The Basics of EV Charger Installation

Another Sign Of The Times

Yet another sign of life in the 21st century of the greater metro area of Austin, Texas is the change of the colloquial expression 'fill 'er up' to 'plug 'er in.' Yes, there have been increased sightings of EVs, electric vehicles, 'tied' to the approximately 2,139 public level 2 and direct current fast charging stations, with 5100 ports. Yes, add another wave to the tsunami of changes of 21st century home living, as described in our blog post, Smart Homes And Automation In The 21st Century. There is approximately one charging port for every 15 EVs. The bulk of charging stations are within major cities. However, the accessibility of charging stations should increase as electric vehicle manufacturing increases, bringing a natural decrease in market price.

Home EV Chargers

With the advent of electric or hybrid electric automobiles, our good neighbors of Austin, Texas will need to consider the inevitable necessity of installing an EV charger for home. Such EV chargers come in three basic types:

  • Level 1: The level 1 charger is also referred to as the 120-volt charger that comes with the car you purchase. It is a charging cord that plugs into any conventional GFCI wall socket. It is the slowest type of charger and is only feasible for use with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with smaller battery packs
  • Level 2: The level 2 electric charger, referred to as the 240-volt charger, operates at least twice as fast as the level 1 EV charger. Any battery-electric cars require level 2 home charging stations for overnight re-charges. The level 2 EV charger will charge up an electric vehicle faster than the level 1 charger. The chargers are energy efficient and safe.
  • DC Fast Charging: Logically, one might think DC fast chargers would be called level 3, but these chargers that use DC, direct current, rather than the standard AC, alternating current, are incredibly high-powered chargers only installed for public charging stations.

The Process of EV Charger Installations

Safety: EV charger installation necessitates a call to an ATX electrical licensed electrician with knowledge of the electrical system of a home, business, or multi-unit condo or apartment complex. Before the EV charging installation process begins, an application must be filed, along with the permit fee, to the city or municipality. The electrical contractor must include the load calculation of the home electrical system with the added EV charger. There is the risk of electric shock or fire if an EV is plugged into an overloaded electrical circuit, or a circuit has old wiring.

Choosing Charging Equipment: The EV charging unit should be compatible with the onboard charger. It is best to match the amps of the charger unit to the EVSE, Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, with the vehicle. There are two types of EVSE: smart EVSE, which can be networked to communicate with other internet-enabled devices such as vehicle, and smartphones to monitor energy consumption, charging rate, and scheduling a charge. Smart EVSEs are more costly than basic chargers that only communicate with the vehicle when charging. Ensure that the cord length of the charger can reach the car. The maximum length is 25 feet. Do not use extension cords to charge an EV. The charging equipment should be UL certified (Underwriter Laboratories) or certified safe from an independent laboratory. Consider also getting a portable EVSE for charging the vehicle when away from home. Level 2 EVSEs can have multiple connectors to serve multiple parking spaces with the same EVSE.

Contact ATX Electrical for a free consultation of your home or business’s electrical system. ATX Electrical provides a lifetime warranty with any electrical panel replacement or upgrade.

Schedule your free in-home consultation