If you're a new EV owner, you'll want to get up to speed on how EV charging works and consider the right Level 2 home EV charger for your needs.
In this guide, we'll answer common questions about home EV charging and walk you through key considerations like:
- What are the benefits of home EV charging?
- What's the difference between a Level 1 and Level 2 charger?
- Are all home EV chargers universal?
- Where should I put my EV charger?
- How much does it cost to install a home EV charger?
- Will I need to replace my electrical panel?
- Do I need a permit to install a home EV charger?
- What other home upgrades should I consider?
What are the benefits of home EV charging?
According to the US Department of Energy, about 80% of EV charging happens at home.
One of the main benefits of installing a home EV charger is the ability to charge your car overnight in a secure location. The installation process typically involves hardwiring a Level 2 EV charger to your existing electric supply, meaning you can charge your vehicle while you sleep without worrying about leaving it outdoors or in an unsecured area.
Another significant benefit of home EV charging is the financial savings you can expect over time. In addition to tax credits and other incentives offered by the US government, many states and utility companies offer additional incentives and tax breaks for installing a home EV charger. These benefits include time-of-use rates on your electrical bill, special tax credits for purchasing a qualifying vehicle, and more.
What's the difference between a Level 1 and Level 2 charger?
There are two main categories of home EV chargers.
- Level 1 chargers are called "trickle" chargers for a reason. They're unreliable for the average driver because they provide just a few miles of 'range' or driving per hour of charging.
- Level 2 chargers are by far the most popular choice for home use because of their speed. Surveys show that the happiest EV owners are those who install a Level 2 home EV charger.
You'll see a third type of charger on major highways: a Level 3 or DC fast charger. For more details on the differences between charging levels, see our article "The basics of EV charging."
Are all home EV chargers universal?
The short answer is yes, with some caveats for Teslas.
Almost all EV carmakers and charging equipment manufacturers around the globe have standardized the design of the EVSE plug universally called an SAE J1772 connector or J1772 connector. While Tesla has its own unique connector, Tesla owners with multiple EV types can use an adapter with a J1772 home EV charger. For non-Tesla owners: your vehicle will have a J1772 charging port for Level 1 and Level 2 charging.
Where should I put my EV charger?
The first question to ask is: Where will it be most convenient for you? Think about how you used to pull up to your pump of choice at your local gas station. You position your gas tank on the same side as the pump.
You've done this countless times and naturally know how much space you want between your car and the gas pump handle. Granted, we don't get it perfect every time, but now is your chance to achieve that ideal "fueling" location.
To dive deeper, see our article "Picking the ideal location for your home EV charger."
How much does it cost to install a home EV charger?
The cost of installing a home EV charger is typically under $2,000. Increased cost stems from added complexity, such as a long wiring run or an old electrical box that needs updating. If your home electrical box is relatively modern and close to where you park your car, you can expect a straightforward install.
To dive deeper, see our article "How much does it cost to install a home EV charger?"
Will I need to replace my electrical panel?
If your home was recently built, it can likely accommodate the power needed to run most home EV chargers. To dive deeper, see our article "Should I replace my electrical panel?"
Do I need a permit to install a home EV charger?
Most municipalities require a permit for any electrical work. That's why all quotes on Kopperfield.com include the cost of local permitting. To dive deeper, see our article, "Are permits required for EV charger installations?"
What other home upgrades should I consider?
New financial incentives in 2023 will make other home electrification upgrades more attractive than ever. These measures cover heat pumps, electric water heaters, and panel upgrades to accommodate the additional electric load. Incentives up to $2,000 are available to install a new electric water heater or heat pump.
More than 15 states (including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, an Wisconsin) and hundreds of cities are taking steps to encourage heat pumps as a critical climate, air quality, and affordability solution. Many states offer their own financial incentives, especially aimed at working families.
To dive deeper, see our article "Why 2023 Will Be a Breakout Year for Home Electrification."