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Do you want to charge EV at home? How do you do it? What do you need? And how much will it cost?
Charging your EV at home is one of the most practical things you can do. Not only is this convenient on your end but it also ensures that you’ll always leave home on a fresh charge.
The only thing that most EV owners at this point would ask about this is: “Is it safe to charge EV at home?”
It is safe to do that even if you’re just plugging into a conventional socket in your home. The best thing though is to create a dedicated charging station in your garage to reduce latency issues caused by using an extension cord.
Since most EVs sold in the past few years are from Tesla, make sure you have a Tesla Charger at home for more efficient charging.
Related Article: Can Nissan LEAF Use A Tesla Charger?
In this article we’ll detail how to charge EV, what it costs, installing your own charging station, alternative energy sources, and other important info you’ll need. Let’s get started!
How Do You Charge An Electric Car At Home?
How do you charge an electric car at home? Is it as easy as plugging an appliance into a socket?
Yes, you can.
The only thing to consider when doing this is: “Are you charging through a 110-volt outlet or a 220-volt one?”
Needless to say, the higher output will charge EV faster.
Most homes are only equipped with 110-volt sockets. This makes charging your EV a very time-consuming task.
So, why would you want to do that? After all, aren’t public chargers with higher outputs available?
The answer is yes, but these high output public chargers are only limited to certain areas. Although charging stations are becoming more popular these days, the supply still can’t meet the current demand made by EV owners old and new.
Charging at home gives you the convenience of powering your batteries up and taking care of more important things.
Just remember that when you are charging through a regular outlet, you’re essentially using up the house’s electricity. It’s ok if it is in your home but if you’re in the office or at someone else’s home, it wouldn’t seem fair unless you offer to pay a small amount equal to the electricity you siphoned off.
Using a 110-Volt Outlet Takes Longer
All mass-produced electric vehicles today include a charging unit which you are able to plug into any standard 110v outlet. This unit makes it possible to charge your EV from regular household outlets.
The downside of EV charging with a 110v outlet is that it takes a while. This is known as a Level 1 charger, which provides approximately four to five hours of range per hour charged. You get around 36 to 40 miles for an eight-hour overnight charge.
For drivers who do not travel very far in a day, the charge provided by a household 110v outlet is sufficient. Others with long commutes or who drive for work need more. Home charging with a higher-voltage outlet greatly reduces charging time and adds more miles of range to your EV in the same period.
Related Article: Why Your Tesla Charges Slowly
Using a 240-Volt Outlet Charges Electric Cars Faster
Can you plug an electric car into a regular outlet that is 240 volts?
Yes, you can!
This is known as Level 2 charging. 240v outlets are the type of outlets you typically see for appliances that require more power at home. This is also the type most commonly installed for public charging stations.
Compared to Level 1 charging, Level 2 charging is definitely faster. You can expect to charge EV in half the time it takes for a 110-volt output socket to fill up your battery. Level 2 charging is definitely the standard for EV owners.
Different Chargers In The Market Today
These sockets also need specialized chargers to handle the amount of electrical current passing to your car. There are three types of common chargers and they are categorized into levels.
One distinction between these three levels is the input voltage, Level 1 uses 110/120 volts, Level 2 uses 208/240 volts and DC fast chargers use between 200 and 600 volts. Numerous manufacturers produce chargers, with a variety of products and varying prices, applications, and functionality.
Level 1 Charger
Level 1 Charging is the most cost-efficient charging method since it only uses a standard 110-V outlet. Most homes are equipped with 110-volt sockets meaning you can charge EV at home. The only downside is the length of time it takes to reach 100% (also dependent on the battery depletion level).
The output for this type of charging is around 12 to 16 amperes. This should give you a driving range of 3 to 6 miles per hour of charging. This is perfect for drivers who do not exceed 40 miles of driving per day. The perfect time to charge EV with this type of charger is overnight.
Most EVs come with a level 1 cord as a basic attachment. You’re better off upgrading to a level 2 charger and reserve your Level 1 charger as a backup or for emergencies.
