As a new electric vehicle (EV) owner, you’ve most likely realized that the Level 1 charger (charging cord) delivered with your car is too slow for daily use. And driving to a Level 3 charging station can be inconvenient. So what is the solution? Installing a Level 2 charging station in your home is often the best option.
Level 2 chargers offer better speeds than Level 1 chargers and are more convenient than public charging stations. But that raises the question of the installation requirements of a Level 2 charger. While charger installation requirements might be less than you think, some prerequisites include 40 to 100-amp circuits. So what else do you need?
The convenience and functionality of Level 2 chargers make them superior to other charging options, balancing speed, cost, and comfort. At the same time, they enable EV drivers to skip lines at public charging stations and avoid waiting hours for a Level 1 charger to recharge their battery. See EV charging 101 to learn more about the essential differences between chargers.
Drivers can plug in when they get home at night, and their EV is ready to go in the morning. The advantages over other charging options include:
While the prerequisites for a Level 2 installation are not overly complex or challenging, you should address the items listed below to ensure the quality and safety of your home or building. Read this guide to EV charging.
As high voltage is involved, installing an EV charger is not a do-it-yourself project. Therefore, you should enlist the services of a certified installer to perform the installation and resolve any unforeseen difficulties.
Specific installation requirements include:
40-100-amp, 240-volt electrical service —Your new charger will need a 40-100 amp, 240-volt dedicated electrical circuit to operate. Your home may already have this level of service if you have a clothes dryer or other appliance that runs on it. But in most cases, the outlet is in use or isn’t in a good location for EV charging.
Electrical panel upgrades —Your new charger may need a new or upgraded electrical panel to handle the increased load. Your electrical panel must have the existing capacity to supply the new charging load as well as the space to add a new 2-pole breaker. Optionally, a loads shedding system can allocate charging to those times when the electrical load is minimal. Your certified installer can guide you on the options available.
Direct connection vs. installation of a NEMA 14-50 outlet —The actual link of your charger to an electrical source requires a straightforward hardwired installation or the addition of a new NEMA 14-50 outlet. Read hardwired installation vs. NEMA 14-50 outlets for more details on the merits of the two approaches.
Hardwired installations provide a more stable connection to prevent nuisance tripping and do not require the addition of a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), so they are the best option. If you want to use a NEMA 14-50 outlet with a plug-in charger be aware that many local electrical codes now require GCFI protection of NEMA 14-50 outlets in homes. This new requirement complicates charger installations since most charging stations already include GFCI protection. Adding a second GCFI to the mix can cause conflicts and inadvertent tripping of breakers. Your qualified electrician can provide more information and help you select the best connection method for you.
Load shedding systems (optional) —Load shedding systems for EVs is another option. Using smart sensing technology, these systems will activate charging only when the loads are minimal. These systems can leverage your existing panel capacity and eliminate the risk of panel overload.
Qmerit simplifies home charging installation for EV drivers across the U.S. and Canada. The Qmerit Certified Installer Network has installed over 150,000 Level 2 charging stations nationwide and is ready to help you with white-glove service. Get started today by providing information about your home and a few photos to receive an upfront pricing estimate.