Are you ready to take the next step in your electric vehicle journey? With a level 2 electric vehicle charger, you’ll experience hassle-free charging as you power your ride from the comfort of your home. How can you get a level 2 charger? In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps of getting a level 2 charger installed at home and offer tips and resources to make the process as simple as possible. We’ll have you charging in no time!
Understanding different levels of EV charging
Before jumping into the first step towards a faster and more convenient charging experience for your EV, it is important to understand the electrifying world of EV charging. There are 3 different levels of charging you need to understand as a current or soon-to-be EV driver:
Level 1 EV chargers (AC charging)
Level 1 chargers typically deliver 3-8 km of range per hour of charging and it is the s-l-o-w-e-s-t way to charge. Every plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle can be charged on Level 1 by plugging into a standard 120V AC plug (i.e. a common household plug).
Level 2 EV chargers (AC charging)
Level 2 chargers typically deliver 6-120 km of range per hour (10 times faster than Level 1) and are the most commonly used at home or the workplace. They require a 240V AC plug, which is usually a standard plug for a stove.
Level 3 EV chargers (DC charging)
Level 3 (L3) chargers are the fastest chargers available delivering up to 160 km of range in just 20-30 minutes. These chargers are typically found at public charging stations along highways or major routes. The voltage is much higher than level 1 and 2 (L2) charging, which is why you don’t see level 3 chargers ever installed in homes. They are the perfect option for long-distance travel road trips or quick top-ups when you’re on the go. Try to plan ahead for your trips by looking up L3 and L2 chargers using the Ivy app or PlugShare.
Important factors to consider when buying a level 2 EV charger for your home
Now that we’ve got the EV charging basics out of the way, let’s dive into specs that will help you choose the perfect level 2 EV home charger. There are a number of factors you need to consider before making your big purchase decision and adding the right charger to your home. Let’s explore these factors below:
Important factor regarding your electric vehicle
Type of connector
There are several types of connectors for level 2 chargers available including the J1772 and Tesla connectors (NACS). It is important to choose a charger that is compatible with your EV’s connector type (check your EV’s user manual) to ensure that you can plug in and charge. Some chargers also offer multiple connector types, making them more versatile and suitable for use with multiple EV makes and models.
Important factors for your home
Length of the cable
EV home chargers come with cables that are different lengths and it is important to find out which one is most suitable for your home and electric vehicle. Make sure you measure the distance from your charging port to your electric vehicle’s parking spot and choose a cable that’s long enough to comfortably reach. This way you’ll avoid the hassle of having to move your car around or rearrange your space just to be able to power your EV.
Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
Before choosing a home charger, make sure it is suitable for the location that you’re planning to have it installed. If you’re planning on having it installed outside, ensure that it is compact, waterproof, and able to withstand all types of weather conditions. Certain chargers are built for certain climates. If you live in Ontario and are planning to install your charger outside, take a look at Ivy Home. It is built in Ontario for Ontario’s weather conditions and is made to withstand temperatures as low as -30°C. Happy charging, rain, shine, or snow!
Plug-in vs hardwired
EV home chargers are either plug-in or hardwired, which is an important factor to consider before making your purchase. Do you plan on staying in the same home for the next 10 years and only charging at this location? Or are you thinking of moving next year and would like to charge at different locations like a cottage? If you’re leaning towards the second option, a plug-in charger is the better option for you.
Important factors for your personal preferences
Amperage level determines how fast your electric vehicle will charge. If you have a high amperage level, you’ll be able to charge your EV faster and get back on the road in no time. But if you have a low amperage level, you’ll have to wait longer for a full charge.
A common amperage level for level 2 home charging units is between 16 and 50 amps. To understand how different amperage levels impact the speed of charge, we’d like to share some examples of common amperage levels and speeds below:
- 45-48 kilometers per hour at 40 amperage
- 35-40 kilometers per hour at 32 amperage
- 24-28 kilometers per hour at 24 amperage
- 16-19 kilometers per hour at 16 amperage
Depending on the distance of your trips and how often you drive your electric vehicle, you may need to rely on public charging as well. Some electric vehicle home charging solutions offer discounted rates to charge on their public network. Exploring options that provide home charging and public charging may be a good idea if you’re spending lots of time on the road!
Smart EV chargers
When choosing an electric vehicle home charger, you have the option of choosing a smart charger as well. Smart chargers are connected to a mobile app and allow you to remotely start and schedule a charge as well as check your consumption. Does this sound interesting to you? Then add “Smart EV chargers” to your checklist of what an ideal home charging solution looks like for you.
Important factor in the installation process
Permits for the EV charger installation
The installation of a home charger for your electric vehicle will likely require an electrical permit. This permit ensures that the installation is done in compliance with local electrical codes and regulations. The requirements may vary depending on your local municipality, so it is best to check with your local permit office to determine the specific requirements.
In Ontario, you need to get a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) before starting the installation. You can learn more here. If you decide to work with a licensed contractor, you don’t have to worry about permits as they will take care of this for you.
What’s the cost of installing a level 2 EV charger at home?
The cost of installing an electric vehicle home charger can vary depending on multiple factors such as the type of charger you choose, the location of your electrical panel, and any necessary upgrades to your home’s electrical system.
On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from 500 to $1,500 for the charger itself, and another $500 to $2,000 for the installation. Finding the right home charging solution can be overwhelming but worry not, there are many options available on the market. You can find suitable home charging solutions within this price range here.
Still have more questions? Below you’ll find the answers to some common questions.
Can I install an EV charger by myself?
Electrical changes in your home can be dangerous to attempt without the required knowledge and tools. It is recommended that you work with a professional, ESA-certified installer to get your home charger set up. Some charging solutions include an ESA-certified installation so you don’t have to worry about finding someone to get your charger set up.
What if my panel is full or I do not have the electrical capacity to add a charger?
If your panel is unable to handle the new charging load, or the space to add a new 2-pole breaker, a certified installer will need to upgrade your panel to provide additional capacity.
Can I plug my EV into a regular electrical outlet?
We highly recommend you always refer to the charging instructions provided by your vehicle manufacturer. EVs may come with a charging cable suitable for a regular electrical outlet, however, this may only provide you with speeds of up to 1.3 – 2.4 kW (5 – 8 km/hour).
Do I need a permit for installing an EV charger?
Adding a 240V electrical appliance—like an EV charging station—can require a permit from your local jurisdiction. Depending on where you live, permitting processes can vary. We recommend checking with your local permit office to determine the specific requirements.