Level 2 Charger
Level 2 chargers have a higher output. This is perfect for most EV owners who want to charge their vehicles efficiently and in the shortest time possible within their homes. Most homes have a 240 Volt socket for appliances that require a higher electrical demand.
DC Fast Charging
These are the highest-powered EV chargers in the market today. That’s why these are used as range extenders for long-distance drivers or EV owners who rack up the mileage.
DC fast chargers charge at 25-50 kW enough for topping your EV up when you park at malls, restaurants, and other areas where you’ll spend at the minimum, around 30 minutes to an hour.
Newer DC fast chargers can even produce 150-350 kW of power. Although this is good news for EV car owners, not all EV models are compatible with DC fast chargers.
Check these chargers out to charge EV at home:
How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Car?
One of the most important questions electric car buyers ask is how much they will save in the long run. To determine that, you need to know how much it costs to charge an electric car.
This actually changes across the board based on the tariff rates attached to your electricity bill.
To determine the cost to charge EV, you need to find the value for the following:
- Size of your battery/batteries or number of batteries in your EV
- Price per kilowatt-hour with tariff rates attached
We look at the cost of charging a car and using different electricity tariffs in more depth here, but broadly speaking it depends on the cost of your electricity. You should expect around $0.06 to $0.79 per kWh. A good average per kWh is around $0.39. Anything lower than that and you’ve got a great price.
To calculate the cost to charge your EV, use this formula:
Size of battery (kWh) x Cost of your electricity (pence per kWh) = the cost of charging your car from zero to full.
For example, if you have a 41kWh battery, and your electricity costs $0.20p per kWh, the calculation would look like this:
41kW x $0.20kWh = $8.20ph
You can cut this cost further by switching to a cheaper energy supplier or at least one that doesn’t charge as much for overnight rates. You can also reduce your energy costs by switching to an off-grid solar power system.
How Long Will It Take To Reach 100%
Your charge EV time is dependent on your batteries’ capacity and charging power. This means that the time will fluctuate depending on the charge level used, voltage handling of your batteries, and charger electronics of your car.
In short, the charge time can be calculated with this formula:
Charging Time [h] = Battery Capacity [kWh] / Charging Power [kW]
Let’s say you have a 60 kWh battery and a 7kW charging point.
60kWh / 7kW = 8.57h or 8 hours and 30 minutes.
It would take you approximately eight hours and 30 minutes to reach full capacity from empty. This is an approximation as some batteries charge faster during the initial stages and slow down to a steady drip as they near full capacity.
This is only a scenario as most drivers top-up charge rather than deplete their battery to zero before charging. Think of it as charging an oversized mobile phone. You don’t wait until it’s empty before plugging it into a wall socket.
Needless to say, the bigger your car’s battery and the slower the charging point, the longer it takes to charge from empty to full.
Factors That Affect Charging Time
There are 5 main factors that affect the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle.
Battery Size, Age, And Functional Condition
The bigger your battery is, the longer it will take to full charge. Your battery is a vessel to store electrical power. Think of it as a container for all that electrical energy. Your battery’s age will also play a part. The nearer it is to its expiration date, the faster it will discharge.
The functional condition of your battery is also important. Make sure you bring it in for preventive maintenance on a regular basis during its entire service life.
It will take you longer to charge your battery if it is below 50% of its charge. You’ll find it faster to reach 100% if you top up. For this matter, top-up charging is always a good idea.
Related Article: 10 Reasons An Electric Car Won’t Start
Max Charging Rate Of Your EV
You can’t go over the max charging rate of your EV. EV manufacturers have a built-in cap to ensure you don’t charge your EV beyond its rated max charging ability. So, even if you charge EV at a 22kW ChargePoint, if your max charging rate is only 7kW, it will limit it to 7kW.
