Check any Electric Vehicle (EV) review, and you’ll find one recurring topic. After talking about performance, the luxurious features, and the design, it all comes down to charging and mileage for as little money as possible, so inexpensive EV chargers are a must.
Charging is one of the most important factors for EVs. But not everyone is familiar with the options. There are different levels of charging. If you want to get the most efficient charging while saving some money, inexpensive Level 2 EV chargers are your best bet.
What Are Level 2 EV Chargers?
EVs are becoming super popular. Just take a look at the data. 2021 was a record-breaking year for EVs in general. Sales have nearly doubled. And all those EVs on the road mean a serious need for reliable and accessible charging.
That’s where EV chargers come in. One of the most convenient and frictionless ways of charging your EV is just installing a charger at home. There are actually a couple of ways you can charge your brand-new EV.
That’s why understanding what they are will help you decide which one to go with. EV charging is divided into levels. There are three main levels (types) of charing. You can either go with Level 1, which is slow charging.
Or you can go with Level 2 or Level 3, which are fast and rapid charging, respectively. Out of three variants, Level 2 chargers are the preferred and most flexible for home charging.
Level 2 EV charger gives you a good middle ground. They aren’t just limited to home use only. You can also use them for office use. Let’s focus on home electric car charger installation though.
The chargers are made with different connections. And it’s used for AC and DC charging as well as different power consumption.
To truly understand this, you’ll need to understand the specific terms. Once you know the terms, you’ll have a pretty solid understanding.
What is AC?
AC stands for alternating current. This type of current is used for top-up charging. And there are two types of vehicle-side connections.
The first type is a single-phase plug. It can charge an EV at up to 7.4 kW. The rate depends on the battery and also its charging capability. Single-phase plugs are mostly found in North America and Asia.
Then there are triple-phase plugs. The extra wire gives more bandwidth so electricity can essentially flow much faster. Naturally, this means that the charging is faster too. However, since it’s a new charging technology, you won’t find it in older EVs.
What is DC?
DC stands for direct current. DC connections are used for rapid charging. This type of current will charge your EV fast! There are three types of DC vehicle-side connections and you’ll mostly find them in commercial areas.
CCS connectors are a modified version of Level 2 chargers with additional power connectors. These connections make rapid charging possible up to 350 kW. CSS can actually accept AC and DC power.
This kind of charging is charged bidirectionally at a very fast rate. Most Asian EV manufacturers offer cars with CHAdeMO compatibility.
We can’t have a conversation about EV chargers and not talk about Tesla’s supercharger network. Tesla Superchargers are proprietary technology. Meaning they only work with Tesla vehicles.
Keep in mind though, that fast DC charging isn’t available for all models. So, you’ll need to do research and see which EVs are compatible.
That’s why knowing about EV charging and your home EV charger options make it easier to make a more informed purchase decision.
Why Are Level 2 EV Chargers Better for Home Use?
EVs will usually come with some kind of portable charger. They’re mostly standard 120V Level 1 chargers. These chargers give you about 3 – 5 miles per hour of charge.
Level 2 chargers are more efficient. They’ll give you about 12 to 60 miles. That’s a huge jump. They charge much faster making them more efficient than Level 1 chargers. What about damage?
With a Level 1 charger, you can cut down charging by a lot. A typical Level 1 charger might take anywhere between 12 to 20 hours to fully charge an EV.
Whereas, a Level 2 charger takes only 6 to 14 hours to fully charge. Of course, these numbers depend on the battery of your car and its charging capacity. But, Level 2 chargers are generally much faster.
If you’re worried about damaging your EV with a Level 2 charger, then you don’t have to. That’s because all EVs come with a built-in safety mechanism. They’ll only accept levels of charge that are safe.
So, even if you plug in a charger that can give way more juice, your EV won’t accept it. You can even buy portable Level 2 chargers. These are, of course, a little less powerful. But, they get the job done.
They can charge an EV with a rate of 12 to 18 miles per hour. So, when it comes to inexpensive EV chargers, these can be a perfect choice. Mostly, you should avoid Level 1 charging since they’re just so slow.
