What You Should Know About at Home EV Charging

Unlike gasoline and diesel vehicles, you can fill up your electric vehicle by using at home EV charging equipment.

This convenience is one of the biggest selling points for electric vehicles, along with the environmental benefits, of course. Imagine never having to stop at a gas station on your way to or from work. Instead, all you’ve got to do is walk out in your garage, unplug your electric vehicle, and head out on your way to work. The convenience is pretty incredible, but you have to do something to enjoy this benefit.

Before You Buy Your Elective Vehicle

You might get excited to drive the latest Tesla or enjoy the newest Rivian model, but you need to understand the limitations. Before you purchase an electric vehicle, you need to ensure you have access to a charger. This access needs to be available to you nightly. That doesn’t mean you’ll always plug in at night, but it does mean you need that option. If you live in a place where that’s not the case yet, you might want to hold off on buying that electric vehicle for a little while longer.

EV Charging is Becoming Standardized

With the exception of Tesla, all EV automakers use the same equipment to charge their vehicles. That doesn’t mean the batteries aren’t different, or you don’t have faster charging capabilities with one vehicle versus another. What it does mean is that every port and connector is the same. This universal design is called a J1772 connector, and it makes charging easier for you. If you happen to own a Tesla, you can use this connector as well because your car came with the necessary adapter to work universally with the charging stations around the world.

The Home Charger Goes By Many Names

Officially, the package of charging items used to add power to an electric vehicle is called the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE),but most of us refer to it as the home charger or EV charger. The EVSE is an advanced piece of equipment that controls the electric current to keep the batteries from overheating. If the system detects any issues within the vehicle or equipment, this system can shut down the charger and keep it from causing further damage. This protects the car, the charger, and your home, where you’re using the equipment.

Can’t You Simply Plug Into the Wall Outlet?

Technically, yes, you can use a 120-volt wall outlet to charge your electric vehicle. This is the slowest form of EV charging, and it can be a problem for you. Today, Most EV models use something more powerful and still take overnight to charge. How slow do you think charging will take with a regular wall outlet? Even so, this slow charging speed is called Level 1,and is always an option. In fact, this used to be the most common method of charging an EV before better batteries and longer driving ranges came about.

How Slow is Level 1 Charging?

If you were to barely turn the water on at your faucet and you allow the water to trickle out, that is what you’re getting with Level 1 charging. The charge adds approximately 2-3 miles of driving range for every hour the vehicle charges. Another drawback to Level 1 charging is the length of the cord. You shouldn’t ever use an extension cord, but that cord you found in the trunk might not make it to the outlet on the outside wall of your home. This is a problem for some EV drivers.

What’s the Best Option for Charging at Home?

The best way to charge your electric vehicle and have a full battery in the morning is using a Level 2 charger. This charger uses a 240-volt power outlet and comes in a wide array of possibilities to ensure you can have the power you need when you’re ready to set out in the morning. The 240-volt outlet used for your clothes dryer is similar to what you’ll have for your home EV charging needs, giving you the juice you desire.

How Can You Get the Right Outlet for Level 2 Charging?

Unless you’re a licensed electrician, you’ll want to call one and ask them to install the proper charging equipment in your garage. The higher voltage and greater load on your electric system need specialized equipment to ensure you can charge safely. You must install the outlet used for your charger in a location that’s safe for this power, which means in your garage or next to the driveway of your home. Of course, you could go with a hard-wired charger instead of a plug-in type to provide the power to your EV.

Plug-In or Hard-Wired?

If you have a 240-volt outlet installed for your EV charging needs, there are some things you should know. This plug is not like the regular outlets in your home; you shouldn’t plug the charger in and out of the outlet often. Think about how often you unplug your dryer; the same rules apply. You don’t unplug the dryer unless you absolutely must, and the same goes for your charging plug for your electric vehicle. Also, mount a hanger on the wall for the cords of your charger. This plug cannot hold the weight of these cords.

A hard-wired charging port takes away some of the troubles of a plug, but it also has drawbacks. If you install a hard-wired port in your home, you can’t take it with you. If you’re planning to move to a new home in the future, you’ll need to buy all new equipment to charge your car. You can unplug your charging equipment and take it to your next home with a plug-type system. You’ll be able to plug it in again after installing the new EV plug. Now you know a bit more about EV charging than you did before. Consider your needs and what you have at home before buying an electric vehicle.