Related Article: TroubleShooting A Nissan Leaf That Won’t Charge
Max Charge Rate Of ChargePoint
Just like the charging rate of your EV, a ChargePoint’s max charge also has a limit. Even if your EV can charge at a higher rate, if the chargepoint has a lower output, there is no way to increase that. Let’s say your EV’s max charging rate is 11kW, if the chargepoint you’re charging at is only 7kW, then that’s the only output you’ll get.
The Cold Can Affect Your EV More Than A Regular Automobile
The cold and your EV aren’t the best of friends. It will take longer to charge EV when it’s cold. The best thing to do is to charge EV at home in your garage where it’s warmer.
What Is Top-Up Charging?
Top-up charging is simply the act of keeping your battery at full capacity whenever it is parked. Like most cars, 95% of the time your EV will most probably be parked. This is a good opportunity for you to ensure your batteries are charged. Don’t wait for your batteries to get empty before fully recharging it.
Just think of your EV as a humongous mobile phone on wheels. To keep it running, you need to have it charged. You can always plug in whenever and wherever there’s a charging station available.
Public and workplace charging points typically range from 7kW to 22kW, making them ideal for top-up charging.
Combining daytime top-up charging with overnight charging at home is an effective way to keep your electric car charged and ready to go.
Don’t worry too much about how long it will take to charge your battery. Instead, think of how much range you can get out of your present stage, as that is more important.
How Much Range Can You Get Per Hour Of Charging?
As an electric vehicle driver, it’s useful to know how many miles of range you are getting during the time your vehicle is charging, so you know you can get to your next destination.
This is highly dependent on your car’s efficiency to use up the power stored in your battery. The weight of your car will also factor into this calculation as well as the state of your motor’s condition. The lighter your car is, the farther you’ll be able to go on a single charge.
Atmospheric conditions can affect your car’s performance with the cold weather impeding your efficiency. You’ll get more out of your EV in the summer than in the winter.
Terrain and orientation can increase or decrease your efficiency. You’ll expend more energy on terrain where your tires won’t be able to grip the road properly. This also applies if you’re going uphill.
If you have old batteries, they may discharge faster, so make sure you keep them properly maintained for maximum efficiency. The best-case scenario is to always have new batteries in your car to achieve maximum range. You can actually do this if you’re enrolled in a battery swapping subscription.
Battery swapping is another option you can take aside from charging your EV and waiting for it to top. All you have to do is drive to a certified battery swapping center and hand in your old depleted batteries and get new ones inside your EV.
And that’s it, you’re back on the road.
Benefits Of Battery Swapping
Battery swapping can be done as quickly as five minutes from the time your car is up for the service. You won’t even have to exit your car to complete the process.
You basically have an unlimited range between battery switch stations. As long as there’s a battery switching station in the area you’re going, then you’re good. Make sure you plan your trips to include a visit to a battery switching station if you notice a significant loss in your battery’s charge.
One good thing about this is you don’t own the battery; therefore, all the costs, warranties, maintenance, and disposal attached are shouldered by the battery switching station.
Now Let’s Get Your Home Charging Station Setup
Finally, we come to the part where we set up your home charging station.
A charging station is a dedicated structure that provides the electrical energy needed by an EV to run. It also goes by these names:
- Electric Vehicle Charging Station
- EV Charging Station
- Electric Recharging Point
- Charging Point
- Charge Point
- Electronic Charging Station (ECS)
- Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)
A charging station has a converter on board that plugs into a standard electrical outlet or a high-capacity appliance outlet. This provides electrical conversion, monitoring, and safety functionality. These features can support faster charging at higher voltages and currents than residential EVSEs
To set your expectations, you won’t be allowed to install your own charging station unless you are certified to handle the equipment. You will need to get the services of a professional to install the system for you.
The best you can do is design and supervise what type of charger to install and where to put it.
Why Would You Want To Put A Charging Station In Your Own Garage?
Having a charging station in your garage makes powering your batteries up a more convenient and pleasurable experience. Instead of stringing an extension cord from a socket in your living room through an open window or through the door, all you have to do is park your EV into the garage and charge it there.
