Every year, electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more common and affordable - especially for those looking to conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprint. For many car owners, investing in an EV is practical and economical.
If you already own an EV, adding a charging station to your home will help you get the most out of your car. Unity Power Services offers insight into EV basics, types of chargers available, and choosing a charger that best meets your needs.
Cost - The average American household spends nearly 20% of its income on transportation-related costs, with a large portion going toward gasoline. Of course, this cost varies depending on the price at the pump. The US Department of Energy estimates that the cost of an eGallon, the electrical equivalent of a gallon of gas, is about one-half that of gasoline. According to myev.com, the average driver will save $4000-5000 in operational costs over five years. In addition to fuel costs, you’ll also save on maintenance costs. EVs require less scheduled maintenance than conventional gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. Plus, you don’t need to worry about oil or other fluids or the associated filters and fluid lines.
Initial equipment and installation costs for the charger itself vary based on the Level of charger and the location of the equipment within your home. For a dedicated 110v outlet for a Level 1 charger you may expect $500-$1,500 for the electrical work. For a dedicated 220v outlet for a Level 2 charger you may expect $1,250-$2,500 for the electrical work. This would be in addition to the cost of the charger you need to purchase for your particular vehicle and usage requirements.
Distance - Similar to a conventional car or truck, the distance you’ll be able to travel in your EV depends on the vehicle. On average, an EV needs recharging every 100-150 miles, although that range is improving with each new generation of vehicles. In fact, some current models have a range of 300 plus miles. AAA reports that most Americans drive 30 miles or less daily, making an EV a practical choice.
Types of Charging Stations
If you invest in an EV, you’ll probably want to install an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), commonly known as a home charging station. This gives you the ability to charge your car at home quickly. Charging time depends on the vehicle’s battery size, the current level of battery charge, and the speed of the charging point. You can install two types of EVSE in your home, Level 1 EVSE and Level 2 EVSE. Level 3 EVSE are found in commercial and public locations.
Level 1 EVSE - The simplest charger to use, it is usually provided with your EV purchase. A Level 1 charger has a male, three-pronged 110-volt plug on one end and the vehicle-specific plug on the other. To use, simply plug it into a convenient wall outlet and then plug it into your car. While convenient and easy to use, it’s the slowest charger on the market. If your battery is empty, it could take up to 20 hours to fully charge. However, most EV owners won’t need to fully charge their vehicle daily; thus, a 110-volt charging station might do the trick.
Level 2 EVSE - Level 2 EVSE provides a much faster charge but also requires a dedicated 220-volt electrical supply. Since most homes only have one or two 220-volt outlets, you’ll need a professional to add a circuit and wiring run to where you plan on installing the charging station. While you may pay more in installation cost, you’ll benefit from the charging speed. A Level 2 charging system can fully charge your battery in 6-8 hours, making it a better choice if your EV usage is heavier.
Level 3 EVSE - These high-voltage rapid chargers are designed for fast charging at commercial locations. Level 3 systems require a 440-volt DC power supply and aren’t an option for home use.
Choosing a Charger
Before deciding to invest in the added expense of a Level 2 charge, evaluate your specific EV needs and current usage. Ask yourself the following questions:
Will I require fast recharges? Your EV is similar to your smartphone. You’ll only need to plug in your EV overnight to top off the battery in most cases. However, if you use your EV more frequently, you may require a quicker recharge. A Level 1 charger is probably adequate for short commutes or occasional errands. However, if you have a longer commute or make frequent trips, a Level 2 station may better serve your needs.
Does my EV have a large battery capacity? If you have an EV with a longer range, it has a larger battery requiring more charging time. A faster, Level 2 charger is the more convenient choice.
Have more than one EV? If you plan to have more than one EV in your home, a single higher-speed charger may be more practical than two slower Level 1 units. If you require multiple higher-speed chargers, then you may want to consider installation of a local electrical panelboard to reduce the costs. With today’s increase in commodities a 100 amp aluminum feeder cable is half the cost of a 60 amp copper branch circuit.
Work with Unity Power Services
If you’re interested in adding an EV charging station to your home but aren’t sure where to start, look no further than Unity Power Services. We offer consultation and installation services related to EV charging.
To learn more or to set up an appointment, call 571-577-0688 or visit our website today!