Is Your Home Ready for an EV Charger?

There are a lot of questions to answer before you take your new EV home, especially whether your home can handle charging an EV.
Written by Lauren Smith
Reviewed by Serena Aburahma
Oct 25, 2022
Something is exciting about
and the possibility of owning them. From Tesla’s to Nissan Leafs to all the new EVs being designed and teased for future release every day, there are so many options and they’re getting more affordable. But what does it take to
charge one at home

Some EV charger basics

When you buy an EV, you need somewhere to charge it. Electric vehicles ideally work best if you can charge them overnight or during long stints of time when you’re not actively driving. 
There are also three charging levels. A level 1 comes with your EV that will plug into a standard outlet, but this will be a slow charge. It’ll take a couple of days to get a full battery from 0. 
A level 2 will charge your vehicle the same amount a level 1 would overnight in about an hour. And overnight, you can go from an empty battery to a full charge. Most public chargers are level 2. Or, there’s the powerful level 3 that most homes’ electrical systems can’t handle. 
Most chargers with your EV also include about 25 feet of cable to connect your vehicle to a power source to charge.

Questions to ask yourself before getting an EV charger

How often do you drive? How much do you drive? Where are their public chargers in your routine? Are there any near where you work or where you frequently grocery shop? Where do you park your car? On your electrical panel, is there room for additional breakers?
Let’s break down these questions. Your driving habits will help determine whether you need a level 1 or 2 charger. A level 1 charger is the easiest because it comes standard with the EV you buy. But if you drain most of your battery in your daily routine, you’ll need a level 2.
If you just pop out for groceries and work from home, or your office has level 2 or more chargers, your car can charge while you’re working, and you can stick to that level 1. 
Where you park helps you figure out whether or not getting an EV charger is feasible. If you’re stuck parking on the street, you probably won’t be able to get an EV charger set up. If you park in a garage that’s already hooked up to your home's electrical, then you should be good. 
Essentially the closer your car is parked to a power source with electrical capabilities, the easier your life will be. 
If you’re parking, however, in a detached garage not connected to your home's electrical grid, it’s going to require some work to get your garage on the electrical grid.
As for the electrical panel, according to the
Washington Post
, an EV charger requires an exclusive direct line to power. It’s kind of like your washing machine or dryer; you can’t necessarily move it around and plug it in anywhere, especially if you’re going for a level 2. 
If there’s no additional breaker, your electrical system might not be able to handle the additional strain on your power.

Price breakdowns for an EV charger

Let’s say the stars are aligned and you have your favorite electrician on speed dial. They come over, look at where you plan to park your vehicle, look at the electrical unit right next to where you want to park and you’ve got enough power. Perfect world scenario? About $500. 
On average, the process will cost between $1,500 and $3,000. 
However, things can go up from there. Let’s say you need a new panel, tack on between $2,000 and $4,000. Let’s say your electrical system just couldn’t handle it, and you need to get a full upgrade from your electrician; you’re looking at about $5,000 to $8,000 more. 
This also doesn’t include the EV charger you pick out. Unless you have a Tesla and are using a Tesla Supercharger, then you can use any charger at level 1 or level 2 for an EV. You’ll just need to decide on what kind you want and:
  • Size
  • Charging speed
  • Cord length
  • Wifi connection
  • Hood to protect it from the elements (if you’re setting it up in your driveway rather than an enclosed garage)
The EV charger alone can be between $100 and a few thousand dollars. 
Popular EV chargers, according to the
Car and Driver
, include ChargePoint Home Flex which runs about $1,249, or JuiceBox40, which costs about $699. If you’re on a budget, there’s also the Lectron 32 Amp for $320 though note it doesn’t come with a wall mount or Wifi. 
You can expect your electrical bill to go up, but you’ll save on maintenance fees, oil changes, and gas. With rising gas prices, you’ll probably see the savings pretty quickly. 

Saving on your car insurance

While getting an EV set up is ready for it can be a lot of work, the savings on your wallet and for the environment is undeniable. And if you want more savings for your wallet,
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