I remember watching some sort of futuristic television show back in the mid-90’s where they were talking about flying cars being the norm around the year 2000…and although we’re not QUITE there yet, electric vehicles are definitely becoming quite the norm these days. And with an electric vehicle, comes the EV charging station.
In this article we’ll explain the various levels of charging stations available to you currently, how and where they can be installed, and some general safety tips to ensure safe and efficient charging for years to come.
An obvious massive benefit of owning an electric vehicle is you’ll no longer be stopping at the gas pump! Combining consumer’s natural inclination to want to save money, with the reality that recent generations are increasingly more energy conscious and looking to be as “green” as possible, electric vehicles are a no-brainer and have become wildly popular. This is only going to continue to increase as more companies are developing longer lasting electric vehicles and EV charging stations that charge faster than we once thought possible.
Commercial EV Charging Stations
Do you have commercial EV charging stations setup at your business yet? If not, you could be losing out on a significant increase in loyal customers!
EV charging stations for businesses are a huge differentiator that will set you apart from your competitors! You’ll immediately gain the business of an often more affluent customer base as they’ll now have a convenient place to charge their vehicles while doing business with you. Plus, people are more inclined to choose companies that are making a positive impact on the environment. thus driving more people to want to choose your place of business!
EV Home Charger
That said, having to stop at a charging station on the way home from work often becomes quickly inconvenient, so many electric car owners are installing residential EV charge stations in their home garages, driveways and even transforming their unused gated RV parking area into their a home EV charging station and parking spot.
Or better yet, if you REALLY want to be as “green” as possible, then installing a solar carport above your EV charging station will not only protect your vehicle and charging station, but you’ll also be charging your vehicle with FREE electricity generated by your solar panel powered EV charging station soaking in power from the sun!
Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installation
When it comes to installing a charge station, one of the biggest challenges that often arises is that there isn’t a proper outlet installed in the location that is convenient to park and charge your vehicle at.
Also, it’s possible that you might find undersized or deteriorating wiring that may need to be replaced before a safe EV charge station installation can be performed.
If you don’t have a sufficient outlet where you’d like to park already, DO NOT run an extension cord! That can be extremely unsafe and a big fire hazard due to undersized wiring in the cord. Plus, it’s a tripping hazard.
We strongly suggest that your first step is having an experienced electrician perform an inspection of any previous outlets or circuits that you may be thinking of using, or having them install a new electrical circuit from your main electrical panel to your EV charging station which may be conveniently installed near your vehicle.
EV Charging Levels Explained
Level 1: This is what comes standard with most electric cars. Although convenient because the charger uses a standard outlet, it charges the electric car painstakingly slow taking nearly an entire day to fully charge.
Level 2: Charge time is reduced to nearly 3 hours for a full charge – much better already! More electric car manufacturers are starting to offer level 2 charges as an option. The challenge with a level 2 charger is that they require a 240-volt circuit which most people do not have pre-installed, and which should only be installed by an experienced licensed electrician.
Level 3 – also called DC Fast Charging (DCFC): Think “Tesla Supercharging”. A level 3 charger is incredibly fast, adding 150 miles to your driving range in only about 20 minutes! Often found only in commercial applications because of the massive power requirements that most home electric panels can’t provide.
Level 4 – also called DC Ultra Fast Chargers: As with most technologies, quality improves as demand increases. These are newer and not found very often yet as a single unit can run between $50-100k installed. However, they’ve been made “future proofed” to be easily upgraded when available, thus making these a reasonable investment since the other 3 levels would need to be replaced in order to be upgraded.
Hiring an EV Charging Station Contractor
Many electric car owners who’s cars came with a Level 1 charger, are upgrading their charging stations to a 240-volt Level 2 option to greatly reduce charging times.
Because an experienced electrician is strongly recommended to perform this upgrade, it would be wise to choose an electrician that can perform all of the various steps necessary for your EV charging station to function safely and correctly.
Here are a few things to look for in a qualified electrician for your Level 2 installation:
- Offers electrical charger installation as a standard service (meaning this isn’t their first rodeo!)
- They will complete a thorough site inspection prior to design and quote
- Inspect electrical system to ensure existing electric panel can handle the new load, and upgrade main electrical panel if necessary
- make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured
- Electrical code requirement are followed and proper city permits pulled
- After install is complete, sufficient testing of equipment to ensure proper functionality and safety before job is deemed “complete”
Watt Masters is a licensed EV charging station contractor having successfully installed several residential and commercial EV charging stations, and we can ensure a safe and successful install for you, too!