How to Buy and Install Your First Electric Car Charging Station?


One of the biggest problems that Electrical Vehicle (EV) owners face on a daily basis, is the limited number of public charging stations that are available. The majority of EV experts will tell you, that they believe this is one of the major factors that is slowing industry growth.

With the availability of power outlets in some of the remotest locations, you would think that charging an EV would be as simple as just plugging in, unfortunately, this is not the case.

The current 2018 options available are either installing electric car charging station at your home or using public charging stations.

 

The problems faced with using public stations are:

  • - Depending on the level of chargers available, EV charging can be slow and needs to be incorporated into your daily schedule.

  • - Unless you are lucky enough to have an EV charger at your workplace, you will need to locate your nearest station and make the commute there. Question is…then what? Do you wait while your car charges? This could take 4-8 hours! What if you need to return to work? Take a Taxi…Uber? More cost and defeats the purpose, especially if you’re a green enthusiast and it’s the reason you bought your EV in the first place!

  • - EV public charging stations will charge a premium in comparison to electric car charging at home. Let’s face it they need to be profitable!

  • - An account is required to use (most) public charging stations, the problem is there are multiple private companies who require an account for each. So, the convenience of having one-account-does-all is currently unavailable.

Our suggestion at EZ EV is to buy and install your first electric car charging station at home.

Ok, I can hear you guys now!

“But won’t that be another problem to deal with?”

No, not at all!

In fact, buying and installing an electric car home charger is easier and cheaper than it seems, and can be done by someone who’s confident in his/her DIY capabilities.

 

Things to Consider When Buying an Electric Home Charger

If you’re completely new to the EV concept and are figuring out how to buy and install your first electric car home charger, you may be surprised to hear that the actual charger is inside the vehicle.

Yes, right amongst all that on-board equipment.

As consumers, we need to physically see things to give them a name, so when we hear of the charger we think of that unit on the wall “charging” your vehicle, like how you would fill your car full of gas.

The concept has been around since the very first fuelled car, so I guess it’s here to stay!

The technical term for this “on wall charger”, is called an Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (or EVSE) and there are factors needed to be considered when buying an electric car home charger.

 

Cost

First off is cost, and the general idea around the EV community is that a reliable ESVE alone, will set you back between $500 and $700. Prices can be higher or lower and is determined by the factors below.

 

Portability

Depending on your local regulations and code you may need to hardwire your charging station if it is not housed in a garage, i.e. on an outside wall.

If this isn’t a requirement, you can future-proof yourself against additional costs and add portability, if the ESVE needs to be relocated later.

Have an Electrician install an externally rated power outlet at your ideal location. You can then mount the charger next to it and simply plug in.

If future circumstances require you to relocate the ESVE, you can just unplug and move the station.

 

Location of Charger

Before installing electric car charger or ESVE, you will need to figure out your ideal location to mount your car charger. Ensure that the cord will reach your EV and consider the accessibility to a future second EV (or maybe you already have one).

The length of cable required to your charger or outlet will influence the cost, as all exposed external cabling will need to be environmentally protected and concealed in conduit. The longer the run, the bigger the volt-drop and potential for a larger sized cable needed to be used.

More conduit may also need to be installed.

Depending on the type or level of charger you decide to purchase, your EV may need to be charged overnight (on a cheaper tariff), so a convenient location would be beneficial.

 

Different Types of Electric Car Home Chargers

If you are considering installing electric car charging station, the 3 types of charger available and the average costs associated with them are:

 

Level 1 charger

(120 Volts) – This is a straight plug into your standard household (120V) power outlet, very user-friendly but is also the slowest form of charging, providing on average 2 to 5 miles per hour of charge.

Not to be scoffed at but of the three types, is the least practical, limiting your daily commutes to less than 40 miles.

 

Installation, Labor & Servicing

The labor and servicing required for this level of charger is quite minimal.

Depending on the facilities in your garage or whether you have an external power outlet in your carport/ driveway, you will need to have a power outlet installed if there are none available.

This can be done by yourself or by hiring an Electrician.

It is recommended to use a dedicated circuit for the outlet that you are using to charge your EV, protected by a rated breaker at the panel. By keeping the circuit dedicated you can protect from overload from other appliances.

 

Level 2 charger

Recommended as the most practical and cost-effective for your average EV owner.

A level 2 charger requires a 40Amp protected hardwire connection to your household consumer unit. In return providing a 220V-240V power supply and charging your EV at an average rate of 10-25 miles per hour (generally done overnight).

There are 2 types of Level 2 chargers available, A Plug-in Charger and a Plugless Charger.

