens VersiCharge is a great option for most EV owners. The VersiCharge is a bit more expensive than the Tesla Wall Connector but it’s also really versatile and an all-in-one package. The VersiCharge doesn’t try to upsell you on anything, instead they just offer you everything from the start. It comes with built-in cable management, a 20 foot cable standard, and it can plug directly into a NEMA 6-50 outlet (same as a clothes dryer). This unit comes with a 3-year warranty and offers universal compatibility.
The ChargePoint Home Flex EVSE is the most-costly option starting at $699, but it’s availability is effecting the price. The ChargePoint is the second most popular charging station we install next to Teslas. It is one of the more powerful chargers on the market too with a max of 37 miles per hour when set on 50 amps. It’s Energy Star Certified, Amazon Alexa compatible, has an app for scheduling and monitoring of charging, it offers reminders and notifications, it’s compatible with all makes of EV, and it’s noticeably smaller than other options. Overall, it’s a great smart device!
The JuiceBox 40 unit is also common for us to install. It is not as powerful as the ChargePoint, with only a 40 amp capability. They do make a JuiceBox 48 but it has been out of stock for months. It does have all the features you’d expect from a charger- wifi, works with alexa, scheduling, notifications, among other features. These units also have a starting point in the $600 range and can be found on Amazon.
Is an Electrician Needed to Install my EVSE?
Yes, you should always have a licensed electrician do wiring in your home. As with many household projects, a question comes up often at Haas & Sons and that is, “Do I need an electrician to install my EVSE and if so, how much will it cost me?” To answer that, let’s begin with addressing why an electrician should be considered for all households.
Like many household electrical projects, we all get the idea that we can do this and we try the DIY route. Big warning to all our customers: do not try this on your own. The risk of harming yourself or damaging expensive items is too great for a novice to randomly try this trade. Also note that most insurance companies do not cover claims when something is not installed by a licensed professional. If you merely have to swap an outlet, then sure, research it and give it a try. However, as you’ve seen above, there is the potential for a lot of steps and customization along the way depending on your set-up and the unit purchased. Also, in some municipalities, they require properly secured permits and a visit from an inspector to finalize this project, which is something only a licensed electrician can aquire. An established electrician can navigate the county’s needs and all the technical steps of the install.
How Much Does Installing an EVSE Cost?
Many homeowners enjoy the ease of having an electrician come out and install their new EVSE. On average, installing an EVSE will run you between $800 and we’ve done some over $4000. The benefits of going with a local electrician over a ‘recommended installer’ from your EVSE manufacturer are the local electricians know the codes for your area, the layout of the home, and aren’t some out of state company. Additionally, it’s always nice to have a sole-contact for all your household electrical needs. Plus, it’s nice having an easily-accessible local contact versus having to call in a large corporation each time you need advice or electrical repairs.
Variables That Can Increase EVSE Installation Costs?
The biggest factors when figuring out if your install will be on the lower end or the higher of installation costs are:
- Do you need to upgrade your main panel?
- This is the most costly factor, as a house with existing capabilities to handle an EVSE will not incur the costs that are associated with upgrading your system if your house is not capable.
- Will the EVSE be installed near the circuit board or farther away?
- The farther away you decide to mount your EVSE in relation to your panel determines how much conduit is needed to run the wires back and forth between the panel and unit. The more conduit, holes drilled, wires installed, and so on, will increase the price. The materials of these components can also change depending on your needs, so that can increase the cost too.
What our Happy EVSE Clients Have to Say on Google
Great and prompt service! I called on a Monday, had an appointment for Wednesday, got a call back later in the day and was able to secure a same-day appointment for the technician to come out and do an assessment. He was able to come back on Friday to install the outside plug for our electric car charger. The charger we purchased had not yet arrived yet, but when it did arrive a couple days later, the technician was back to install the charger. I would definitely use Haas & Sons again!
Read more of our 524+ reviews on Google.
Deciding to purchase an electric vehicle is a fun occasion and worrying about your EVSE isn’t something that should deter you from proceeding. That being said, because every element of this process deals with electricity and new products that many people aren’t familiar with, we recommend hiring a local electrician to assist you. If you’re so inclined, Haas & Sons has a 4.9 out of 5 Stars reputation in the region and we would love to assist you with this project! Give us a call at (443) 396-3797 or contact us online and we’ll schedule an on-site consultation today!