Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to purchase less gas and lower their carbon footprints. If you’re thinking about making the switch from a standard car to an EV, figuring out your charging situation is essential. Here’s a guide to how electric charging stations work and how you can install your own.
What Is an Electric Charging Station?
An electric charging station is the equivalent of a gas station for EVs. Each station has a car EV charger, which you plug into your car’s charger port. If you have a Tesla, you may need an adapter to use stations designed by another company.
Once you connect your car to the station, it will take between 30 minutes and a few hours for your battery to fully charge. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can charge your battery halfway, just as you might buy a few gallons of gas instead of a full tank. To avoid having your battery die while you’re on the highway, check your user’s manual to see how long a full charge lasts.
Find the Best Station for You
Every charging station is slightly different, so it’s important to find the best option for you. Unless you’re at a car dealer or a company that specializes in eco-friendly initiatives, expect to pay every time you use a car EV charger. Prices are much lower than for gasoline, but each charging station can set its own rates for kilowatt-hours of electricity. Use an app such as ChargePoint or PlugShare to determine which location has the right price for you.
Think about the charging station’s location, too. It should be close enough to your home that you can easily recharge your battery in emergency situations.
Start the Installation Process
Of course, the ideal location for a car EV charger is in your own home. You can purchase and install the same equipment that commercial charging stations use, a level of convenience that isn’t possible with gas-powered cars.
The easiest way to install an EV charging station is to buy a Level 1 charger. This charger does not take up much electricity, so you can plug it into a standard outlet in your garage. Because the voltage is so low, though, it can take your battery up to 50 hours to charge.
For a faster charging time, install a Level 2 station. Contract with an experienced electrician to add a 240-volt outlet to your garage or carport. If your Level 2 charger is portable, you can simply plug it into this powerful outlet. If it’s not, ask your electrician to permanently install it.
The fastest charging times come from Level 3 stations, which require outlets with between 400 and 800 volts of power. Installing this kind of outlet is very expensive and time-consuming for private homes, so it may be best to stick with a Level 1 or 2 charger.
If you want to replace your car with an eco-friendly EV, use this guide to install an EV charging station at your house.