Electric Vehicle Home Charging Stations

How it Works

The Electric Vehicle (EV) is revolutionizing the way we fuel our cars. Most electric car owners have a level 1 or level 2 “charging station” in their home. While the actual AC to DC converter unit is mounted in the car, most people call the home device that supplies electricity the charging station. The industry term for this unit is Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE).   

A Level 1 charging station uses your home’s standard electric outlets. A set of cords is supplied with the car for simple charging. The Level 2 system uses EVSE and is usually installed in the garage where the car will be parked during charging. The EVSE chargepoint should be located where it is protected from physical damage and where the supplied cords can easily reach the vehicle.

Level 1 charging uses low amperage compared to a level 2 charging station. The higher the amperage on your charging station, the faster your car battery will charge. Consider the amount of driving you’re likely to do on a given day; for a daily commute of 30 or 40 miles, a level 1 charging station may be sufficient. Specifically, a level 1 - 120 Vac - 15 amp charging station charges about 2-5 miles per hour. A level 2 - 240 Vac - 40 amp station charges about 10-20 miles per hour.

Costs and Environmental Impact

Just how much can you save with an electric car? According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s vehicle comparison, an electric vehicle using 30 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles will save about $9,250 in fuel costs over five years compared to the average new vehicle. An electric vehicle also saves approximately 8,000 pounds of CO2 annually. The cost of installing a Level 2 system can be upwards of $2,000 and it depends on the model and installation requirements. If your electrical service needs to be upgraded to handle the additional load, there will be substantial additional costs.  

Some utility providers have off-peak or time-of-use rates. A simple two-tier rate may consist of a peak period from noon-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with all other times considered non-peak.  Electricity priced during the non-peak hours is lower than during the peak times.  Other utilities may have even lower rates for overnight usage. If available, off-peak charging rates will reduce vehicle operating costs even more.  

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