April 18, 2024

Understanding Your EV Home Charging Station Costs for Installation


8 Min. Read

The surge in electric vehicle (EV) adoption is undoubtedly fueling the increase in the installation of charging stations in residential garages and at multi-family housing complexes. The federal efforts to build a national charging infrastructure are critical for long-distance travel, but most EVs are charged at home, a popular convenience for EV owners.

Experts predict approximately 35 million EVs will be out on U.S. roadways by 2030. To support this, roughly 28 million charging ports will be needed at residences across the U.S. to ensure drivers are supported and charging needs are met beyond public charging infrastructure. Essentially, this will make charging at home as routine as plugging in and charging a phone before heading out.

Home charging saves EV drivers both time and money. Routine charging at home easily fuels your commute and errands around town. If you plan to purchase a battery-powered vehicle or already have one parked outside, odds are you are exploring home charging station cost and installation options.

In this article, we’re answering all your questions about getting set up to charge your EV at home with Level 2 EV charging. From understanding home charging station costs, materials required, permitting, electrical panel improvements, and other upgrades needed for optimal charging station performance, here’s what you need to know about your EV home charging station cost and installation.

Assessing Your Home’s Electrical Infrastructure

Before determining what charging station solution works best for you, you must understand your home’s current electrical capacity.

Can your existing electrical panel accommodate the amps needed for EV charging and the load required without an upgrade? A licensed electrician will be able to better assess this with an EV charger load calculation, which should be performed prior to any type of electrical work beginning.

Your residence’s main panel distributes electricity to individual circuits and typically delivers 120 volts of energy per circuit. Appliances that use a lot of electricity, such as a clothes dryer or Level 2 EV charging station, need 240-volt dedicated circuits. Besides considering the voltage required, you also need to have adequate amps flowing from the panel to power the appliance.

Keep in mind that while EV chargers and electric dryers may both use a 240-volt outlet, Level 2 EV chargers require commercial-grade outlets and a higher quality of materials due to the intended use of up to 4-10 hours a night to charge your EV. Using a lower-quality outlet or even wiring that is not designed for the consistent high-power an EV charger will require can result in melted components, electric fire, and a charging nightmare.

The electric panel may only deliver 30-, 60-, or 100 amps in older homes. In newer homes, most electric panels deliver up to 200 amps. Depending on the model, an older electrical panel is inadequate for a Level 2 EV charger and you may require a panel upgrade. Even new panels may need electrical work and a professional load calculation to ascertain whether they can safely operate based on your total electrical usage.

Many Level 2 EV chargers deliver between 16 to 80 amps of power to the vehicle, but in order to ensure the chargers are safely installed the circuit’s continuous load can’t exceed 80% of a breaker’s capacity. As an example, if a Level 2 EV charging circuit is designed to manage 80 amps, your licensed electrician would install a 100-amp breaker.

Choosing the Right Location for Your Charging Station

A garage is usually an optimal location for your home charging station, but the precise location within the garage requires more consideration. The available space, distance to the electrical panel, complexity of wiring requirements, trenching needs, and cable length restrictions are just some things to contemplate if you plan to install the charging station indoors. If you are a two-car household accommodating your first EV, you may anticipate adding a second EV in the future and plan for it.

If you cannot accommodate an interior setup, your charging cable must easily reach between the charging station and your EV’s port. You will want to establish a setup that protects your equipment from the weather and other vehicles.

A professional can help you determine the best location to install your charging station to keep your home charging station cost down.

Types of Residential EV Charging Stations and Their Costs

There are essentially two types of charging stations for residential use:

Level 1 EV Chargers

Level 1 chargers typically come with a new battery-powered vehicle. Purchased separately, they typically cost $100-200. Level 1 EV chargers use your home’s existing 120-volt electrical outlets and usually do not require professional assistance to set up. They charge extremely slowly, typically only providing 4-5 miles of driving range per hour. While it can take over 40 hours for a full charge in many cars, plugging a Level 1 charger in for six hours replenishes a range of around 30 miles for short-distance drivers, making them adequate for someone who drives below 30 miles per day, but for many drivers, this type of EV charger is insufficient.

