Household Electric Car Chargers: What You Need To Know

Make informed decisions for your home by amping up your knowledge on electric car chargers.

As you may already know, Portland is a major market for electric vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for every 1,000 households in Portland, there are 8.8 EVs. That’s more than any other metropolitan area in the nation. So, if you’re looking to jump on the low-emission bandwagon, we’ve got some helpful information about charging your EV at home.

If having an electric car is going to be as convenient as it is eco-friendly, you’re going to need to charge it at home. Most plug-in electric cars come with a Level 1 charger that you can plug into any electrical outlet, which carries an ordinary current of 110 volts.

A Level 1 charger will charge your EV, from empty to full, in 10 to 20 hours depending on your make and model. If you’re like most people who are used to gassing up in 10 minutes, that might sound like a very long time. If so, a Level 2 charger might be more your speed. It can charge your car in four to eight hours, allowing you to have it charged overnight and ready in the morning.

While you may have an outlet in your garage ready for your Level 1 charger, you might be weary of the wiring. In that case, you’ll want to have an electrician look things over. They will need to make sure the outlet you’ve selected is on a dedicated circuit, serving no other outlets or switches. The electrician should also make sure the electrical panel will have enough capacity to deal with charging your car.

Many electric car drivers want the speed of a Level 2 charger, which will need to be professionally installed. Basic Level 2 chargers have standard safety features and status lights, while improved, “smart” chargers have features like advanced displays, timers, and the ability to communicate with smart phones and meters. You’ll need to have an electrical contractor choose a spot in your garage where the charging cord won’t get in the way. They will assess the location and size of your electrical panel and existing circuits, and make any upgrades that may be necessary to account for the additional load. One of our electricians who specialize in car charger installations can also tell you about the associated tax credits and rebates.

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