Not only is this safer as you won’t have to leave open doors or windows unattended but you’ll also ensure a faster charging time, as you won’t have to factor in the cold weather affecting the charging speed.
Determine Your Daily Range Requirement
How many miles do you drive your EV per day?
How much range can your EV handle?
Knowing this will help you determine the best charging station to put in your home. This can also save you a lot of money, as what you think you need might differ from what you actually use on a daily basis.
There’s no need to put a fast charger if you’re going to be charging overnight regularly. A 110-volt/15 amp charging unit (Level 1) is enough to handle this. If you really want to go faster, a 240-volt charging station (Level 2) can be installed at a slightly higher price.
These types of charging stations won’t need any additional wiring since most homes are already equipped to handle 110 or 240-volt outputs.
Benefits Of Getting A Level 2 Charger
Getting a Level 2 charger usually means that a dedicated 240 volt is needed. Some homes are already equipped with 240-volt sockets, so installing a dedicated charging station shouldn’t pose much of a problem.
The only problem is having a level 2 cable in hand as most EV manufacturers won’t include this as standard equipment on your car. What you’ll most likely get is a Level 1 charging cable for 110 volts.
The good thing is, after-market Level 2 chargers are available to help you charge EV faster. You just have to make sure the amperage is correct to take full advantage of its faster charging rate. Look for chargers that put out 30-50 amps.
Another thing to consider is the length of the cables. It should be long enough to reach your vehicle with enough slack left to reduce damage caused by pulling and tension. Pick a location in your garage that will give you the best access to your EV’s charging port however you position your car in it.
Do You Need A Weatherproof Charger?
Although you’ll most likely have your charger ensconced within your garage (and the likelihood that your garage has a roof), do you still need your charger to be weatherproof?
It’s not always necessary but any additional protection to your investment is always welcome. Most chargers are already weatherproof by default, but that will only last for as long as the warranty holds. Protecting it from the elements and other external factors is the only way to guarantee its longevity.
The Smarter The Charger, The Better!
Take the guesswork out of the equation by getting a smart charging station installed in your garage. Although this is definitely more expensive than conventional chargers, the price difference is going to be worth it based on the convenience it poses. You don’t want to be spending so much time trying to figure out how to charge EV properly or calibrating it to ensure proper charging all the time.
A smart charger can also be hooked up to your mobile phone so you can monitor things in real-time. You can also hook your charging station up to the internet, check the status of your charging, adjust the charging levels, and other stuff to make your life easier. Having that level of control in the palm of your hands is always a good thing.
Here are some charging stations you should consider getting:
EV chargers may look simple on the outside but that’s just how the team behind its engineering and design produced it. This is to ensure consumers won’t be put off by how complicated it really is inside.
EV chargers can take a lot of power and control its output to your EV. You can program your charger’s output based on your needs. You can also assign a price-point should you decide to provide public access to your charging station.
In this manner, you’ll be able to recoup your initial investment within a shorter amount of time.
Using Solar Panels To Further Cut Down On Your Energy Bill
Do you want to cut your carbon footprint further down? That’s the main idea why you bought an EV, right? Maybe you should consider buying solar panels to derive energy from the sun to charge EV.
You see, solar panels and EVs are a match made in heaven for environment-loving people. As an added incentive, solar panels can also be used to power your home.
And now seems like the most logical time to invest in solar panels as their cost is going down and the need for us to be conscientious in our contribution to the environment is the highest priority.
Check these tips out before taking a sizable amount to invest in a serviceable solar panel system for your home.
So How Many Solar Panels Do You Need To Charge Your EV?
Before you start buying solar panels left and right, try to determine just how many you need for now to ensure a full charge each and every time. A good estimate to charge EV is at least 10 solar panels.
You should also know your mileage rating. Charging is based on the number of kWh needed to give you 100 miles.
