As electric vehicles (EVs) become increasingly popular, the demand for EV charging stations is rising. For consumers, this means ensuring an electrical contractor performs your EV charger installation, following all local, federal, and safety requirements.
Finding an electrical contractor who can perform these services is essential, as not all electricians will have the training and certification needed. You should also ensure that the equipment you use is the best for your installation and meets safety standards from accepted testing agencies.
This article will tell you what you need to know to ensure you get the right equipment and the best installation for your EV charger.
When installing an EV charger at home, you should consider the charging level, prioritize the quality of the charging equipment, and plan the installation process thoroughly to ensure a reliable and efficient charging experience for your electric vehicle.
Although it offers the greatest affordability and simplicity, Level 1 is also the slowest method. Commonly called “trickle charging,” Level 1 chargers require 40-50+ hours to charge an electric vehicle. This rate of charge is impractical for most drivers and can struggle to meet the range needs of EVs with regular use.
Level 2 charging is much faster, requiring a separate, professionally-installed 240V dedicated electrical circuit. Additionally, you may need additional panel work, such as an upgrade or load management system, to support the added electric use of a Level 2 EV charging station. A maximum of 19.2 kW output will charge your EV in 4-10 hours, making it particularly well suited to overnight residential charging, commercial buildings, and fleet charging.
Level 3 charging is the fastest option but is typically only available at public charging stations due to the high voltage service required. While these chargers can power an EV battery in 30 minutes to an hour, regular use can also increase the risk of significant battery degradation.
While cost is a universal issue, you should always opt for high-quality materials and equipment because cutting corners can cost more in the long term. For example, you should use copper wiring when installing an EV charger at home because copper wiring has minimal contraction and expansion when in use, thus ensuring the longevity of your charging equipment.
Equipment costs for a hardwired Level 2 charger unit range from $500 to $2,000, depending on the brand and power rating. Installation costs run between $300 and $3,300, based on the scope of work and any other electrical work needed to support the charger, such as a panel upgrade or load management device. Many incentives exist at the federal and state level, but also be sure to check with your local utility and any other regional authorities to determine if you might qualify for additional savings.
Keep in mind the best way to ensure the safety of your EV charging equipment is to buy only safety-certified equipment. Look for certification by independent testing agencies like Underwriters Laboratory (UL), Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL), TUV Sud (TUV), or CSA Group (CSA).
Once you have selected a charger that meets your needs and budget, you will need to map out how it will fit in your area and locate the best place to mount the charger so it’s close to your EV. Finally, determine where the cables should run to avoid hazards or blockage best.
We will assume that your home charger is a Level 2 unit because these are the most practical for homeowners. So, the critical question is: Should you use a hardwire or plug-in configuration?
A hardwired EV charger installation connects the EV charger to a separate, dedicated 240V circuit in your electric panel. Here, an electrician runs a dedicated circuit directly to your EV charger, so there’s no need to plug your charger into an electrical wall outlet.
A plug-in installation is when your electrician installs an electrical outlet and wires it into a separate 240V circuit in your home’s electrical panel. Then you plug your charger into the wall outlet.
While hardwiring is the most recommended installation method, it might not be the best for your circumstances. Choosing which method of installation depends on the type and model of Level 2 charger you’re using, the number of charging stations, the physical layout of the installation site, and whether you’re unplugging the charger and relocating or swapping it for another.
From a practical standpoint, your Level 2 charger may require a plug-in outlet, especially if it is portable and you plan on moving or replacing it. If you have multiple charging stations and must swap the charger, hardwiring may not be your best option.
Hardwiring is always recommended for a Level 2 charging station installation as it is more secure, durable, and less prone to “wear and tear.”
EV charger installations draw a high degree of electric power for extended periods (continuous loads), so hardwiring tends to eliminate faulty wiring connections and other issues, such as heat build-up leading to failure.
If you use an electrical receptacle, ensure it is a commercial grade receptacle.
A licensed electrician will help you file all necessary permits, advise you on your equipment choices and charger locations, and perform the installation safely.
Choosing a licensed electrician who is familiar with the intricacies of EV charging and preferably holds certification is essential to ensuring that your installation adheres to the highest safety and quality standards, but it can be difficult to determine if an electrician is qualified and experienced with this technology.
It’s natural to attempt to save money on your EV charger installation, but reduced upfront costs come at a steep price later in the form of costly repairs, voided warranties, and possible safety issues or equipment malfunctions, so ensuring your installation is done correctly is worthwhile. Qmerit can help.
As the most trusted provider of electrification services and installations in North America, Qmerit has installed over 269,000 charging stations for homeowners and businesses alike. When it comes to home charging, you want a charger you can rely on for years to come, which is why we offer a Peace of Mind Guarantee.
Contact Qmerit today and let’s build an at-home charging solution that meets your needs.