In a busy society where there are always places to be and things to do, it’s no wonder why we’re always searching for convenience. Whether it be placing mobile orders for coffee or getting groceries delivered, certain things can help our day-to-day lives go by smoother.
The same goes for electric vehicle (EV) charging. There are a few different charging levels for EVs, with DC charging being the fastest available option. So, in the name of speed and convenience, you might be wondering if you can install a DC fast charger at home.
Let’s look at what the pros have to say.
What Is DC Fast Charging? ⚡
In the world of electric vehicles, “leveling up” is pretty literal. When it comes to charging, there are three different levels: Levels 1, 2, and 3.
- Level 1 (Standard AC): Level 1 charging is the most common form of EV charging, but it’s also the slowest. Using AC power*, you’ll plug into a standard 120v outlet that you find around your home and use for other electronics. It takes about 20 hours to fully charge an EV battery with a Level 1 charger.
- Level 2 (Fast AC): Level 2 charging also uses AC power, but it plugs into a 240v outlet which you might see around your house for stronger appliances like washers and dryers. Level 2 charges twice as fast as Level 1 and takes some minor electrical work to install in your home.
- Level 3 (DC Fast): Level 3 is the fastest (and most expensive) way to charge your car because it bypasses the power conversion that occurs with AC charging. It can charge up to 80% in as little as 30 minutes, but these chargers are typically found in public or commercial areas.
*AC power— what’s that?
Seeing the AC and DC acronyms may have you thinking of the rock band 🎸, but these two power currents play an important role in EV charging.
AC (alternating current) power is the electrical power that comes from the grid (aka the domestic power sockets you have in your home). The grid only supplies AC power because AC can be easily transported over long distances.
Any energy that is stored in batteries (like in an electric vehicle) is always DC (direct current) power. DC power travels in a straight line and can’t travel long distances very easily.
So since your EV’s battery needs to store DC power, your car’s onboard charger will convert the AC power to DC if you use Level 1 or 2 charging. But if you use Level 3 charging, the DC power will bypass the conversion process and go straight to your battery at a faster pace.
Is It Possible to Install a Level 3 DC Fast Charger at Home?
With all this information about charging levels and AC and DC currents, it’s perfectly reasonable that many homeowners would want to have DC charging available at their homes to charge their EV as fast as possible.
So, can you install a DC fast charger at home?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Since homes and other residential buildings operate on the grid, only AC power is available. Installing a DC charger in a home would require immense structural changes and lots of money. Simply put, most residential properties are incapable of accommodating these hefty power requirements.
If you’re building a brand new home from the ground up and you have more than $50,000 to spare on the structural needs of a DC charger, you could be in luck. But for the majority of homeowners, DC charging just simply isn’t available in homes.
So, where is DC fast charging available?
You can still find Level 3 DC fast chargers that will power up your electric vehicle in no time. You’ll just have to find them at public fast-charging stations, which are usually located at:
- Highway travel stops
- Shopping centers
- Car dealerships
Using a public DC charger is pay-per-charge and will usually run you between $0.40 and $0.60 per kilowatt (kW). Some of the most well-known providers of DC fast-charging stations across the country are:
- Tesla Supercharger
- Electrify America
Tip: Keep in mind that the Tesla Superchargers use a connector that’s only compatible with Tesla vehicles. If you have an EV from a different brand, you won’t be able to use the Superchargers, but you can buy an adapter for Level 1 or 2 charging.
Your Best Option for Fast Charging at Home 🔌
We know that it’s a bit of a bummer that Level 3 DC fast chargers aren’t available for home installation. But you aren’t entirely out of luck.
Your next best bet for fast at-home EV charging is installing a Level 2 AC charger. Level 2 is the fastest charging option available for AC power and is perfectly compatible with the electrical grid at your home.
Even though a Level 2 charger wouldn’t offer the same super-fast charging speeds as a DC fast charger, you can still plug your EV in overnight and expect a full charge in the morning.
- A Level 3 DC fast charger can recharge an EV at 3 to 20 miles per minute.
- A Level 2 AC charger can recharge at 14 to 35 miles per hour.
So, while you might not get a full charge in less than an hour, you can expect a full charge in about ~8 hours. This at-home charging works well for most homeowners, and any fast charging needs can be solved by using a DC fast charger at a public, commercial location.
Install an At-Home Level 2 Charger Today
Here at Electric City, we’ve been helping homeowners install Level 2 chargers for years. Since the majority of EV charging is done at home, a Level 2 charger makes everything easier. Plus, installation is more affordable than you may think!