December 1, 2023

Factors That Impact EV Charger Installation Costs

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8 Min. Read

Electric vehicle (EV) adoption is growing as more drivers move away from gas-powered vehicles to save money and reduce their environmental footprint.

For those considering an EV purchase, access to charging is an important question. With at-home charging being the most convenient option, researching the cost of installing an EV charger is a key step in determining if an EV is right for you.

In this article, we’ll explore the various factors that will impact the costs of your at-home Level 2 EV charger installation.

Charging Station Type and Capacity

EV owners have three options for charging an EV, but a majority of EV drivers primarily rely on Level 2 charging because:

  • Level 1 charging requires a charging cable and a standard 120V outlet. The average output of 1 kWh is slow, and it can take over 50 hours to get a full charge. No installation is required, but this charging level is often only viable for emergency top-offs, as many drivers find it insufficient to meet their daily driving needs.
  • Level 2 charging uses a dedicated charging station powered by a 240V circuit and is available for residential and commercial installations. This charging equipment delivers up to 19.2 kWh and can charge an EV in 4–10 hours, making it ideal for extended charging periods of several hours or more. Most EV drivers prefer the convenience and cost-savings of installing an at-home Level 2 EV charging station.
  • DC Fast Charging (DCFC), also known as Level 3 charging, is by far the fastest way to charge an EV with an output that can reach 350 kWh and a full charge in 30 minutes to an hour, making it ideal for topping off on the go. However, this charging method requires access to a commercial electrical infrastructure and is not available for at-home charging. Public DCFC can cost significantly more than at-home charging, and a reliable public charging infrastructure is still being built, making this a less-than-ideal option for daily driving needs.

The cost to install an EV charger varies from $800 to $2,000 for a Level 2 charging station, depending on the installation method and other factors such as the complexity required for your installation, any additional labor such as trenching, drilling through walls, or navigating through crawl spaces, and the cost of experienced labor in your area.

Additionally, the type of charger you select and the power capacity required to use that charger can also impact your costs, with faster chargers typically costing more. While your EV will often come equipped with a Level 1 EV charger, most EV owners will need to separately purchase a Level 2 EV charger.

Keep in mind that you may need a panel upgrade or other electrical infrastructure work to support an EV charger in your home, which can incur additional costs, and that any electrical work in your home will likely require permits to ensure the installation meets National Electrical Code (NEC) standards and any local code and safety requirements.

Electrical Infrastructure

You’ll get a more precise price range once a licensed electrician assesses your unique situation, including your panel capacity and any necessary circuit installations.

Panel Capacity and Upgrades

Electrical panels manage energy distribution in your home. Their capacity can typically vary from 60 to 200 amps based on the size of your home, where you live, and when the home was first built.

The higher the amperage, the more power the panel can draw from the grid and distribute to appliances. With Level 2 EV chargers using 30 to 50 amps, and some even going as high as 80 amps, 60- and even 100-amp panels can fail to power an EV and may even be insufficient for electrifying appliances within your home, such as a stovetop or dryer.

A licensed electrician will perform a load calculation to figure out if your current panel can accommodate EV charging and any other energy transition technologies while still meeting your current electrical needs.

You should also consider future-proofing your home by upgrading your panel now so you can add a second EV charger in the future or electrify your home with modern appliances. You can even get a smart panel with built-in features that support energy management.

Wiring and Circuit Installation

A licensed electrician will give you a more detailed cost to install an EV charging station based on wiring within your home, but using high-quality materials is crucial to the safety and longevity of your EV charger installation.

If you’re working with an existing panel, the electrician will have to install a new, dedicated 240V circuit, run a wire to the charging equipment, and ground this new circuit.

Investing in experienced laborers with knowledge and EV charging expertise who use high-quality materials is crucial. While a lower grade of wire will save you on upfront costs, it is not designed for continuous, high-powered electricity loads and can melt, causing electrical fires and other damage to your home and even to your EV. Without the appropriate certifications and experience in working with EV charger installations, not every electrician is qualified and able to perform EV charging station installations safely and efficiently.

The right electrician will wire a reliable charging station according to the NEC and your local electrical code requirements after pulling the right permits. You’ll avoid a wide range of issues, ranging from repairs or more frequent maintenance for EV charging equipment to voided home insurance policies or fines for failing to obtain the right permits.