You can then pass this information on to the solar panel installer to help them determine the number of solar panels you need, the type of inverter to install, and your projected output. You need to get this number down as precisely as possible as solar panels don’t come cheap.
Here are some solar panels you might want to check out for your home, RV, and other practical applications:
Install An Inverter that Can Handle Bigger Loads In The Future
Professional installers often arrange multiple solar panels into strings. These strings feed power into a single inverter that can handle the expected output. Adding more solar panels will not increase the assigned output of the inverter. To do that, you will have to buy a higher capacity inverter.
To future-proof yourself, get a higher capacity inverter for any additional panels you might want to add down the road.
Instead of a string inverter system, you can also install microinverters for each solar panel you own. With this system, you can easily add more panels in the future without worrying about your system’s ability to handle the entire load.
Should you decide to add more panels, your existing inverter will still be able to handle all of the electrical energy coursing through your microinverters. Just make sure you upgrade your main inverter when your electrician tells you to do so for future-proofing.
Install A Secondary Solar Panel System
If you have enough space on your roof, install a secondary system for charging your EV. It’s always good to have a backup should your main power grid fail. On the other hand, it is also good to have two sources of power for your house and EV.
Having two systems helps you have redundancy should one system fail. This is also good for preventive maintenance purposes. This way, you’ll always have power from the sun while one of your solar panel systems is getting repaired or is under maintenance.
Make Room For Expansion
Your energy requirements will change over time. Make sure you factor this into your forecast so you can expand with ease in the future. Solar panels cost a lot of money and buying in bulk is a big investment. You can always put all the money you’ve saved back into your solar power grid system.
Talk to your solar panel supplier or installer on any financing plans they may have to ensure this can happen two or more years down the road. You could also go to your local bank and get a loan.
The great thing about having a solar panel system put up is you can have it written off on your tax returns.
That’s a lot of money saved!
So, are solar power systems worth it?
Paired with your EV, you’re looking at a return of investment three to five years from now.
Always Put Safety First – Get Professional Help
Before we end this article, we’d like to stress the point to always put safety first.
A charging station has built-in safety measures to prevent overcharging or overheating. It also has sensors built-in to disconnect the power when the EV is not charging or is at full capacity.
No doubt about it, consulting a professional electrician is going to be expensive. But then again, so is burning your house down. There are countless instances where amateurs have caused accidents due to crossed wires or installing electrical components that are not up to quality standards.
When in doubt, always seek the services of a professional.
You can definitely save yourself a lot of money when you charge EV at home. Remember: when charging at charging stations, you’re also paying for their infrastructure and other overhead costs. When you charge EV at home, you’re only paying what you’re siphoning off from your own electric connection.
To make charging more efficient, invest in your own charging station. Not only is this going to make your charging sessions quicker, but it will also ensure your safety.
Finally, you may be paying more for electricity when you charge EV at home but it’s nowhere near to the price you’ll be paying if you buy petrol or charge at a public charging station.
Why Not Put A Solar Panel On Top Of Your EV To Keep It Charging On The Go?
A solar panel on top of your car is not a guarantee that you’ll be able to make it run forever. Solar power can continuously absorb energy from the sun but its output to your energy might not match what you expend. Furthermore, the weight and drag of a solar panel on top of your roof might have a negative impact on your motor’s efficiency. Just top up your batteries at home and mind the energy used up.
Are EVs Really The Future Of The Automotive Industry?
It seems likely that EVs will become more popular in the future. Much like when petrol engines eventually replaced steam and carriage-drawn engines, EVs will become more prevalent on the road. It may take some time to get there; but eventually, EVs will be the ones that will most likely see in the future.
Related Article: Are Used Electric Cars Any Good? An Honest Buyer’s Guide
Is It Safe To Just Park My EV For An Extended Period Of Time?
Yes. One of the misconceptions about electric vehicles is that you have to constantly use and charge EV to ensure its dependability. Your EV can handle long periods of inactivity without losing a charge. All you need to ensure is to charge EV up to 50% and you can leave it for a few months without worrying.