What does it cost to put in a charger for an electric car?

Author: Geym

Mar. 07, 2024

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Tags: Energy

So, you’re considering installing an EV (electric vehicle) charger at your home or business. You’ll have many factors to consider, but chief among them: how much will it cost to have one installed?

The national average cost for EV charging station installation is between $1,000 and $2,500. Still, this cost varies based on your region, the type of station you buy, and whether it is portable or hardwired into your home. If you’re planning to buy an EV charger to service your own vehicle, keep in mind that many EVs come with a Level 1 charger that you can easily plug into a typical 120-volt outlet. However, you can upgrade to a faster charging station, too.

So with that in mind, let’s break down the factors that will influence how much installing your EV charging station will cost.

Level 1 vs. Level 2 Chargers

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First, let’s break down the difference between Level 1 and Level 2 EV chargers. Level 1 EV chargers use your home’s existing electrical outlets and are typically much more affordable than Level 2 chargers. They can take up to 10 hours for a full charge, so they’re great for overnight charging.

Level 2 EV chargers require professional installation and are hardwired into your home or business. They provide faster charging times, usually around four to eight hours. However, they also have a higher price tag than Level 1 chargers.

Prices for Level 1 home EV chargers range from $300 to more than $1,000, not including installation costs. Prices for Level 2 chargers range from $700 to more than $1,800 for homes and up to $12,000+ for commercial installation. These prices depend on various factors, including the need for adaptors, wi-fi connectivity, weather protection, and energy needs.

Will Your Charger Be Hardwired or Plug-In?

(Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash)

If you decide to go with a Level 2 charger, you’ll need to determine if it will be hardwired or plug-in. If you opt for a plug-in unit, the only installation costs associated with the charger would be for the electrician to run power from your home’s breaker box to the outlet where the charger will be plugged in. In this case, you’ll most likely need access to a 240-volt electrical outlet.

On the other hand, a hardwired unit requires a more extensive installation and is generally more expensive. In addition to running power from your home’s breaker box, an electrician must attach the charger to your home or business’s wiring system, which may require additional hours of labor and materials for installation.

Costs of Accessories

Other accessories for operating your EV charging station could contribute to your upfront costs, including surge protectors, extension cords, mounting brackets, and other supplies. Depending on the state of your home or business’s existing electric system, you may also need to install additional wiring or outlets to accommodate installing your EV charger.

Cost of Permits and Labor

(Photo by Gabriel Alenius on Unsplash)

Electricians may charge by the hour or at a flat rate. Your region’s laws will determine whether permits are necessary for EV charger installation, and the cost of these permits can vary greatly depending on your locality. It is generally wise to contact a licensed electrician for an estimate before installing your charging station to ensure you get the best deal.

Depending on your jurisdiction, you may also need to consider the cost of permits, which could add a few hundred dollars to the project cost.

Ongoing Costs To Anticipate After Installing Your EV Charger

(Photo by Антон Дмитриев on Unsplash)

Owning an EV charging unit also involves some ongoing costs. Some manufacturers charge a small monthly fee to use their cloud-based systems, while others levy fees if you want to share your charger with the public.

Most wall units have a warranty and require minimal or no ongoing maintenance. You may have to pay for repairs if your charger malfunctions or needs an upgrade, so it’s a good idea to check the warranty included with your unit.

You will also have to pay for your EV charger’s electricity unless you use solar panels or other renewable energy sources. The cost of electricity varies depending on where you live and how much you drive, but it can be a significant expense to consider when budgeting for your EV charging setup.

Finally, it’s important to remember that even the best-maintained EV chargers will eventually need replacing. As the EV industry continues to evolve, newer charging units will likely become available with more features and better performance. If you plan to keep your EV for a long time, consider how much the cost of replacing your charger may change over its lifetime.

Ways To Reduce Your EV Charger Installation Costs

You may reduce the cost of installing your EV charger by taking advantage of applicable tax credits or rebates. Many states and utility companies offer rebates and incentives to install a home charger. Check your state and local government websites for more information. You may also qualify for federal tax credits that reduce the overall cost of installation.

Additionally, you can save money if you shop around and compare different models and quotes. Many suppliers offer discounts for purchasing multiple charging units at once, so if you plan to install more than one station, look for deals to help lower the installation cost.

Regardless of upfront costs, it’s important to remember that purchasing an EV charger for your home or business will likely become a profitable long-term investment. Installing an EV charger can help you save money in the long run by reducing your reliance on expensive fuel. If you make your charger publicly available, you’ll find plenty of ways to monetize your charging station. With proper research and planning, you can be sure that your charging station will be a great addition to your home or business for years to come!

