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.
If your vehicle is capable of charging at 110 volts, you will be able to plug your vehicle into any standard outlet for charging while away from home (assuming you can get permission to plug your vehicle from the outlet owner).
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have gasoline engines, so you can always buy gasoline as you ordinarily do to extend the range of your vehicle.
With battery electric vehicles, to avoid inconveniences you will want to fully charge your vehicle before you leave home, especially if the round trip you are taking is close to the range of the vehicle. If the trip is longer than the range of the vehicle you will need to plan where you will be able to recharge your vehicle.
Total cost varies depending on current electrical design, local code requirements, the rate and charging options you choose and other factors. Potential costs include the following:
- Charging equipment installation: This cost can be provided by your licensed electrical contractor. Typical costs for installing a Level 2 charger range from $400 to $1,200 excluding charger cost.
- Second electrical meter installation: You can install a separate residential meter solely to charge your electric vehicle, even if you live in an apartment complex. You’ll need to hire a licensed electrician to do the necessary wiring, and to install a new meter pan and panel. But if you do, you can separately meter your electric vehicle using a time-of-use rate, which can reduce off-peak charging cost.
- Electrical panel upgrade: This applies to customers who choose the faster charging Level 2 option, which utilizes 208-240 volts. This adds significant load to your electrical panel, resulting in an electrical panel upgrade. The upgrade cost can be provided by a licensed electrical contractor.
- Utility service upgrade: Your home may require utility electrical system upgrades in order to charge the vehicle and/or accommodate a second meter. This cost can be determined by O&R after an on-site assessment.