Charging and Installation FAQs
Level 2 charging stations are four times faster than Level 1 and can provide about 25 miles per hour of charge. Level 2 stations require a professionally installed 240-volt outlet on a dedicated circuit, in contrast to a Level 1 charger which uses a standard 120-volt outlet. If you’d like one installed in your home, contact a licensed electrician to get an estimate and to determine if a permit is required.
Level 2 might be the right choice if you drive a battery EV such as a Tesla Model 3, as these cars have larger batteries that require longer charging times. Drivers with longer commutes or who want a faster charge or a longer electric driving range should also consider choosing a Level 2 charging station.
If an electrician determines your electrical panel does not have the capacity for a Level 2 charging station and you are unable to upgrade your panel at the time, you can request to have a 120-volt grounded wall outlet installed at an accessible location for Level 1 charging.
On average, the cost of a Level 2 charging station ranges from $500 - $700. A charger may cost more or less depending on key features such as portability, amperage, and WiFi capability.
- Choosing Amps: To determine how much power will flow to your car, multiply the Volts by the Amps and divide by 1,000 (Amps x Volts/1,000). For example, a 240-V Level 2 charging station with a 30-amp rating will supply 7.2 kWs (30 x 240 /1,000). After one hour of charging, your EV will add 7.2kW X 1 hr = 7.2 kWh of energy to your vehicle.
To calculate how long it will take to charge the entire capacity of the battery, refer to the manufacturer documents to determine the battery capacity of your EV.
Example based on an all-electric model:
- EV battery capacity – 42kWh
- EV charger energy delivery – 7.2kW
- Total hours to charge = EV battery capacity / EV charger energy delivery = hours
- 42kWh / 7.2kW = 5.83 hours
- Decide if you want a hard-wired and permanently-mounted charger, or a portable unit that simply plugs into a 240-volt outlet and will hang on the wall. Portable chargers allow you to take the charger with you if you move.
- Cord length: Determine where your charger will be located. Note that the further the charger is from your home's utility panel, the more costly the installation. Measure the distance from where your car will be parked to your charger location to determine the required cable length. Cables range from 12 to 25 feet.
- Smart connectivity: Smart chargers connect to your WiFi and allow you to program charging from your phone and monitor your charging habits. However, most EV drivers now have the ability to control charging through their car's own app.
Work with your electrical contractor to evaluate your home's wiring, electrical outlets and other hardware that can support the charging requirements of your new electric vehicle.
Your dealer may offer a home assessment as part of the electric vehicle purchase price. Some automakers offer a consultation with an electrical contractor as part of the electric vehicle purchase.
- Lower Operational Costs: The estimated cost of electricity needed to power a plug-in electric vehicle is about one-third of the cost of gasoline.
- Lower Maintenance Costs: The electrical components of plug-in electric vehicles require little to no regular maintenance due to far less moving parts. In hybrids, this leads to less wear and tear of gasoline components.
- Rebates & Tax Credits: Many government agencies and local and regional entities offer rebates and tax credits, up to $7,500, to encourage the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles.
There are certain behaviors that can impact an EV’s battery health and may cause it to lose its range or degrade faster. Here are few examples along with tips on how to pro-long your EV’s battery health:
- Overcharging: Don’t overcharge or fully deplete your EVs charge. EVs are installed with battery management systems that help them avoid being charged or discharged at extreme states. Ideally, you want to keep your charge between 20-80% and only charge it fully for long distance trips.
- Temperature: EV batteries have a built-in temperature control system, but you should try to minimize exposure to extreme heat while your car is parked. Try to find a shaded spot or garage to park on hot days.
- Fast charging: Limit use of fast chargers. It’s best to avoid solely relying on fast chargers to keep your EV charged, as they press a lot of electric current into the battery in a short period of time, which stresses your EV battery and degrades them faster in the long-run. Try to use a Level 2 or Level 1 charger whenever you can for a slower charge.
EV battery issues are luckily rare. EV batteries are designed with various modules which make them safer and easier to switch out if an issue does occur. If a failure occurs under the warranty and the warranty has not been voided, then the automaker is responsible for fixing or replacing the battery. In California, EV batteries (plus related powertrain or drive systems like the electric motor) must be warranted for 10 years/150k miles, whichever comes first. Be sure to check your vehicle’s owners manual for specific warranty coverage.
If a vehicle is older than 10 years or the vehicle is involved in an accident, the owner (or insurance) would need to pay for a battery replacement. Battery costs depend on the automaker and battery size but can be a costly fix – they are the most important part of the EV. The biggest factor of battery price is the cost per kWh. The range for this cost is between $100 to $300 per kWh, depending on the manufacturer.