This is a short section of our new, free 2021–2022 EV Chargers Guide. This section is focused on “Level 2” EV charging stations for homes and businesses. More sections of the report will be published shortly, or you can just download the full report now. The report is free thanks to sponsorship from NeoCharge and EV Connect. Note that this report is focused on the US market.
All Level 2 chargers use 240V, but charging speed can vary based on a charger’s amperage and electrical current. Most EVs can take in about 32A, adding around 25 miles of range in an hour. If you need higher speed, you may be satisfied with a faster 50A charger that can add about 37 miles of range per hour of charging. You’ll be able to charge faster with a higher charger amperage only if your electric car can take the power delivered by the EV charger. A 40A charging station will not let you charge faster than a standard 30A if the power acceptance limit of your electric vehicle doesn’t go beyond 30A. There are some EV charging stations that can deliver more power, but not all electric vehicles can accept it.
A standard home EV charging station will provide passthrough AC power to charge the vehicle. The vehicle will then convert the AC power to DC power, using it to recharge the battery. The actual charger is located onboard, inside the electric vehicle. After connecting to the vehicle, the charging station will send information to the vehicle about available power and its level. From that point, it is the vehicle that takes full control of the power transfer.
EV Charging Stations — Hardwired vs. Plug-in
The next step is to choose between a hardwired or a plug-in EV charging station. Hardwired units can be installed indoors and outdoors. However, they are more permanent, so not necessarily ideal for an indoor setting. They are always recommended for outdoor locations, as hardwiring provides a better and weather resistant connection to power. Hardwired units also require a professional and licensed electrician to permanently connect a charger to the home’s or building’s electrical system. Circuit breakers required for installation must correspond with all national and local laws, regulations, ordinances, codes, and safety standards. Certified electricians should choose the correct circuit breaker depending on required electrical power and grid type. Hardwired stations can be moved, but that would require an electrician to uninstall the unit and then reinstall it at the new location (which can be costly).
A plug-in option is a more flexible installation than a hardwired set up, because it allows you to take the charger with you, whenever you travel or move, with no need for an electrician to be involved in the process.
With 240V outlets, there is no standard type of plug. Therefore, you need to choose the one that fits your needs. There are a few plugs available:
+ NEMA 14-30 — commonly used for electric dryers;
+ NEMA 14-50 — commonly used for electric ovens, (and now electric vehicles) often found in RV parks and campgrounds;
+ NEMA 6-50 — common for welders or plasma cutters;
+ NEMA 10-30 — common for older homes and older electric dryers.
In many cases, if your home already has a 240V outlet, you can order the plug that matches what you have and simply mount the station and plug in. If your home does not have a 240V outlet, an electrician can install a new outlet that matches the plug you purchased, which allows you to mount the station and plug in.
Note that installing such outlets can be costly, but there are other things to watch out for that go well beyond those installation costs. It’s possible that your home as a whole won’t be able to provide enough power without some upgrades. Most electrical panels, especially older homes, are rated at 100 amps, but if you’re using multiple appliances and charging your EV, you’ll need a 200 amp panel. To put it in perspective, a dedicated 240V outlet to plug in your electric car, NEMA 14-50, would take up 50 amps out of the 100 amp panel capacity in your home. That’s half of the capacity of your panel, so people with a 100–125 amp panel can be left needing to upgrade these panels, which can easily cost upwards of $1,500+ in installation costs. If you have two electric cars and want a charging station for each, then you could be up to 100 amps with your cars alone. One way to avoid that, though, is with a smart splitter that can either pump all 50 amps into an electric car or split the amps between two vehicles when needed. The NeoCharge 240V Smart Splitter allows you to plug both an appliance and your EV charger, or 2 EV chargers, into your existing outlet without the need for a panel upgrade or an electrician. Still, though, a home with a 100–125 amp panel may need to be upgraded to a higher total home amperage.
All the plug-in EV charging stations can be hardwired, instead of plugged in, giving you the option for how to install one at your own place. Plug-ins with hardwired options are offered by: ClipperCreek, ChargePoint, Electrify America, Enel X, EVoCharge, SolarEdge, and Wallbox. Hardwired units are provided by Blink, ChargePoint, ClipperCreek, EVBox, EVocharge, EverCharge, FLO, SolarEdge, and Wallbox. Please find the information for specific models and brands in the table at the top.
Save Money, Stay Close to Electrical Panel
While choosing the location, the best place to install your EV charger at home is close to the electrical panel, as running conduit from your panel to the charging point can get expensive. For outdoor installation, a weatherproof, hardwired 240V EV charging station is recommended. With a fully sealed NEMA 4 enclosure, all components inside the charging station are protected from the outdoor elements. An outdoor rated charger gives you flexibility to install indoors or out depending on where you want to park. An indoor rated charging station can be installed inside the garage, while the charging cable runs outside to charge your electric vehicle outside. See “Setting Up Home Electric Car Charging On A Budget” for more.
As noted above, as well, you may need to have an electrical panel upgrade unless you have a 240V outlet that can be shared with a smart splitter. If you are not sure what your home has and what you need, consult with an electrician.
All EV charging stations included in this guide can be placed both indoors and outdoors. The charging cable’s length varies between 18ft and 25ft. A lot of brands offer 2 lengths for their models — ChargePoint gives you an option to choose between 18ft and 23ft for two of its models (CT4000 Family, CPF50), EVBox has 18ft and 25ft options for its Business Line, all three EVoCharge stations come with the option to choose between 18ft and 25ft, and CoRe+ from FLO is available with a 21ft or 25ft cable length.
Some charging stations are equipped with a cable management system, a built-in or remote connector holster that keeps the cables off the ground while not in use. This solution not only keeps the property clean and neat, but also keeps the connector safe from any possible damage that could be caused by dirt, water, or other contaminants. You can find that option in models such as the Blink HQ150 by Blink, the CPF50 by ChargePoint, the EVBox Iqon, all three EVoCharge stations, and the SmartTWO-BSR by FLO. Some EV charging stations come with a cable hanger bracket that keeps the area clean and tidy. You can find this option with the Blink HQ100. You can also find a cord retractor compatible with some models of CS and HCS from ClipperCreek, and with EV002 by EverCharge.
For the full report, download it for free here: 2021–2022 EV Chargers Guide.
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.