More electric vehicles are on the road than ever before, and for (most) EV owners, comes the decision of which EV charger to choose for your home. With many competing manufacturers & models, different levels of chargers, and particular electrical requirements, making an informed buying decision can be difficult. This guide is meant to be a quick beginners guide to the key terms, brands, and requirements needed to make choosing an EV charger a little bit easier! We recommend speaking with an experienced Vancouver residential electrician and electric vehicle charger installer specialist like Fowlstone Electric to ensure all your requirements are met safely.
In this quick guide we will cover:
1. Electrical Requirements
If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle, then you should also be considering what, if any, electrical upgrades you may need to power your home EV charger.
As we will cover in the next section, different levels of EV chargers will require different power requirements. Take a look at your electrical panel and see if you have room to add another circuit breaker to your current panel. Also, take note of your home’s breaker size, ie. 60A, 100A, 125A, 150A, 200A or 400A.
The electrical requirements of your charger will depend on the home EV charger you choose. There are 3 level of EV chargers. We recommend speaking with a Vancouver electrician to make sure your electrical requirements are met safely. If you need help with choosing a Vancouver electrician, consult our quick guide: 5 Tips to Help Choose the Right Electrician in Vancouver, BC.
2. Levels of EV Chargers
Level 1 Home EV Chargers
Level 1 Home EV Chargers require a standard 120V (15A or 20A) outlet. Level 1 EV chargers will charge your electric vehicle at a rate of roughly 8km per hour of charging, which is an important metric in your buying decision. So questions such as regular driving distances, average charging times, etc. will factor greatly, as a full charge at Level 1 may take between 12-20 hours to fully charge your EV.
Level 2 Home EV Chargers require a 240V ( 30A, 40A, or 50A) outlet. These are the more heavy-duty outlets you would use for larger appliances. Level 2 EV chargers require more power, but will charge your electric vehicle faster. So if you require a consistently quicker turnaround, or regularly drive longer distances, this may be a wise option. Typically, Level 2 EV chargers can charge an EV in 6 – 12 hours at a rough rate of 30km per hour. Be sure to talk to an electrician to ensure you have the proper energy access for your EV charging requirements.
Level 3 EV Chargers (commercial only, ie. Supercharger)
Level 3 EV chargers require a direct current connection and can charge at roughly 30k per hour. These chargers are what you would typically find in common use parking lots and commercial buildings, not at single-family homes.
3. Other EV Charger Considerations
- Where do you plan to have your EV charger installed? Is there enough space? How far from the breaker is this location? Is this location outside or inside?
- If your ideal EV charging location is outside, is the charger you are considering built to withstand a wet Vancouver winter?
- Are you entitled to a rebate if you purchase a specific EV charger? Check BC Hydro for the latest information for EV charger rebates.
- Is there only one electric vehicle? Do you plan to purchase more EV’s in the future?
Now that you have a basic overview of the various considerations to weigh when choosing a home EV charger, you can move toward an informed decision much easier.
We highly recommend speaking to an electrician with EV charger installation expertise in Vancouver to help make sure you choose the EV charger that will suit not just your needs, but also your power requirements. The last thing you need after spending money on an electric vehicle and charger is to find out there are issues.