Location

The cost of an EV charger installation can vary significantly based on a home’s location due to several factors.

Regional Building Codes and Permitting Requirements

Local building codes and regulations can impact installation costs. Some areas impose more stringent permitting requirements, which not only increase the fees associated with obtaining permits but can also extend the duration of the installation process.

A licensed electrician should be aware of the rules and regulations in your area, as they can significantly influence the financial aspects and timeline of your installation project, and they can work with you to ensure all permitting requirements are met to avoid any additional delays or costs.

Local Demand for a Licensed EV Charger Installer

The availability of skilled electricians and contractors in a particular area can significantly impact the pricing of installation services.

In regions where there’s a high demand for EV charger installations due to an increasing number of electric vehicle owners, labor costs can rise as electricians and contractors are in greater demand.

On the other hand, in more remote or less densely populated areas, where finding a qualified local EV charger installer can be challenging, costs may go up due to the need to bring in an experienced electrician from elsewhere. Additionally, increased shipping expenses may be incurred if specific equipment or materials need to be transported to these locations.

Regional Savings and Incentives

Many regions and municipalities recognize the environmental benefits of electric vehicles and the importance of expanding charging infrastructure. To incentivize EV charger installations, they offer financial assistance and rebates to both homeowners and businesses.

While federal savings are available, regional incentives and rebates can differ by location, with some areas offering financial incentives to encourage EV charger installations, which can further offset costs.

Site Conditions

Every installation project is unique, and your home’s configuration and location will affect your EV home charger cost.

Proximity to Electrical Panel

If you’re hardwiring the charging equipment to the panel or adding a new GFCI outlet for a plug-in installation, running a wire from the panel to a remotely mounted charging location can increase the cost of installing an EV charging station.

The distance and ease of access between your panel or subpanel and the desired EV charger location will influence the cost, and any additional complexities in wiring the route will further increase the cost of your EV charger installation.

Running wires behind walls, through crawl spaces, or underground will all contribute to making your installation more laborious and expensive. A licensed electrician can work with you to determine the shortest and least complex route, but remember that not all complexities are avoidable, depending on your home and infrastructure needs.

Grounding

Grounding is an essential element of electrical safety, mandated by the National Electrical Code (NEC) to safeguard electrical circuits from potential hazards such as lightning strikes and electrical surges.

In most cases, your electrician will ensure you have a secure and effective grounding system within your electrical infrastructure by installing two grounding electrodes and a properly bonded ground-fault current path that redirects excess power to the earth, preventing overloads and minimizing the risk of electrical damage, shock, or fire.

Ensuring that your home and EV charger are equipped with a reliable grounding system is not only a regulatory requirement but also a fundamental step in protecting your property, electrical equipment, and, most importantly, your safety. Grounding affects EV charger installation costs due to code compliance, equipment safety, and site-specific requirements, potentially increasing expenses, but it is a worthwhile investment to ensure your safety.

Other Options

Your electric vehicle charger installation cost can go up if you decide to install a sub-panel. Adding a sub-panel during your electric vehicle (EV) charger installation can be a practical solution in certain situations, but it may increase the overall cost of the project.

Sub-panels serve as auxiliary electrical distribution points within your home’s electrical system. They are often employed when your main service panel, which houses your circuit breakers, is already near its capacity and you need to power new circuits or appliances, such as an EV charger, or you need to extend the wiring to a specific area, such as a detached garage.

Sub-panels may increase your installation costs due to added wiring, labor, panel size, and safety compliance. However, sub-panels offer many benefits, particularly if you’re considering future electrification projects such as solar panels or home batteries, as they provide the capacity for expansion, providing the opportunity to save money in the long run.

Get a Quote from Qmerit’s Installer Network

Your EV home charger cost can vary based on the charging equipment you select, the unique configuration of your home, and any necessary electrical upgrades, ranging from installing a new circuit to replacing an old panel.

While hiring an experienced professional can increase labor costs, it’s a worthwhile investment that guarantees a safe and reliable installation. With over 269,000 successful EV charger installations and the most trusted installer network in North America, Qmerit’s network of licensed installers possesses extensive experience and can work with any home configuration.

Contact Qmerit today to learn more and schedule your at-home EV charger installation to make the most of your electric vehicle experience with the convenience of Level 2 at-home charging.

Author: Greg Sowder Greg Sowder President, Qmerit Network