EV charging can be done at home by fitting your garage with a home charger. Depending on what type of EV or PHEV owner you are, you may want to have the comfort of recharging your electric vehicle on a weekend in order to have a full tank of juice ready to go for your next drive. Of course, you'll need to keep in mind the benefits as well as the possible drawbacks you might encounter while doing so.
By far the most obvious benefit to home charging is the efficiency and savings it can get drivers. Compared to buying power from third-party sources, you can pay a flat fee for a charging station at home which does draw power from the very same source that powers all your other appliances. Of course, this will cause a spike in your current power bill but now, you can take the money you would have used for your fuel to add to it instead.
There is an upfront cost to consider when it comes to installing a charging station at home. Fortunately, this will also depend on the type and level of charger that you go with, as well as the costs of hiring a licensed, EV-certified electrician for the installation process. Conduct sufficient research before installation and you should be able to save a lot of money for the charger’s upfront costs.
While more and more people are buying electric vehicles nationwide thanks to a greater push for sustainability with the recent clean energy rebates, there’s still a need to implement more charging stations nationwide. And while many of these are already planned or currently in production, future stations can’t exactly serve the cars of today just yet. Hence, having another location where you can plug in your vehicle can go a long way.
Of course, if you’re thinking of installing a charging station at home, there are other factors you’ll need to consider.
Charging your electric car at home can be both safer and riskier compared to charging it in a dedicated station. For one, your vehicle will be exposed while it is plugged into a station, similar to parking it in a public space. There’s the risk of the vehicle getting vandalized, stolen, or even damaged by the weather and other natural hazards. All of these risks can be mitigated if you keep the car plugged in the garage instead.
Of course, that means you also need to be vigilant. While your electrician will check all your electrical wiring at home and notify you of any possible problems before the installation process, it still pays to be mindful when the battery is full.
For example, a couple’s house in California caught fire after leaving their Model S charging overnight, only waking up due to the car alarm going off. The resulting fire spread to a second Model S parked next to it, creating an explosion strong enough to blow off even the garage doors.
“If we had lived upstairs in this house, we’d be dead,” Yogi Vindum, one of the owners of the vehicle said in an interview after the incident.
The fire is a big reminder for many EV owners to always be careful when leaving their vehicles charging at home. Battery concerns are still a major point of discussion, even for new electric car releases.
Of course, EVs don’t exactly charge at the same rate. Bigger machines like the Outlander will require significantly more time compared to something like a Porsche Taycan. In a test conducted by Driven, charging something as big as an Outlander on a standard three-pin home portable 1.2kW charger, ETA was around 6.5 hours, down to 3.5 hours when plugged into an EVBOX Elvi 7.2kW charger.
Home chargers tend to have more limited speeds when compared to public fast chargers. So it’s not really that convenient to drive up to your home to plug in for a quick charge before going on a trip that very same day. Overnight charging seems to be the main use for home chargers and this could be very beneficial for shorter journeys over the weekend. Also, this can be considerably cheaper than a public rapid charger as well.
Most home chargers are already compatible with a wide array of EV car manufacturers, so no need to worry about future purchases when you switch car brands. No need to purchase different chargers to suit different models, either. Still, it pays to always ask your local installer for the specifics.
When it comes to home resale, having a home charger can improve the resale value of a home. Other owners may be interested in purchasing an EV-charger equipped home. Of course, this is still speculation, but it's worth keeping in mind.
While public fast-charging stations tend to be faster than ones you can get for your home use, it’s still not as advisable to constantly rely on fast charging. Unlike a regular petrol car, you’ll need to think of it more like a smartphone whose battery life could also degrade quicker with repeated fast charging.
So unless it’s absolutely necessary, setting up a charging station at home can still be the better option for daily use. Just take care to charge during off-peak times such as overnight when most other appliances have already been turned off. Remember to always follow the safety guidelines when doing so.
Set your charger to stop charging once the battery reaches full capacity, both for safety and to further preserve the car’s battery life.
Ultimately, it is up to you. Perhaps you travel often and would rather see more public charging stations reminiscent of the petrol stops that dotted the landscape prior to widespread EV adoption. Or perhaps you wish to save a bit of money while getting the convenience of charging at home for daily use. Whatever the case, installing a home charger shouldn’t be too difficult nor too daunting. Make sure you hire a qualified professional to do so while making sure your car insurance is updated no matter what/
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