The Basics of Home EV Charging Stations

The Basics of Home EV Charging Stations

  • Zita Billmann
  • 05/17/24

For more than a century, the gasoline powered automobile shaped our world- and continues to be a popular choice for personal transportation. However, electric vehicles, or EVs, have become an increasingly attractive alternative across America. With more and more households adopting these vehicles, you might be considering the switch to an electric vehicle. EVs are now available in a stunning array of sizes and body styles, from family crossover SUVs, to smaller sedans and hatchbacks for city commutes, and even sporty models for driving enthusiasts. While all of these vehicles might mean you can avoid the gas station, you’ll still need a steady supply of power to keep them charged and ready to go. Easy access to charging is crucial to making living with an EV a convenient experience that anyone can enjoy.

Depending on the EV your purchase, you will have a few options for charging. There are several charging networks across the country, which offer varying experiences for charging while on the go. With the improvements to battery technology over the past few years, EVs offer better range than ever before. Combined with these rapidly expanding charging networks, the concerns for usable range- even when taking a long distance trip- have been alleviated in many parts of the country. Electric vehicles also come with unique software that works in conjunction with their GPS system, to help provide route planning that accounts for necessary charging, based on the available chargers between the start and end of your journey.

Relying on these charging networks, however, is little different than having to rely on the existing network of gas stations in an internal combustion car. The defining difference for EVs is home charging, which allows you to keep your vehicle “topped off” at all times, charging while parked overnight, meaning that your car is always full and ready for your next automotive adventure. Typically located inside a garage, home charging allows the driver to avoid long waits for on-the-go charging or going out of their way to find a station. For drivers with a short, scheduled commute, this could mean never having to stop to “fill up” again!


Basics of Home Charging

Electric vehicles are complex electronic devices, and as such, require more than a simple wall charger like other appliances. EV charging stations must be hard-wired into your home’s electrical system, as they take advantage of high voltage power output to charge rapidly. Depending on the make and model of EV, they even use different charging cables (think of the differences between an Apple phone charger and an Android device). For that reason, you’ll want to decide on which vehicle you’re purchasing before beginning your search for a home charging setup.

Some things to consider:

  • Because EV chargers are incorporated into your home’s wiring, you’ll want to hire a licensed electrician you trust, or hire a company that specializes in installing these systems.
  • Not all homes might be ready for this installation. Older homes may need an upgrade to their wiring or panel to safely operate the additional load of EV charging.
  • Maintain flexibility when choosing the location of your charger. If you have a two-car garage, make sure you have a cable that can reach anywhere in the garage- you won’t want to pull in differently and not be able to reach the charger!
  • While chargers could be installed outside, EVs operate better in warmer weather- including, when stored inside of a heated garage. Not only will this mean that your vehicle is warmer when you get in on a cold winter day, but you’ll also be charging it more efficiently.
  • Solar panels are a great complimentary upgrade to EV charging, allowing you to generate some power of your own, and can help save on your electricity bill.
  • Depending on your utility provider, you may have different electric rates depending on the time of day. Many chargers include software and phone applications which can help you charge your vehicle more cost effectively, using this information.

New technology can be both exciting and also a bit intimidating at first, but as it is normalized, we gain a better understanding of the technology and find it easier to accept into our everyday routines. Electric vehicles are becoming an important part of our automotive future, and for the right people, they could be a great investment for greater efficiency and lower operating costs. If you’re ready to take the leap into this new technology, or perhaps you just want to know a little more, this article can help you better understand some of the more technical aspects of EV charging.

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