Choosing An Electric Vehicle Charging Station — The Basics

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This is a short section of our new, free 2021–2022 EV Chargers Guide. More sections of the report will be published shortly, or you can just download the full report now. The report is free thanks to sponsorship from NeoCharge and EV Connect.

While people mostly use the term “EV charger,” the technical name for a charging station is EVSE, which stands for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment.

This is a device that safely supplies electric energy to electric vehicles to recharge them. Charging an electric vehicle is safe and easy, as long as it is done with proper, safety-certified equipment. Common EVSE use established protocols to ensure electrical safety throughout the charging process — for the user, the vehicle, and the power grid. Almost every charger on the market is suitable for indoor or outdoor use these days.

Choosing the right charging station may seem like a complex process, but it does not have to be overwhelming. The first step is to make sure you have the capacity in your electrical panel for the charging station to be installed. It’s also advisable to make sure that the EVSE you want to buy has a warranty and customer support is available.

All charging stations included in this guide are safety tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory (NRTL), such as Intertek (ETL) or Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL). The NRTL certification marks are provided on the product itself (present on the rating plate). The building inspector will look for the rating plate to make sure the product has been installed according to its certification.

Most EV charging station manufacturers offer a 3 year warranty for their products. Some of the warranties are extendable to 5 years. (Please see the table to find warranty information for the specific charging stations that interest you.) One important thing to note regarding warranties, though: many of these warranties are for the parts only and do not include the labor. Some companies will offer full parts and labor warranties. Look at the fine print or contact the company if it’s not clear which is offered before buying the product.

There are two types of home chargers available: Level 1 chargers and Level 2 chargers. In coming sections, we will discuss pros & cons of each, and also share a variety of products from both categories.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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