With the flick of a pen--and lots of tedious dealership paperwork later--you are now the proud owner of your first electric vehicle! However, this introduces the task of installing your first EV charger at home. Read on to learn how to accomplish this with as few headaches as possible.
Electric vehicles need to be charged regularly, just like your smartphone or tablet.
Just like an iPhone or iPad, every electric vehicle has a battery operating and powering it up. Because of this, all EVs need to be charged regularly. If there is no electricity stored in your EV battery, you’re going to be parked in your garage. The electricity stored in your new EV’s battery is consumed whenever you drive the car, so it is critical to regularly replenish that electricity by charging it.
Depending on your daily commute and driving habits, on average you can expect to need to charge up at least every other day. Because of this, having a properly installed EV home charger is crucial for a positive driving experience; furthermore, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll arrive on time to your daily commitments with your reliable charging solution in place.
For a Level 2 EV Charger Installation, You’ll Need the Assistance of a Licensed Electrician.
First and foremost, considering the risk of electrocution with a “do-it-yourself” Level 2 Charger installation job, it is always wise to consult with a professional electrician as a first step. Due to the technical skills required to complete the task of rewiring or adjusting circuit breakers, please do not attempt this at home without an experienced professional guiding you or completing the job themselves.
In many states and cities, strict building codes require pulling permits with a professional license regardless. Making an error with an electrical installation can lead to damage in your home electrical system or can cause physical damage to the space (not to mention the fire hazard from poorly done wiring).
However, if you choose to go with a Level 1 charger, all you need to do is simply plug it into the wall and plug it into your charger. In this case, you would simply plug it into a 120-volt wall outlet and put the other end into your EV charging port. This can usually be found on the opposite side of your gas port if you drive a plug-in hybrid and is similar to how you would insert a gas hose at the pump. Teslas usually have their charging ports in between the rear driver side door and left taillight, but others have a port on the hood, driver side door, or passenger side door. Note: Level 1 Chargers do NOT require the help of an electrician or installation, unless you do not currently have any standard wall outlets in your garage or parking space within 15-20 ft. of where you park your vehicle (in which case, you’d need to give them a call).
The standard installation of a Level 2 Charger by an electrician should take about 2-3 hours.
Most skilled electricians can complete the job in about two hours, and usually quote no more than an afternoon to get the job done.
A typical Level 2 EV charger installation entails running at least 240 volts from your home’s main electrical panel to your charging location. On average, professional installation can run anywhere from $250 to $1000 depending on the company, your location/region, or the experience of the electrician you choose to work with.
For older homes with unpermitted wiring setups, more complicated upgrades may be necessary to bring your electrical work up to local code standards. This can potentially raise the cost of installation and the time it takes to complete the job, so please keep this in mind going into the project.