How Much Does it Cost to Install a Home Charging Station?
When people first start exploring the exciting and futuristic world of EVs, the cost conversation is bound to pop up. That’s why we had to put a section about the costs of installing an EV charger.
With a home EV charger, the average cost of installing a Level 2 one is about $1,300 in 2022.
Figuring out the costs can sound daunting. And the initial costs themselves might even seem pretty high.
But given the benefits, they are worth it. Especially with some high-quality inexpensive charges that are available on the market. There are a couple of things that go into the costs of installing a home EV charger.
Adding an EV charger to your AirBNB or other type of rental property can be a great amenity for your guests, and is definitely worth the investment.
Type of Chargers
The first contributor to the cost is the type of charger you pick. The costs can be anywhere from $300 to $1,000. But don’t worry. You don’t have to spend close to a grand for a good inexpensive charger.
A quality budget Level 2 EV charger can get the job done. The cost will depend on the type of features the charger has. The more fancy features you want, the more you need to pay.
And you can decide exactly what features you want so that you don’t end up paying for something you don’t need. You can choose ones that have WIFI, data tracking, cable length, and more.
Electrician Permits and Costs
A licensed electrician is a must. That can cost about $300 to $1,000. In some cases, you might need to get a permit to install your charger. Your electrician can tell you if you need a permit or not.
Some states give rebates for installing a home charger. These incentives can actually bring the costs down.
Plug-in vs Hardwired
Whether you choose a plug-in or a hardwired charge will depend on your situation. If you already have a 240V outlet near your car, a plug-in system will work great. A hardwired unit might be cheaper to install.
But it might not reduce the overall costs. Some hardwired home chargers can cost more than $700. A plug-in option makes it easier to upgrade your charger later down the line as well.
All these can contribute to the cost of installing a home charger for your EV. Here’s a breakdown:
|Charging Station||$300 – $1,000|
|Electrician Labor Cost||$300 – $1,000|
|Permit||$100 – $250|
|Materials||$200 – $800|
Are Home EV Chargers Worth It?
You might think that the cost of a good electric car charger installation can skyrocket quite fast. Well, that might be the case if you’re only looking at the high end. But as we mentioned, there are perfectly fine budget options.
Moreover, there are actually tons of benefits you get with even relatively inexpensive EV chargers.
The sheer convenience of having an EV charger right at home is quite undeniable. Every morning, you can rely on your EV to be fully charged. Say goodbye to waiting for hours at public charging stations.
Public chargers are privately owned. Which means that they’re usually pay-per-use. Over the long run, using only public charging stations could cost a lot more compared to home EV chargers.
Avoid Long Lines
You might need to wait in line to charge your EV. Waiting in line every time you want to top up can be very annoying and also a time killer as well. There are no such worries for a home charger.
Plus not to mention a public charger might be out of service. They might require maintenance. You can’t always rely on them to work flawlessly. Using a home charger solution gets rid of all these uncertainties.
Home Charging Could Extend Battery Life
Heat is the number one killer of batteries. And the faster you charge your EV battery, the more heat it’ll produce. Most public chargers are Level 3 which gives you rapid charging.
While they charge your car very fast, they can also produce a lot of heat. Exclusively charging your EV this fast might cause long-term problems. That being said, using public chargers from time to time is completely fine though.
They’ll give you a lot of juice in a short amount of time. But you should avoid using them all the time.
Factors to Consider When Buying Level 2 EV Chargers for Home
The good thing about home chargers is there are lots of solid options to choose from. But to make the best decisions, you need to keep a couple of things in mind.
Knowing what features to look for will help you pick the right one for you. So, let’s check out the important features you need to look for when choosing the right Level 2 EV charger.
The first thing to keep in mind is compatibility. And that can depend on the connector. Most chargers use the J1772 connector. This is the standard for home Level 2 chargers. There are two main plugs for fast home charging.
Manufacturers like Nissan and Mitsubishi use CHAdeMO while other notable brands like BMW, Volkswagen, and GM use the CCS plug. Tesla, on the other hand, is a bit different. They use a proprietary connector.
