How To Choose The Right Home EV Charging Station

By Andy Cybersaud

More than 80% of electric car charging is done at homeThis is usually where most of the dwell time occurs along with easy overnight charging when most vehicles are idle. While overnight charging provides a large window of time for recharging, this may not be enough time to deliver a full battery charge, as electric vehicle owners should strongly consider a Level 2 EV charging station as the optimal recharging option.

What is Level 2 Charging and why is it important?

Most new electric vehicle models come with a Level 1 charger that can be plugged into any standard 120-volt wall socket. This option adds 2 to 5 miles of range per hour on average and is the slowest charging option. Level 2 charging stations Use a 208 or 240 volt connection. This higher voltage allows more power to be delivered directly from the electrical panel which can add an average of 15-30 miles (depending on car model) of additional range per hour. This provides an advantage for drivers who want to recharge their electric vehicles in shorter periods of time, which saves on average more than 15 hours of standby time compared to a Level 1 EV charging station to achieve a full battery.

Internal or external?

Consumers should also consider whether they plan to place their charger indoors or outdoors. If they choose an outdoor setting, they’ll want to make sure the charger is weatherproof and can operate at temperatures appropriate for their climate, as some chargers may not work effectively under extreme temperatures or cold. Some chargers available in the North American market are able to withstand temperatures ranging from -40°F to 122°F. When placing the charger outdoors, electric vehicle drivers should also consider whether the charging cable will remain flexible during extreme temperatures, allowing them to extend into their vehicle without breaks or breakdowns.

There is an app for that: electric vehicle chargers are controlled on your smart device. Image courtesy of FLO.

The role of smart features

Smart features allow the user to stay connected to their charger through their mobile or desktop devices. These features will normally enable the user to view their activity, usage history, and charging session status from the user portal. Smart chargers also enable feature scheduling, which helps take advantage of off-peak power-saving programs for your local facilities, as well as receive new software and firmware updates to ensure compatibility with new EV models.

A non-smart charger or a “dummy” Level 2 charger does not offer any of the above features, although it will still be able to provide faster charging compared to its Level 1 counterparts. Users will likely be blocked from new software and firmware updates that may prevent Compatibility with new EV models, which may force some to re-invest in a new charger in the future.

Read more about EV charging

durability

A charger case designed with more durable materials can have better resistance to potential impacts, and resist wear over time, helping to prevent charging interruption or breakage. Some use plastic, glass, or aluminum. Especially when looking at outdoor installations, electric vehicle drivers should look for chargers that are resistant to water, heat, ice, and corrosion.

Connector quality is also an important consideration, as it must withstand heavy electrical transmissions that can corrode over time and affect the quality of charging and connection to the vehicle. High quality connectors are designed to last more than 10 years and/or 10,000 charge cycles.

cost

Electric vehicle charging stations are a long-term asset, and electric vehicle drivers should keep this in mind when shopping for their station. Besides the purchase cost, consideration of installation costs, discount eligibility, and maintenance over the years is vital. Depending on the design and construction of the charger, as well as the required amperage, will determine the cost to the electrical contractor for the installation.

Depending on the space available in a home’s electrical panel, upgrades may be required that can significantly increase installation costs. Since most electric vehicle drivers can fully recharge their vehicle in 6-8 hours with a 30 amp charger, they may not need a higher output – to install a 30 amp charger, a dedicated 40 amp breaker is recommended. Finally, drivers should think about where to place the charger, and the distance to the electrical panel: the further away from the panel, the higher the installation costs.

This article is supported by FLO.

Resources:

https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/spotlight-energy-efficiency/2021/04/16/electric-vehicle-chargers-the-basics/23564?_ga=2.16067651.1979807129.1636722464-2002410629.1636722464

https://electricvehicles.bchydro.com/incentives/ev-chargers-eleful-for-rebates?manufacturer=32&product-name-model-number=#single-family-homes

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