Almost every car manufacturer produces an electric vehicle these days, or at least some sort of hybrid. If you’re considering making the switch to an electric vehicle, there’s one big question you should be asking: how will I charge my car?
In some cities and regions, there are multiple stations and resources for keeping your electric vehicle (EV) powered up. But only some neighbourhoods enjoy these public luxuries.
Let’s discuss what options exist on the market today for at-home EV charging. We’ll also discuss what incentives and programs might encourage you to join the electric motorcar revolution.
Do I Need an At-Home EV Charging Station?
If you’re purchasing an electric vehicle, the short answer is yes. While many regions are pushing towards more public charge accessibility, you can never beat the convenience of at-home, on-demand charging.
Relying solely on public electricity runs a few risks. Without the convenience and routine of plugging your car in overnight, there are a few things to consider:
- Are there charging stations close enough to your home that you can reach them on a low car battery?
- Public charging stations may be fully occupied when you arrive. Do you have the time and flexibility to wait for a free port?
- Do you use your EV as a daily driver? If so, do you rely on electric power to get to work and back, and can you afford the unknown factors of public charging?
The question is, what’s the price for convenience and reliability? For most electric vehicle owners, the costs of installing at-home electric charging are definitely worth it.
Alternative Charging Stations
Many employers and corporations provide EV charging stations in their above or underground employee parking. Obviously, it makes sense to take advantage of this perk if your employer offers it. However, there is the risk that stations will be fully occupied, so it’s not an end-all charging strategy.
Like many cities across North America, Calgary has a mandate to increase public EV charging stations across the city. There are currently over 200 charging stations across the grid. More information about locations can be found here.
Currently, about 75% of the public charging stations are free to use in the City of Calgary. But be prepared to pay for the juice if you are unfamiliar with a given EV charge port.
You can also check out the PlugShare app for reliable EV charging information across North America.
What Types of At-Home EV Charging Options Are There?
It makes a lot of sense to invest in at-home charging if you decide to purchase an EV. But there are several options available for powering up your new hybrid. EV charging is categorized into 3 levels, distinguished by their power and charging capabilities.
Level 1 Electric Vehicle Charger
These chargers may be plugged into any grounded 120-volt, 15-amp home or workplace outlet. Charge time can take anywhere between 8 to 20 hours to fully charge an electric vehicle.
The lower electrical requirement means there is no special installation, and most EVs come with a charging cable and connector. This can be desirable and decrease startup costs. However, the long charge time makes these a less popular and impractical choice for most EV owners.
Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charger
The next level up requires over twice as much power to operate. At a minimum, Level 2 chargers need a 240-volt, 30-amp outlet, similar to a laundry dryer. The extra capacity means they can fully charge a vehicle in 4 to 6 hours. This relatively brief charging time makes them a popular choice for households and offices.
Installing a Level 2 charging station is complicated and can be dangerous. You should always hire an electrician for this type of installation.
Level 3 Electric Vehicle Charger
At this time, the most powerful EV charging stations are referred to as Level 3. These units use double the voltage requirements of Level 2 for a minimum of a 480-volt DC circuit. They speed up the charging time exponentially, fueling up an electric vehicle’s battery in just 30 minutes to an hour.
The electrical requirements are much too large for residential applications. However, this charger is the go-to for roadside charging stations.
Comparison of Electric Vehicle At-Home Charging Stations
|Charging Level||Voltage Required||Time for Full Charge||Cost of Installation|
|Level 1||120 volts||Up to 20 hours||$300+|
|Level 2||240 volts||4-6 hours||$2000 +|
|Level 3||480 volts (DC)||Less than 1 hour||$50,000+|
It is widely agreed that Level 2 electric vehicle charging is the best choice for homeowners in 2023.
Are There Any Government Incentives in Alberta for Installing an EV Charging Station?
Installing an EV charging station in your home is a great way to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels, save money on fuel costs, and help the environment. And, if you live in Alberta, government incentives are available to help offset the cost of installing a charger.
The Residential and Commercial Solar Program offers rebates of up to $600 for the installation of Level 2 EV chargers. The Home Energy Improvement Program provides free assessments and up to $1,600 in rebates for energy-saving upgrades, including EV chargers.
So, if you’re thinking about making the switch to electric transportation, be sure to check out the available government incentives. You may be surprised at how easy and affordable it can be. Our experts will always inform you of the latest rebates and incentives when you choose Westridge Electric to install your home charging station.
How Does a Level 2 EV Charging Station Installation Work?
Setting up your home charging station for an electric vehicle requires an electrician’s expertise and safety knowledge. Using a professional electrician ensures that your home charging port is safe and your EV won’t be damaged.
Plus, Westridge Electric guarantees all labour and materials when we install any EV charging station.
Electrical vehicle chargers draw energy from your home’s main electrical panel. They are connected to your home’s electrical network just like any other plug or hardwired appliance.
You Might Have to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel
Think of your EV charger as another large appliance, such as a dryer or electric stove, that also requires 240 volts. Because of increased demand on your home’s electrical system, you may need a main panel upgrade to safely operate your EV charging station.
Main panel upgrades are common in today’s digital world. An electrician can assess your home’s current main panel and determine if more power is needed to charge your electric car safely and effectively.
Find Your EV Charger a Home
Since your EV charging port will be connected to your home’s electrical wiring, location does matter. Most people with a garage or carport will install their chargers in those areas. If you don’t have a driveway, think about how and where your EV will connect to the charging station.
Our electricians at Westridge Electric are familiar with helping homeowners find solutions for at-home EV charging. Get in touch with us for safe, reliable EV charger advice and installations when you’re ready to ditch the diesel.