  • - Plug-in are manually connected to the on-board charger by means of a plug from the ESVE chargers.

  • - Plugless chargers use a parking pad located on your driveway or garage floor. on-board vehicle adapter receives the energy over an air gap from the parking pad and charges the EV autonomously.

 

Installation & Labor

For the installation of a Level 2 charger, whether it is a Plug-in or Plugless charger, the power required is 240V with up to 100Amp protection.

You will need to assess your electrical household supply as a service upgrade may be needed if 240V is unavailable, but most households in the US are already equipped with the required capacity.

Your local code could determine that a permit may be mandatory to hardwire a 240V ESVE to your electric panel. This can be provided by your Electrician or ESVE Technician but may come at an additional cost.

An alternative to hardwiring is to have a 240V power outlet installed and by plugging your charger into this outlet. Check local regulations for external appliances as hardwiring may be compulsory.

The average cost to have someone install a Level 2 Plug-in Charger for you including parts, labor, station and permits is $3000.

 

Servicing

After installation you may want to maintain your ESVE with regular servicing, although not required it is recommended, to ensure that the charger and cords are both safe to use and that charging operates at its optimal output.

Check with your ESVE provider to see if servicing is available and schedule annually.

 

DC Fast Charger

Also known as Level 3 charging, this takes a 208/480V three-phase AC input from your supply and converts it to a DC output of typically 50-120kW, essentially “fast charging” the vehicle. DC fast chargers are usually the same size as a gas-pump machine.

Although they can charge an EV to 80% capacity in 30 minutes, most manufacturer’s DC fast chargers are produced specifically for that range (or make) of vehicle.

 

Installation & Labor

To ensure that your DC fast charger produces up to 120kW to charge your EV, 208/480V AC is required.

Average household consumer units are not equipped with 208/480V three-phase supply and to achieve this input a complete upgrade to your household consumer unit is needed.

If upgrading at your consumer unit is not an option, due to lack of space/capacity you may have to install a sub-panel or on-site transformer.

This is the most expensive of the three chargers. The average cost to have someone install it for you including parts, labor, station and permits is $10,000.

It has not been uncommon for these to creep up to $20,000 depending on power available, as a 208/480V domestic transformer, alone can cost $5000+

 

Servicing

Due to the high cost of installation, you will want to maintain your ESVE with regular servicing. This is highly recommended for the safety of the operator and protection of your investment.

If an on-site transformer is installed, this too will need to be serviced on a regular basis.

Check the aftermarket care from your ESVE provider before purchasing and negotiate discounted servicing due to the high initial costs of installation.

 

Installing Electric Car Charging Station

When it comes to installing your electric car home charger, there are 3 options to be considered, depending on your budget and competency.

 

DIY

If you’re quite the handyperson at home, then installing the ESVE could be a task you could do yourself. Although, this will be carried out completely at your own risk.

If local codes allow you to alter existing electrical services in your own home, then this is an option.

Be aware, even though you will save money (on a successful installation only), this can be a dangerous task and your manufacturer’s warranty could be voided.

Make sure to check all documentation and local code first.

 

Electrician

Hire a qualified Electrician to save yourself from being electrocuted!

A word of advice would be to make sure that they have carried out similar work, prior to installation.

Do your research and see if they have experience installing electric car charging stations.

A good Electrician will usually save you money, but a bad Electrician can end up costing you more!

Also, check with your ESVE manufacturer first before employing an Electrician, as some brands may require you to have the ESVE installed by their Technician.

Doing otherwise could, once again, void that warranty.

 

EVSE Technician

Depending on the model of electric car home charger you decide to buy, you may want to hire a specialized ESVE Technician to install it for you.

The advantage of this is that a Technician would carry out this duty on a day-to-day basis and should be an expert in installing the product.

Most ESVE providers offer a flat-rate package for the charger and installation. This can be just as cheap as hiring an Electrician with the added confidence of a successful installation.

There are many deals and discounts to be had on ESVE chargers and Electric Vehicles themselves. If you would like more information, visit out our Home Page for our range of EV’s and chargers.

On top of the money you will be saving from installing an electric car charging station at home, you may also be entitled to incentives.

Check your local state and authorities for more information, up to 30% of your charging station costs could be covered by tax credits and rebates.

 

References:

https://www.ergon.com.au/network/smarter-energy/electric-vehicles/benefits-of-electric-vehicles

https://www.energysage.com/electric-vehicles/advantages-of-evs/evs-environmental-impact/

https://www.fleetcarma.com/electric-vehicle-charging-guide/


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