If you own an electric vehicle (EV), you know you won’t get very far without a great home charging station set up. Local charging stations are becoming more popular and accessible, but 80% of EV owners choose to charge their cars with their home charging station. Home charging stations are relatively easy to use, but there are different options to consider when choosing a charging station.
Let’s take a look at the different levels of EV charging stations and how they vary on installation, charge time, and electrical current requirements.
Level 1 EV Charging
Your electric vehicle comes with a level 1 home charger that plugs into your home’s 120-volt outlet. You may not know that you have another option for a home charging station. Both options will charge your vehicle’s battery, but there are differences in speed, electrical output, and installation.
A level 1 charger can be plugged into any 120-volt outlet, often found in your garage and laundry room, and will charge your EV over several hours. The great thing about Level 1 chargers is that they will come with the purchase of your vehicle, making it one less thing you have to buy, and most homes have an easily accessible 120-volt outlet which makes installation easy. Level 1 chargers are usually able to charge your electric vehicle fully overnight.
The downside of a level 1 charger is that they only add roughly 3 miles of range per hour of charging on average. If you’re in a rush and need a fast charge, a level 1 charger might not always be suitable.
Level 2 EV Charging
Level 2 home chargers are a step up in electrical output, charging speed, and also cost. There is an installation process, and you do have to spend the money on a new level 2 charger, but most EV owners find the time and money worth it.
A level 2 home charger utilizes a 240v outlet which dramatically reduces the charging time required for your electric vehicle. These home chargers can charge your EV at a rate of 12 to 60 miles of range per hour, depending on your vehicle. Some smaller EV batteries can be fully charged in under 3 hours.
Because a level 2 home charger requires a 240v outlet, the installation process often requires some electrical work on your home’s electrical panel. Your garage might have the required electrical panel, but we recommend contacting an electric vehicle charger installation company to prevent any harm to you or your home. At Electric City, we’ve installed thousands of chargers throughout Minnesota. Schedule a free consultation today!
Where to Install Your Home Charging Station
Most electric vehicle owners prefer to have their charging station in their garage, but for some owners that may not be an option. If you’re planning on installing an electrical panel outside of your garage, be sure to choose a well-protected spot. Wind, rain, and other elements can damage your charging station and wires if they aren’t covered. If you rent your property, be sure to check in with your landlord about charging station installation. An electrician at Electric City can advise you on the best spots for installation during your free consultation.
How to Save Money With Your EV Charger
When your electric car battery runs low, you don’t have a choice and need to charge it ASAP. However, planning the times in which you charge your vehicle can ensure it’s always filled up and ready to and you can take advantage of lower electricity rates in the evenings.
Electricity rates vary by state and even city; check with your provider to learn more about yours. Most utility companies charge higher rates during peak hours. For example, on-peak hours for electricity are between 8 am and 10 pm. Off-peak is the opposite of those times (10 pm to 8 am) and weekends and holidays are different. You can see more information on Minnesota state’s peak hours and cost per kWh here. If your goal is to keep electricity usage costs down, try to avoid charging your vehicle during this time.
In general, peak times are weekday afternoons and evenings because it’s when people are home from work and electricity usage is up. Late night and weekend hours see a decrease in usage and utility rates. It’s the best time to charge your vehicle without running up your electric bill.
You can avoid plugging the vehicle in during peak times with enough planning and topping off the battery at public EV charging stations. Some electric cars have a feature that allows you to preset charging times. The battery will start charging while you’re sleeping. You’ll wake up to a fully-charged electric vehicle.
And lastly, a major benefit of both having an electrical vehicle and a home charging station is the opportunity for rebates from your local energy companies. Both Xcel Energy and Centerpoint Energy offer efficiency programs and rebates for those people seeking more sustainable options for their homes and vehicles.
If you own an electric vehicle and have questions about residential vehicle charging, contact Electric City today! We have a team of expert electricians who can answer your questions and walk you through the home charging station installation process.