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Considering moving over to an electric vehicle? Here’s how to prep your home for one!
You would wish that the process of transitioning to an electric vehicle (EV) to be as simple as pushing the pedal to the metal. That, sadly, is not yet the case.
So, what are the differences and what do you need to know before you strap yourself in your new EV?
Being the early adopters of electric vehicles that we are, people often ask us what it takes to install an EV charger at home. As with other technological platforms, such as internet connectivity in your home, there are some things you might have to do to prepare your home for an EV charger installation.
Let’s explore some important issues and clear up some headaches.
EV chargers – a European perspective
What comes first? The charger or the car?
So, here you are: You’re considering making the switch to an electric vehicle and ditching that gas guzzler. (Good call, by the way.) What’s next? Should you buy the car now, or should you wait until the home electrical system can be ready for a charger? In other words, what comes first — the chicken or the egg?
In most cases, you don’t immediately have to install a home charging solution. All electric vehicles are equipped with portable charging equipment to allow you to plug into any 220-volt outlet at home. You can also easily charge your car at a public charging station. There are many charging maps available online to locate them. Blue Corner charging stations can be found here!
Conversations on which EV charging equipment you need at home are mostly about which 220V chargers you need. Overall, each home EV charging solution allows you to fill up the battery overnight, and get over 60km of range added by plugging the car in for less than two hours. Whether or not you’re going to want to have a home charging solution has a lot to do with how far you drive every day.
Another consideration is whether you have other opportunities to charge your vehicle. “If there are a lot of [public] chargers near your office or on the street where you live, then the urgency isn’t there in the same way it is if you’re going to be depending on your residence to charge your car.”
DC Fast Charging solutions are the fastest of them all – they can provide 15 to 30 kilometers of range per minute. However, they are not intended for home use. That is because they are quite different, as they are based on DC (direct current) like a battery not AC (alternating current) as from the grid. The electricity flows in only one direction, so that is exactly how the battery wants it. DCFC comes in three types: CCS, ChaDeMo, and Tesla Supercharger and this depends on what your car has (generally CCS is in Europe, and ChaDeMo in Japan/Asia, SC is Tesla only.) Most fully electric cars are equipped for DC Fast Charging today, but always be aware of your car’s charging connector before you try to plug in.
How do I find out if my home is suitable for an electric vehicle?
First things first: when you want to charge your vehicle at home at a decent rate, you need to install an EV charger, unless you plan on filling it up at a public charging station. The bad news here: if you rely on street parking, your home is unlikely to be able to accommodate an EV. You can install an electric vehicle charger anywhere near your driveway, garage, or another place where you store your car.
The rule of thumb here is that it is much easier and less expensive if you can park near an existing power source. You can buy chargers with about 10 meters of cable so as long as you can park within that distance, you should be fine.
When you have a detached garage that is not connected to a power source and is located a long distance away from the house, you’d need to connect the garage to the property’s electrical panel to install an EV charger. This could entail digging a trench and running the cable underground, or even cutting through the driveway surface before refilling and recovering it.
Another consideration for prospective EV owners is whether their home’s electrical system is capable of handling the additional load of charging a car. A professional electrician can assist you in answering this question. One major indicator that you will need an upgrade, is if your electrical panel has no room for additional breakers.
Let’s talk about pricing
The cost of an installation varies greatly depending on where you live and how complicated the job is. It’s no surprise that an installation will cost less when your electrical panel is right next to where you want to park your car and you’re putting in a charger that is only a few meters away.
For an in-depth look at “Comparing the Levelized cost of electric vehicle charging options in Europe”, Nature Communications published an extensive article on the topic that can be read here.
Energy prices are on the up
Solar panel owners have a great advantage here – but need to check their installation and how their system can be linked to an EV charging point. As always, keep in mind your electricity bill, which is bound to rise. Still, once the initial costs of purchasing the car and installing the charger are covered, your savings will quickly add up. Electric vehicles have lower maintenance costs than gas-powered vehicles because their batteries and motors require less attention, and you don’t have to worry about changing the oil!
Feeling confident to make the transition?
Thank you for reading to the end and when you feel confident to choose an EV charging system that best suits your home and lifestyle,
please feel free to reach out to Blue Corner for your electrifying journey! Safe driving!