What You Need to Know About Electric Car Charger Installation at Your Home
Electric cars are becoming commonplace, and more homeowners are opting to have electric vehicle chargers installed at their homes. According to Stats Canada and the Toronto Star, there’s an estimated 200,000 electric and hybrid vehicles on the road in Canada as of December 2021.
That number is only predicted to rise, as gas prices soar year over year and the BC Government offers tantalizing rebates for home EV charging stations as well as the purchase of a new electric battery powered vehicle, hybrid vehicle, or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. There’s also a rebate for replacing a highly polluting vehicle with a new or used electric vehicle. This means that a new electric or hybrid passenger vehicle could end up being a very sound financial investment.
In addition to the incentives offered by the BC Government, there’s also the Federal electric car rebate for Canada which offers point of sale rebates of up to $5000 for a purchased or leased electric vehicle. The CleanBC rebate program is also offering a $350 rebate on the installation of eligible Level 2 EV charger models.
Do I Really Need an Electric Vehicle Charger at Home?
EV chargers are being added across the country and the infrastructure is changing, especially as the Canadian Government offers incentives to large corporations like 7-Eleven to have EV chargers installed. However, there are still not enough EV chargers to ensure that you can head out in your electric vehicle and know for sure that you’ll be able to find an electric vehicle charger on your way. What’s more, you’ll need to figure out which one of several apps to use to charge your car.
The speed and charge time can also vary with different EV charging stations. If you haven’t planned your trip to a T, you could very well be stuck 4-6 hours waiting for your vehicle to charge at a level 2 charger. What if there’s a line and you want to be able to drive to another station, but don’t have enough juice to make it? You’re stuck waiting, potentially a very long time. Not so convenient.
Until hyper speed electric vehicle chargers become widely available, fully charging is a bit of an event. Some Level 2 and 3 charging stations are also charging for use now. Why pay a third party for electricity when you can charge your car at home, on your terms? It’s much simpler than you may think.
What are Level 1, 2 and 3 Chargers?
Level 1 EV chargers
Perfect for daily drivers that don’t need to cover a large range. Think to and from work, to the grocery store, school drop off, etc. This is the slowest charger that works on a standard 120-volt outlet. Level 1 EV chargers work very well for hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles with small batteries. These generally come with the vehicle and are plug and play, meaning installation isn’t needed unless you need an outlet added or moved.
Level 1 chargers take around 16 hours to replenish an empty battery and offer 0-16 kilometres per hour of charge time.
Level 2 EV chargers
The next step up and are the chargers most often used in public spaces like shopping malls and workplaces. They are also highly suited for residential use because they work on 208-volt to 240-volt power supply. Level 2 charges vehicles, including Teslas, much faster than Level 1, charging an empty battery overnight. Level 2 at 40 amps is the sweet spot for most homeowners because a 40-amp charge is plenty without requiring significant electrical upgrades, heavier wiring and hardwiring the charger.
Level 2 chargers take between 6 and 8 hours to fully charge an empty battery and offer 16-32 kilometres per hour of charge time.
Level 3 EV chargers
Offer the fastest charging (think Tesla Superchargers, DC Fast Chargers or CHAdeMO Chargers) with a minimum requirement of 400 volts. These are not often seen in residential installations because the cost of the charger and installation (not to mention the required electrical upgrade, if possible) can often exceed the cost of the electrical vehicle!
Level 3 chargers take only 30 minutes to charge a battery to 80% and in just 10 minutes it offers 65-80 kilometres of range.
Electric Car Charging Station for Home – What are the Benefits?
Having an electric vehicle charger at home is extremely convenient
It’s like when you plug your smartphone in before you go to bed. You plug it in, knowing that it’ll be fully charged and ready for another busy day tomorrow. The same goes for your vehicle. You can keep a basic daily charging schedule. You can plug it in when you get home from work and let the battery recharge for your morning commute. You never have to worry about running out of gas or having to scout out a charging station when your battery level drops lower than you’d planned. Of course, since your battery charges while you’re at home living your life, you’re not stuck waiting in a public space for your vehicle to be ready to drive again. Also, most electric vehicles have a proprietary app that let you monitor battery usage.
