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Clean Transport

EV Charging at Home 101

When considering buying an EV, consumers rightfully think about destination charging — meaning where and how to charge the car while traveling. However, a consideration often overlooked and misunderstood is how the car will be charged at home.

All mass-produced electric vehicles today include a 110-volt-compatible (Level 1) charging unit which is able to be plugged into any standard 110v household outlet. The downside of EV charging with a 110v outlet is that it takes a while. Level 1 charging provides approximately four to five hours of range per hour charged. For an eight-hour overnight charge, this will enable traveling around 36 to 40 miles, which is great for people who drive less than 50 miles (80 km) a day. Most electric vehicle owners find that this meets their needs perfectly and allows them to conveniently charge their EV at home without any changes or upgrades.

Using a 240-Volt Outlet Charges Electric Cars Faster

However, others with long commutes or who drive for work need more range may prefer to invest in a 240v, Level 2 wall-mounted charger. 240 outlets are the type you typically see for electric clothes dryers at home and are the type most commonly installed for public charging stations. Compared with Level 1 charging, a Level 2 charge takes about half the time – providing about 180 miles of range over an eight-hour overnight charging period. Level 2 charging is the best option for drivers in a hurry as well as those who drive more miles in a day. Level 2 fast charging is especially attractive for those who don’t have reliable access to public or workplace chargers. A Level 2 Charger will need to be installed with the help of an electrician and it can be placed in a location that makes at-home charging even easier.

Choosing the Right Home Charger

With so many EV chargers on the market, it is important to know what to look for. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Hardwire/Plug-in: While many charging stations need to be hardwired and cannot be moved, some modern models plug into the wall for additional portability. However, these models may still need a 240-volt outlet for operation.
  • Length of cable: If the chosen model is not portable, it is important to make sure the car charger is mounted in a place that enables it to reach the electric vehicle port. Be mindful that other EVs maybe need to be charged with this station in the future, so make certain there’s some flexibility.
  • Size: Because garages are often tight on space, seek an EV charger that is narrow and offers a snug fit to minimize the intrusion of space from the system.
  • Weatherproof: If the home charging station is being used outside of the garage, search for a model that is rated for use in the weather.
  • Storage: It is important not to leave the cable hanging loosely while it’s not in use. Try to find a home charger with a holster that holds everything in place.
  • Ease of use: Be mindful to choose a model that is easy to use. There is no reason not to have a charging station with a smooth operation to get the car plugged in and disconnected.
  • Features: There are charging stations that allow the scheduling charging operation for times when electricity is cheaper. Some models can also be set up to resume charging automatically when the power comes back on should an outage occur. In some cases, charging station operations can be synced through a smartphone app.
  • UL Listed: This important safety designation should never be overlooked. Make sure the charger you buy contains the important seal.

Courtesy of Energy.Gov

For more on home EV charging, see our in-depth EV Chargers and Charging Guide.

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