There’s No Place Like Home: Design News EV Home Charger Roundup
While it is crucial to the convenience of electric vehicles that we build a comprehensive network of public DC fast chargers capable of recharging our electric car batteries on the road, the Department of Energy estimates that 80% of electric vehicle charging is done at home.
This is because it is not only more convenient, but essential to the energy savings promised by electric vehicles. Residential electricity rates vary by location, but average 13 cents per kWh, according to the DOE. This equates to a cost of $4.29 to add 33 kWh to a car battery, for example. By comparison, electricity from the Electrify America charging network costs $0.43/kWh for non-members and $0.31/kWh for members using the company’s DC fast chargers for station-style charging. on-the-go service. So that same 33 kWh costs $14.19 for non-members and $10.23 for members.
Worth it, if your car needs a boost. But for daily charging, the price difference adds up, not to mention the time spent on DC fast chargers. Additionally, automakers advise against using fast charging in the usual way, as regularly kicking electrons into the battery will shorten its life compared to the slower rate of a Level 2 home charger.
This makes purchasing a 240-volt Level 2 home charger a necessary step, as using the included 120-volt emergency outlet to charge modern electric vehicles with large batteries literally takes days. When considering buying a home charging station, the factors to consider are the power service available at your circuit breaker box and the level of power the charging station can provide to the car as a result. Most Level 2 chargers can be configured to plug into common NEMA 6-20, 6-50, or 14-50 240-volt outlets, which are typically used to connect electric clothes dryers or power vehicles. Hobbies. If an outlet like this is located near parking lots, you’re in business.
If not, it’s a matter of having an electrician run a circuit from your home’s circuit breaker to the garage or driveway. Then they can either wire the charging station to the circuit or install one of the aforementioned plugs into the circuit for the charging station to plug into. This is the route I took, leaving me the option of hooking up a 240 volt heater or air compressor to work in the garage.
Level 2 home chargers provide 80% of the available power to the car, so if you connect to an existing 40 amp circuit for your dryer, your charger will supply the car with 32 amps (7.7 kW). A 50 amp circuit can supply a maximum of 40 amps (9.6 kW). If you need to add a circuit to your breaker box, as I did, it makes sense to specify a 60 amp circuit so you can choose a charging station that will deliver 48 amps (11.5 kW) to the car for the fastest possible charge.
The Tesla Model S and upcoming Ford F-150 Lightning have built-in charging gear that can take 80 amps of power from a 240-volt Level 2 home charger, so if you have or will have one of these cars, then you’ll need a hard-wired 100-amp circuit installed in your home to power the Tesla charger or the 80-amp Charge Station Pro that Ford will provide with Lightnings equipped with the optional long-range battery.
The rest of us have a variety of home charging stations to consider, so we’ve rounded up our favorites for you to consider. Look at the price and power of each, as well as the type of connection it needs for your home to decide which is best for you.