How to Build an Electric Car Charging Station

September 5, 2021 4:40 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The prevalence of electric cars can’t be understated now—and they’re only going to become more common as we run out of fossil fuels and look toward green energy. The only problem with electric cars is the challenge of charging them. If your home wasn’t built with electric car charging stations in mind, you’ll need to build your own (with the help of a skilled electrician, of course).

Here’s how to install your own electric car charger, so you can zip around town and country without a care in the world.

What is an electric vehicle charging station?

Your electric vehicle—just like your tablet, smartphone or any other portable device—has a battery in it that requires charging. While your smartphone and tablet can charge from your home’s normal 120-volt outlets, your electric vehicle is a bit different.

Your electric vehicle takes the electric current available in your home (whether that’s 120 or 240 volts) and changes it into a current that your car battery can handle. The only problem is that without a voltage upgrade, your vehicle’s charging times could be abysmally slow. That’s not bad if it’s just you and you have to skip a hamburger and milkshake craving—but if you have kids in the house, or someone has an emergency, you want to make sure your vehicle is charged at all times.

There are three types of electric vehicle charging stations: level 1, level 2 and level 3. Level 1 uses 120-volt outlets, level 2 uses 240 volts and level 3 is a commercial type that can charge an entire vehicle battery within an hour or less. For the most part, level 3 charging stations are not something you can or would contemplate installing in your garage—as convenient as they might be—because your local power grid probably cannot support them.

What kind of charging station should you choose?

When you got your electric vehicle, you probably got a level 1 charging station. These usually take about 50 hours—yes, more than two days—to fully charge the vehicle. They operate from 120-volt outlets and often plug in with a simple, three-pronged grounded plug.

If you don’t want to wait two entire days for your car to fully recharge, you can get a level 2 charging station. This type of circuit is usually used for washers and dryers as well as hot tubs and other major appliances. You will probably need to hire an electrician to come out and install a 240-volt circuit, but it will pay off: you’ll be able to charge your car in 12 hours or so.

Generally, electricians won’t install level 3 charging stations in a residential home—but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask whether it’s possible.

When you need more information about residential car charging stations, and what kind of electrical infrastructure you need to have in place to support them, the crew at Duke Electric Company can help. Call us today to learn more about your options.

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