Level 2 EV Chargers

Level 2 charging stations enable you to charge the vehicle five to seven times faster, making them the preferred option for a majority of EV drivers. Level 2 EV chargers connect via a 240-volt dedicated circuit or commercial-grade outlet but vary in kW capacity and amps required. Prices for residential Level 2 chargers range from $400 to almost $2,000 (commercial-use Level 2 chargers cost far more). Prices depend on energy needs, weather protection, and compatibility. There are numerous models in the Qmerit EV charger store, but only consider those that are safety certified by a nationally recognized test lab and come with a multi-year warranty. EV chargers can require more power than all your other appliances combined, so safety-rated equipment is crucial. Cheaper equipment may save money initially, but it can degrade over time, possibly leading to an electrical fire, property damage, or injuries.

For more information you can read our blog post outlining the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 EV charging.

Professional Installation Costs for Charging EVs

The average EV charger installation cost is between $800 and $2,500, but keep in mind that any complexities or additional electrical work such as a panel upgrade and other factors can impact the cost of your EV charger installation project. Countless factors determine the exact price, including labor costs in your area, the charger’s power requirements, the condition of your electrical panel, the distance between the charging station and the panel, any drilling or required trenching, local permits needed, and other complexities based on the installation site.

A qualified electrician experienced with EV installation can evaluate your load capacity, advise you on your choice of location, and ensure that your charging station is installed safely. While area electricians will be aware of local regulations and safety codes, you want to ensure that an EV charging station installation professional handles your estimate and installation.

Permitting and Regulatory Costs

You will not need a permit if you can simply plug the new charging station into an existing outlet, and your electrical panel and load are adequate. You generally do need a permit to install a Level 2 charger. A permit for charging equipment installation is required to install a new EV charging circuit or to hardwire the station. A building permit may also be necessary if you need remodeling or trenching to install your Level 2 charger.

While homeowners can apply for a permit on their own, hiring a professional, licensed electrician to handle it alongside the installation itself ensures that technical details—such as wiring methods, overcurrent protection, and breakaway requirements—are addressed correctly on the application. An experienced local EV charging station installer would also be aware of any local electrical and building codes that must be followed and any additional safety measures that should be taken as best practices.

Cost-Benefit Analysis for EV Charging Projects

While many EVs still cost slightly more than similar gas-powered vehicles, the costs of operating EVs, particularly with a home EV charging station, are considerably lower. Electric rates (and gasoline prices) vary greatly.

Currently, it is far cheaper to charge an EV battery with electricity than to fill an ICE vehicle with gasoline in all 50 states. Charging an EV with a Level 2 charger at home is estimated to cost from $0.12 to $0.24 per kWh, or $3 to $6 for enough power to travel over 200 miles and charging an EV at home is significantly cheaper than using public charging stations.

One study compared road trip costs in EVs versus gasoline-powered vehicles. Research showed that SUVs and smaller sedans that run on electricity save $20 to $25 compared with gas-powered vehicles to cover the same distance. Using public charging stations costs more than at-home charging but still costs less than gas. These savings must be factored in when considering whether to pay more for an EV.

If you intend to install a Level 2 charger at your residence, remember that tax incentives and rebates for EV charger installations are available to offset some of these expenses.

The Home Charging Station Cost—Does it Pay Off?

Installing a home EV charging station makes sense, whenever possible, for any EV driver. If you plan to purchase one for your residence, consider the factors influencing your ultimate home EV charging station installation costs. These include potential electrical upgrades, permits, wiring and possibly hardwiring, the installation location, and labor costs in your vicinity.

Home charging station costs are undoubtedly a factor in EV adoption. An investment in home charging reduces costs for public charging and allows you to make the most of the time when your car is sitting in the garage or driveway. Professional guidance for your charger installation is worth its weight in gold.

If you’re considering installing a home EV charging station and need expertise, no one is more qualified or trusted than Qmerit. A national leader in the shift to electric vehicles, Qmerit has the most experienced network of EV charger installation providers in North America.

Our certified professionals have installed more than 450,000 EV charging stations and completed over 86,000 electric panel upgrades. Qmerit makes planning, budgeting, and ultimately installing your EV charging station easy and safe.

If you are considering EV charging options and want a quality installation that’s an investment in your future, contact Qmerit today or complete our online EV assessment to find out why we’re North America’s most trusted EV charger installation service provider and receive your home charging installation estimate!

Author: Greg Sowder

Greg Sowder

President, Qmerit Network