But that won’t be an issue, since all Teslas usually come with an adaptor. Make sure you look into the connector type to ensure compatibility.
Hardwired vs Plug-in
The next major consideration is hardwired vs plug-in chargers. Plug-in chargers are much more flexible. And they’re easier to upgrade in the future as well. Plug-in chargers can be relocated given you have the right power outlet.
For most EV owners, a plug-in charger can be the best choice. Hardwired chargers are fixed and installed by a professional electrician.
An effective home EV charger should be able to deliver at least 7.7 kW of power. But it’s recommended to go for at least 9.6 kW of power delivery.
That’s because a lot of EVs have built-in safety features that stop them from accepting dangerous amounts of power anyway.
Some owners install chargers that are rated for more than their current vehicle can accept. This can future-proof you in a way. You don’t need to upgrade your charger as well when you buy a new EV down the line.
Safety and Warranty
With home EV chargers, never try to save a buck or two and buy a sketchy model. Always look for safety certifications with at least a 3-year warranty.
Reputable brands make inexpensive EV chargers that are rated for the right safety certifications. Check for certifications from entities like ETL and UL. Plus, having a couple of years of warranty will just put you at ease.
If something were to go wrong, you don’t need to spend tons of money to buy a whole new charger and go through the process all over again. Your warranty will cover it.
Nothing is quite as annoying as going through all the hassle of installing an EV charger at home and finding out the cable is too short. You might need to park your car in a weird way or way too close to the charger.
It’s just tedious and an annoyance. Choose an EV charger that has at least a 12 ft cable.
The ideal cable length is one that’ll reach your car no matter how you park it. Then you don’t always have to be mindful of how you park your car. A Cable length of 20 – 25 ft is great.
There are smart EV chargers that can connect to WIFI. This is more of a nice feature to have and can make your life easier. It can give you tracking data and also charge efficiently depending on load and time.
Can You Install Home EV Charger If You’re Renting?
What about an EV charger for rental properties? Well, it’ll depend from property to property and area. Usually, there shouldn’t be any problem as long as you ask permission from your landlord.
As for legal requirements, check whether or not you need a permit or not with your local authorities. Your electrician can also tell you whether or not you need a permit. But it’s always best to contact your local authorities yourself for first-hand information.
In some cases, you can have your landlord install a charger as well. This will depend on a couple of factors. How many EVs are already on your property. And whether there is a clear benefit or not.
You should be prepared to have this conversation with your landlord. And being prepared will always help you. Know all your rental facts and make it easier for your landlord if they do agree to install an EV charger.
How to Install a Home EV Charger?
Installing an EV charger at home isn’t as tricky or tedious as some might expect. Two major things you’ll need to keep in mind are to hire a skilled electrician and get a permit if you need one.
Before installing your charger, check to see whether you’re eligible for any rebates. Rebates can help bring the costs down. Here’s an easy guide you can follow to have your EV charger installed in your home.
Step 1: Ensure Eligibility
To make things less of a legal headache for you later, contact your local authorities. Ask them whether you’re eligible to install a home EV charger. They’ll also be able to tell you whether or not you need a permit.
Step 2: Check Electrical Capability
You’ll need enough electricity flow to provide enough juice to your EV charger. In the case your house’s electric infrastructure isn’t sufficient, you If you can simply just upgrade.
Step 3: Purchase a Charger
This bit’s easy. Buy a reliable Level 2 charger. When buying one, keep our buying guide in mind. That’ll help you buy the right model.
Step 4: Hire a Qualified Electrician
Your electrician will do most of the heavy lifting for you. So, make sure you hire a qualified electrician for the job.
Step 5: Install the Charger
Simply have your electrician install the charger for you. Plus, If you have any specific questions, then your electrician will be happy to help. Voila! You now have a home EV charging station.
After reading this guide, you should have a pretty solid idea about everything there’s to know on Level 2 chargers.
Inexpensive EV chargers can make your EV ownership a lot more convenient and enjoyable. You don’t need to wait in line or pay high fees for public chargers. Not to mention the cost savings in the long term.