Choosing a Car Charging Station For Your Home – What to Look For

Written By: Ryan Bowman

Many people are just beginning to realize the benefits of having an electric vehicle. Not only are electric vehicles more ecologically friendly; they are also friendlier on your wallet. Although electric cars tend to save you money in the long run, there are costs associated upfront, like having to invest in an electric vehicle charging station. Do you know what to look for when shopping for the right EV charger? These are some factors to consider.

How Fast the Charger Charges

Level 2 electric vehicle chargers use 240V, but their speed differs based on the electrical current or amperage. Your EV’s range will dictate the speed required, along with your driving style and commute. Nearly all EVs are capable of taking in about 32 amps, so a 32-amp in-home EV charging station would be an appropriate choice for most vehicle owners. If you want to increase your driving habits or commute length, then a faster amp charger will add approximately 37 miles of range per hour.

How Much Room Does Your Electrical Panel Have?

You will have to find a car EV charger that can fit into your home’s already available electrical capacity. According to the national code, you must have an electrical circuit that is rated for 25% more amperage than a charger’s output. Before shopping around, check to make sure that your electrical panel has enough amps available to charge your electric vehicle. If you aren’t sure, call a Morrison professional to ensure that your panel is prepared and up-to-date. 

Location, Location, Location

Your home charger and the electric panel should be close to one another. That might require an electrician to run an additional conduit line from the panel to the charging station, but that can really start to add up in costs. If you install your charging station next to the garage, that might make it more convenient. Buying a weatherproof version that is rated for the outdoors will give you the flexibility to either install it inside or outside, depending on your parking arrangements.

Reliability & Safety 

The most important things to look for when buying an EV charging station are safety and reliability. Make sure that the charger you choose has been certified and tested by a nationally accredited testing laboratory, and look for the ENERGY STAR certification rating so that you know you are using the least amount of energy possible to keep your bills low. Choosing a portable charger might seem like a wise choice for traveling, but dealing with the wires, connectors, and cables lying around all the time will get old quickly. Additionally, it can pose a fire hazard and be dangerous around pets and young children. A wall-mounted station is a much safer alternative. Also, understand what support and warranty come with the charger so that you have the customer support you need if you should need it.

Rebates and Warranties Are Available

Of course, the cost is going to be a concern. Many EV chargers have charge rate plans that are supposed to help you save money on off-peak charging times. Ask your utility company if they offer any discounts or rate plans for EV customers. Although that sounds like a great way to save money, no one wants to wait up until midnight just to plug their car in. There might also be the potential for rebates and grants based on home charging, so before you invest, know what your utility company offers.

Are Smart Features Built In?

Not all chargers are the same when it comes to available smart features. Some “smart” chargers are WiFi capable and need to be connected to the internet to manage them. Some apps will do things like tally your charging costs and calculate how many miles you have driven on a charge. Smart features are not critical, but some of them make using an EV much more convenient.

Total Cost of Investment

The average EV costs approximately $500-900, which is nothing compared to the cost of gas per year! The charger that you choose will likely last for years, so make sure to take the time to really think your EV station through. The key is finding an in-home EV charger that is safe, reliable, and convenient. When talking about just a couple of hundred dollars’ difference, finding the best is a worthwhile investment.

If you are ready to ditch your gas-guzzling vehicle and take charge, Morrison Electrical is here to help. Our professionals can help you choose the right car charger, upgrade your electrical work to accommodate it, and get you supercharged quickly – and more importantly, safely. Contact us today to get started on your going-green ways!