Are you interested in learning more about EV charging infrastructure? Join us at the upcoming EV Charging Summit and Expo.

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QuickTakes:

Charging your electric vehicle in the peace and convenience of your own home might sound easy and ideal. But the reality of home charging can be more complex — and more expensive — than simply plugging an extension cord into your new car.

If you live in an older house, for example, you might discover only after buying an electric car that your garage outlet doesn't supply enough voltage and/or current.

For some EV shoppers, the true cost of charging an EV at home could be higher than they expected.

Types of Home EV Chargers

Not all EV chargers are made equal, and not all will get you a full tank of juice (so to speak) in time for the morning commute.

  • Level 1 charging can typically bring an EV battery to 80% in about 40 to 50 hours. These chargers often come included with an EV purchase, and require only a common household 120-volt outlet to work.
  • Level 2 charging setups require having a 240-volt circuit. They can charge a battery electric vehicle to 80% in four to 10 hours and a plug-in hybrid in one to two hours.
  • Level 3 — also called direct current fast charging — chargers are usually found in public charging stations, such as Tesla's Supercharger locations, and are used often in commercial applications.

Charging stations and cables also come in a variety of standards, depending on plug type. Because these plugs are not interchangeable, it can be important to make sure your home charger has the correct one.

Costs of Home Charging Stations

Within each level of charging, there's generally a range of prices for home equipment. There can also be differences in installation costs.

  • Level 1 charging cables often come with new EVs, but they can also be purchased separately if you want a spare. The equipment for Level 1 chargers typically costs about $300 to about $600. You should also look into the labor costs for installation, which can cost $1,000 or more.
  • Level 2 charging stations usually need to be purchased separately, though some automakers might provide rebates for purchase and installation. Level 2 charging equipment ordinarily runs about $500 to $700, although some of it can be more expensive.
  • Level 3 chargers can cost tens of thousands of dollars for the equipment alone. Installed, Level 3 chargers generally cost about $12,000 to $45,000.

Less Obvious Costs of Home Charging Stations

While many modern homes can support Level 1 charging without much in the way of renovation, not every EV owner is so lucky. Older homes may not have updated electrical setups that will work with a Level 1 charger. Some hidden costs of installing at-home EV chargers might include:

  • Updating your house's electrical capabilities for a Level 1 charger. Although Level 1 chargers will work with standard 120-volt household plugs, some older homes could be wired for 15-amp or lower circuits. Additionally, if the plug is too far from the distribution box, it may lose too much current and need to be updated with higher-gauge wiring.
  • Upgrading your home's electrical system for a Level 2 charger. Many homes, even new ones, could need electrical work for Level 2 chargers, as those hookups require 240-volt circuits. Such circuits are not common in homes unless they were specifically installed for large appliances.

The price of installing new circuits into your home will depend on a few factors. These include the state of your breaker box/electrical panel, which can cost anywhere from about $850 to $4,000 to upgrade, depending on how many amps you need. Other factors include the availability of circuits at a high enough amperage, which can cost about $600 to $1,200 to install, and the distance between the electrical panel and the charging station.

If you need to install a commercial-grade Level 3 EV charger, it could set you back tens of thousands of dollars. It likely also will require significant infrastructure setup, the cost for which varies based on your location and property.

The Home EV Charger Extras That Add to Costs

Electrical work isn't the only area in which home-charging-installation expenses might add up. Other extra costs could include:

  • Charging pedestals: If you charge multiple cars and want the charger in the middle, a charging pedestal (often a structure that sits on the floor between the vehicles) could increase the price by at least a few hundred dollars.
  • Outdoor chargers: These can cost more than indoor chargers, due to the need for weatherproofing and running conduits.
  • Trenching: If you have a detached garage, you may need to dig a trench for the power conduit to rest in. The exact cost will depend on the distance to the garage, location, and what kind of soil you have.
  • Multiple adapters: Having more than one brand of electric car might affect cost, as you may need to get different adapters for each vehicle. That said, the price isn't likely to be more than a couple hundred dollars. Note that some automakers are adopting Tesla's North American Charging Standard plugs, so adapters could be easier to find in the future.

Charging an electric car at home will inevitably increase your electricity use. But there are a few modern EVs that can also act as generators to power your home. It's possible this could help save you money on a generator if you live in an area prone to blackouts.

Some EV-charging costs can also be offset through government programs and in fuel savings over time. A home-charging station could even increase the value of your property. Some automakers, such as General Motors and Kia, will include installation (or credit toward installation) with the purchase of an EV.

What does it cost to put in a charger for an electric car?

How Much Does a Home EV Charger Really Cost?

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