Having an EV Charger at Home Can Protect Your Battery
When you charge your batteries (whether it’s your laptop, your phone, tablet, or any other device) partially for an extended period of time, the battery is eventually not going to be able to hold a charge well. As with a combustion engine, if you’re putting in $10 of gas at a time, your engine isn’t going to be too happy with you. If you’re visiting public charging stations and only charging for long enough to drive the range you need, the battery in your EV can become less efficient and have a shorter life span. When you can charge your vehicle in full every time, your battery will charge more effectively and more efficiently.
Having an EV Charger at Home is Economical
We know that having a whole other electrical component installed can seem daunting. However, being able to pay a flat fee (for installation) and never again pay for a charging station will save quite a bit in the long run. You’re using the same power source that runs your home appliances, so your bill may increase a little bit. This is to be expected and can be remedied by finding new ways to lower your cost of power and energy consumption. One simple way to save is to let your EV charge overnight and take advantage of off-peak utility pricing.
There are many ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint and energy consumption and it can often be as simple as making your home work smarter, with smart thermostats, smart lighting, Energy Star appliances and more.
At Kobalt Systems, we have a whole laundry list of energy saving solutions to help offset any spikes in power consumption caused by charging your EV at home. Having an EV charger and having other energy saving solutions is also great for your home’s resale value.
Having an EV Charger at Home is Safer
You get to charge your vehicle in the privacy of your property instead of in the public eye in a parking lot, exposed to potential vandalism, theft, poor weather and more. The actual charging process is completely safe too, since our master electricians will recommend the most suitable EV charger for your home, solve any issues that could prevent having enough voltage for a charger, complete the installation and of course, educate you on how to use it safely and efficiently. We can recommend the level of charger best suited to your needs. In most cases, we recommend level 2 EV chargers for residential use. These need a 240-volt circuit, which is the same voltage level needed to run the chest freezer in your garage.
How Much Does It Cost to Have an Electric Car Charger Installed at Home?
The cost for installation will vary depending on the charger you need, what needs to be done, where the charger is to be installed and whether a dedicated circuit is required. It can also depend on whether your home’s electrical service needs to be upgraded.
Generally, a charger installation includes the charger, materials, permit and labour. For many homeowners, we can install the EV charger directly in the garage. This is the easiest and most cost-effective way.
There are a few things that determine the individual pricing, including where the electrical panel is located, the type of breakers your electrical panel requires and where you’d like the charger to be installed. The length of cable needed will also influence the overall cost, since the cable is very expensive.
Can my Electrical Service Handle an EV Charger?
To determine whether or not you will need an electrical upgrade, our experts can do an electrical load calculation and take into account the current and future power requirements for your home.
What Brands of EV Chargers Can Be Installed? What Type Should I Buy?
At Kobalt Systems, we sell Flo brand EV chargers with a universal J-plug. These level 2 chargers are Canadian made and built to withstand the elements and wear and tear.
We will also install Grizzl-E or Tesla EV chargers that you have purchased yourself. The Flo and Grizzly brands can now be used with adapters to charge Tesla vehicles. As well, Tesla has now added an adapter to be able to charge other electric vehicles, so there are some really great options out there.
Can an EV Charger Charge Two Cars at Once?
If you own more than one EV, you can charge two cars at the same time as long as you have a charging station with more than one plug. Grizzl-E offers a great dual charging station for home use, with “intelligent power sharing.”
Flo offers the Flo Home X5, which allows you to add a second EV charging station on the same breaker. However, you will always need to take power consumption into account. No two installations are exactly alike, so if dual charging is your goal, this is something we’d be happy to discuss with you.
Contact Kobalt Systems in Victoria BC For All Your EV Charger Needs
When you’ve made the investment of switching to an electric vehicle, it makes a lot of sense to complete the package with an EV charging outlet for your home. This will eliminate time spent waiting in line for public chargers, time spent waiting for your vehicle to charge and eliminate any fees for charging, depending on which electric vehicle charger you’ve opted to use.
When you factor in the government rebates off the equipment and installation of an EV charger, it’s well worth this initial investment to create your own EV charging station right at home.
An electric vehicle charger is an important investment for your home and for your new vehicle. If you’re considering adding an electric vehicle charger to your home, contact us today. Our team of experienced electricians at Kobalt Systems will be happy to take care of everything needed for your new electric vehicle charger.