Home EV Charger In Your Future? Read This First!

Home EV Charger Considerations

If you’ve recently purchased an electric vehicle, or you’re considering taking the EV plunge, an important decision will be whether or not to buy a home EV charger. And if home charging is the right choice for you, which one should you buy?

Some EV owners choose not to invest in a home charger at all. These customers generally have reliable access to a charger at work or at some other local charging point. For these lucky folks, it might make sense to skip or delay the investment in a home EV charger.

For the majority of EV owners, though, having a charger at home is the way to go. A home EV charger allows you to recharge when you’re done using the vehicle for the day. Power up overnight and you’ll be ready to hit the road again the next morning. Also, home charging generally cost only about one-third as much as charging at a public DC fast-charging station. Over time those savings can add up, while you’ve enjoyed the convenience of charging while you sleep.

Incentives

In addition to incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle, there are incentives available in Massachusetts for installing a charger.  Rebates of up to $700 for single-family homes are offered through the Massachusetts Residential EV Home Charging Upgrade Rebate Program. Additionally, some homeowners will qualify for a Federal Tax credit of 30% of the total cost of installing an EV charger (capped at $1,000.00). This includes any required panel/electrical upgrades as well as the cost of the charger. Consult your tax advisor to confirm this credit applies to your situation. (According to electrek, individuals and businesses need to be in an “eligible census tract.” The IRS defines an eligible census tract as “any population census tract that qualifies as a low-income community, or that is not an urban area.” Use this handy mapping tool from Argonne National Laboratory and the US Department of Energy to see if you are in a qualifying tract.) Combined, in many cases these incentives can offset the entire cost of the charger.

Consult an Electrician

When it comes to making choices in about an EV charger, as a first step consider consulting an electrician to evaluate your home’s electrical panel. You can look at the panel yourself to get an idea of its capacity. Look at the main circuit to see the amperage rating. If you have 150- or 200-amp service you may not need to upgrade the panel. But even then, depending on your home’s peak electrical use (concurrently running an HVAC unit, oven, clothes dryer, etc.) you might need to add capacity.

Features to Consider and Compare

When you’re ready to choose the charger, think about these different features to make sure the charger you choose will work for your situation.

  •  Charge Rate:  The charge rate, measured in kilowatts (1000 watts) tells you approximately how quickly the unit can charge the battery. Charge rates can vary, often from as low as 1.4 kW to as high as 12 kW. The average EV battery capacity is around 40kWh. Such a battery would require 10 hours to charge with a 4 kW charger, but would only need about 5 hours to charge with an 8 kW charger. You can keep costs down with a slower charger if that will work for you and your schedule.
  • Wi-Fi Capability:  A typical EV driver will probably be interested in the most efficient way to monitor the status of the charger, ie through an app. If that’s you, then make sure your charger has Wi-Fi capabilities and has an app that will allow you to receive alerts, monitor the charge, and remotely control the unit.
  • Outdoor Rating:  You might think you need a garage to install a home charger, but most chargers are rated for outdoor installation. Check the NEMA or IP grade ratings to confirm suitability for your space.
  • Other Options to Consider:  Compare hard-wired units vs plug-in units.  Also, consider cord lengths to be sure the unit will be close enough to the vehicle.

The licensed electricians at Cape Cod Heat Pumps & Electrical can help you with everything from evaluating your panel for possible upgrades to selecting equipment and deciding where to locate it for convenient charging.

Call us at 508-833-4822 to schedule a no-charge in-home consultation.