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EV Charger Installation Q&A

Written on: January 17, 2022

Turn to the electricians at AFC

home vehicle charger maineElectric vehicles sales are booming. Here in the United States, sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have doubled in 2021 over 2020.

If you’re one of the about 2,000 Mainers who own an electric vehicle, you know that relying on public charging stations can be challenging. Charging your vehicle at home with a regular wall socket can take 12 hours or longer.

There is a solution: Install an EV charger at your home. The licensed, skilled master electricians at AFC can safely and properly install one.

You may have some questions about installing an EV charger. We’ll address the top five that we have received here.

1. What kind of EV charger should I get?

There are three kinds of EV chargers. Each has pros and cons.

Level 1 charger. This is the least expensive option. Often, they are included free when you purchase your electric vehicle. They plug into a standard 120V outlet and are portable. However, they charge very slowly, only giving you a charge for about 10 miles each hour. It can take up to 16 hours to fully charge your EV.

Level 2 charger. These work twice as fast at charging as Level 1 chargers. You can fully charge your EV in less than eight hours. There is the option of a fixed station or corded charger. They are more expensive than Level 1 chargers. You will need to have a 14-50R receptacle installed as well as provide the charger with its own circuit. These may require upgrading your electrical panel.

Level 3 charger. This charger is mostly used in commercial applications. It is much more expensive than the other two, and the installation is more complex. However, you get incredibly fast charging. Because it’s a direct-current (DC) charger that sends the current straight to the EV battery instead of going through the onboard charger, your EV can be fully charged in less than one hour! This may be a good option if your household has multiple EVs.

We’ll help you make the choice that best meets your needs and works for your budget.

2. How much does installing an EV charger cost?

Prices for electric vehicle chargers typically range from under $1,000 to about $2,500. As far as the cost of installation, the price can vary widely based on several things, including:

Location of the charger. Installation in an attached garage is the fastest and easiest, meaning it will cost less than installation in a detached garage with no electrical panel.

The electrical system in your home. If you live in an older home, your electrical system may not have the capacity to add an EV charger. You may need to upgrade your electrical panel to accommodate the increased electricity demand.

AFC will provide you with a FREE, honest estimate.

3. Can I install an EV charger myself?

This is a very, very bad idea. Electrical work like this is not a DIY project. Mistakes you could make such as working on a live circuit or panel, incorrectly installing the charger, pulling on the wrong wire, or not protecting the charger from power surges can damage the charger, electrical system, or your home, or, worse, could seriously injure you.

Not having your charger professionally installed will likely also void the warranty, which could end up costing you much more money than the price of a professional installation.

4. Are all EV plugs the same?

All electric vehicles sold in the U.S. use the same standard Level 2 charging plug, an SAE J1772 (IEC Type 10. This is commonly called a J plug.

This allows you to charge your EV at any standard Level 2 EV charging station.

However, not every EV can use a Level 3 charger. Check your vehicle’s specifications.

One final note: The connector used on Level 2 and Level 3 Supercharger Tesla charging stations are only compatible with Tesla vehicles.

5. How long does an EV charger last?

With proper installation and maintenance, you can expect your EV charger to last between 20 and 30 years.

AFC’s team of electricians is here to help with all your home or commercial electrical work. Contact us to learn more about our services and if you have any more questions about EV chargers and the installations.