Most owners of electric vehicles normally opt to charge their cars at home. This is because residential charging is far more convenient and less expensive as compared to public charging stations.
As a matter of fact, charging your EV at home offers you plenty of benefits which commercial charging stations may not.
A Beginners’ Guide on Charging an EV at Home
Here are the steps you need to follow when charging an electric car at home:
- Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment
There are two main ways of charging an electric car at home. You will require:
Level 1 electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE)
Charging your EV using Level 1 EVSE is quite simple, and relatively cheaper. This is due to the fact that level 1 EVSE does not require any special equipment apart from a power outlet. Nevertheless, it still needs a branch circuit which is dedicated entirely to EV charging. This means your power outlet should be designated specially for charging your electric car, and not used for any other electrical appliances. Notably, Level 1 EVSE home charging system typically provides charge through a 120 Volt AC plug.
The only downside to using Level 1 EVSE to charge your electric car at home is that it is pretty slow. This home charging unit provides only about 1.5 kW of charging per hour. With this capacity, it will take your EV between 8 to 20 hours to charge fully, depending on the size of your battery.
Level 2 EVSE
If you are looking for the most efficient way to charge your EV at home, then a Level 2 EVSE charging station is the best option for you. However, you may need to spend some extra money since the Level 2 EVSE requires special charging equipment as well as a dedicated electric circuit.
Moreover, the Level 2 EVSE provides charge for electric cars using a 240 Volt AC plug, and increases the range of a typical EV by about 10 to 60 miles per hour of charge. Thanks to its increased output, Level 2 EVSE provides between 3.4 kW to 7.4 kW of charge per hour. This means it will take your electric car between 3 to 8 hours to be fully charged using this charging unit, depending on the size of your battery.
The Level 2 EVSE typically costs between $500 and $2000. This does not factor in the cost of installation, for which you will pay a professional electrical contractor to fix it. However, many states usually offer incentives for ESVE, which can significantly reduce the cost of installing this home EV charging station.
- Confirm that the Charging Cable is Long Enough
When charging your EV at home, you need to check whether the charging cable is of sufficient length. Most electric cars usually come with a semi-fast charging cord which can stretch several meters when plugged into an outlet. Level 2 EVSE charging systems often come with attached fast-charging cords which only require you to plug into your EV to charge. Regardless of the home charging unit, you should ensure that your cable is long enough.
Having a long cable which doesn’t hover in the air when your EV is plugged to a home charging system eliminates the possibilities of tripping over or getting run over, which may lead to damage.
- Plug the Connector to Your EV
Once you have set up your home charging unit, the next thing you need to do is to plug in the connector to begin charging. You should ensure that the plug is compatible with your EV, since different electric cars use specific plugs. Most importantly, it should be correctly fitted to your charging port.
- Check that your Car is Charging
Disruptions may occur if the connector was not fitted correctly or in case the charging cable accidentally comes off. This might lead to poor charging, and may damage your battery. It is therefore essential to check your car periodically, to ensure that all components are functioning correctly.
Notably, depending on the type of charging system, your EV will require between 3- 12 hours on average to charge fully.
- Unplug the Connector When the EV is Fully Charged
Once your EV has charged completely, you will need to detach the connector in order to avoid overcharging. Leaving your EV attached to an electric outlet can potentially damage the battery, and significantly shorten its lifespan. You should also ensure that your charging cable is properly stored after use to protect it from damage.
What are the Advantages of Charging an Electric Car at Home?
If you own an electric car, here are some of the benefits you can enjoy by opting to charge it at home:
- You Can Charge Your EV Safely and Conveniently Overnight
Having a home fast charging system for your EV allows you to safely charge your vehicle at night when you are not using it. This ensures that you have a fully charged car in the morning when you begin your day’s activities. Additionally, charging your EV at home eliminates the need for time-wasting trips to public charging stations during the course of the day.
- You Get to Charge Your EV Very Cheaply
Charging a hybrid plug-in car at home is without a doubt the least expensive way to power it. The average cost of charging an EV at a public charging station is about $10 per hour. Considering the fact that charging an electric car to full capacity may take a couple of hours, you are likely to spend quite a lot if you charge your EV at a commercial charging station. By charging at home, however, you can significantly reduce this cost by taking advantage of cheap electricity rates. In fact, the annual energy consumption of a typical EV is much less than operating a domestic water heater.
- No Memberships are Required
Another great benefit of charging your EV at home is that you won’t need to subscribe to any existing charging networks. As long as you have your charging system installed at home, you can charge your electric car in a hassle-free manner. Also, by charging your EV at home, you do not have to worry about the compatibility of charging connectors. With the universal SAE J1772 connector, you can charge almost any electric car at the comfort of your home. The only exceptions are Tesla hybrid plug-in vehicles which use a specific type of connector. Nevertheless, you can still acquire a one-way adaptor that. Connect to the SAE J1772 to charge your Tesla EV at home if you own one.
So How Frequently Should You Charge Your Electric Car at Home?
The number of times you charge your EV at home is entirely a matter of owner’s discretion. You can charge your electric car anytime when it is not in use. Although it is not necessary to charge your vehicle every day, charging it whenever you are not using, it offers you flexibility since your car will be ready for use whenever you need it. This usually comes in very handy in case of emergencies, when you suddenly need to drive somewhere for an impromptu meeting or other activity.
Charging your car overnight is the best option for EV owners as it allows you to take advantage of cheap night time electricity rates. In addition to this, charging your car overnight ensures that your car is fully charged in the morning when you need to leave the house for your day’s activities.
Conclusion: Is Charging Your Electric Car at Home Worth It?
Hybrid plug-in cars and fully electric cars are certainly becoming more popular all over the world, thanks to technological innovation and government incentives. Be that as it may, the number of electric car users is still very small compared to users of petrol and diesel engine vehicles. Due to the fact public fast-charging stations are still few, home charging units are the best option for users of electric cars.
If you own an EV, installing a home charging station is an investment you should seriously consider making. By charging your electric car at home, you will enjoy the convenience of avoiding long queues at commercial charging stations and greatly minimize the cost of charging your EV.
In case you are looking for a cheaper way of charging your EV at home, then the Level 1 EVSE charging unit will work wonders for you. With no additional equipment required to install this system, you will be charging your EV hassle-free in no time. However, if you are in search of a specialized and faster way to charge your electric car, then we would highly recommend investing some extra bucks in a level 2 EVSE. Regardless of the home charging system you opt for, you can be sure to enjoy plenty of rewards from having your very own home charging station for your electric car.
Basically, charging your EV at home isn’t as hard as most people think. As long as you have the right equipment installed in your home, then you are ready to go!