With how the gas prices keep fluctuating, you’ve probably been thinking about going the EV way. The eco-friendly benefits and the fact that you won’t have to worry about gas prices make it a great investment. However, before heading out to get that Tesla or any other EV you’ve been eyeing, consider how you’ll charge it. While you can use public charging stations, having one at home provides an unmatched level of convenience. Let’s look at why you need an electric vehicle charging space in your home and how to transform a garage into one.
Why You Need an At-Home EV Charger
Plenty of public charging stations are available today where you can readily take your electric vehicle. You can find them at your workplace, streetside, auto dealerships, hotels, parking lots for retail establishments, or parking garages. These are handy when you’re on the road and want to extend your EV’s battery reach. With all these EV charging options, you may wonder, Why home EV chargers?
Well, it all comes down to convenience and the fact that you never know when emergencies will arise. Considering that you may need to wait up to 12 hours to recharge your EV fully, having an at-home charging option can make your life much easier. You can charge your car whenever you want and won’t have to fight other drivers for access. For example, when you get home after work, you can plug it in and have a full charge by morning. It’ll also be easier to predict the electricity rate through your home’s monthly utility bill instead of being subject to the rates and surcharges of public chargers.
Get Your Garage Ready
Since most garages were built before EVs or at-home charging stations, you must start by prepping the space. There are a lot of factors to consider, so pay attention. Let’s dive into how to transform a garage into an at-home charging station.
1. Sort Out the Electrical Needs
If you’re building a new home, now is the perfect time to have the professionals install the proper wiring for your electric car’s charger. If you already have a home, don’t worry. You don’t necessarily have to build from scratch when considering how to transform a garage to fit your car’s charging needs.
You can adjust your current garage to make it ideal for your EV charger, but not without the professional touch of a seasoned electrician. This professional will tell you if you need to install new wiring and a new circuit breaker and how much electricity your present supply can manage. They’ll also help you determine where the charger will work best according to where you park your EV.
An electrical professional will also calculate the load of the current circuits in your garage and how much money you’ll need to fork out to install a charger, including all required supplies, helping you find an answer to how to transform a garage into a charging station. You’ll need to establish the distance between the charging station and the meter box, as it impacts the installation cost. The cables needed for the connection are expensive
Once the electrician has fitted your new charger, there isn’t much more to do. However, there’s one thing you should consider: climate control. The way an EV battery responds to temperature changes varies.
Whether building a new garage or you already have one, ensure it’s well-insulated so it shields your electric car and its batteries from the effects of the elements. This will ensure your electric automobile properly charges even when the weather changes and increase the useful life of your batteries. A great place to start is to work with a garage door contractor specializing in garage door repair and installation to install one of the most recent models of insulated garage doors or reinforce your current one. If the space has windows, consider getting window coverings as well. They’ll reduce the level of impact the outside weather has on the temperature inside your garage.
2. Apply for Permits
Permits are an important part of how to transform a garage into an at-home charging station. In most local jurisdictions, you must apply for a permit to install an EV charging station. So, check with your local government and inquire about the permits and inspections the law requires.
If you’re doing any electrical work, such as installing a 240-volt outlet, you’ll probably need a permit before you begin and an inspection from a licensed home inspector when the job ends. Your electrician will typically take care of this on your behalf, but it’s still a good idea to ask them about it; don’t assume. For more detailed information, consult your local permitting authority, whether that’s your township, village, or city.
3. Consider Location
You’ll often hear people saying location is everything. That’s true. Use the same line of thinking when choosing the spot for your charging station in the garage. Here, your current electric service should be your primary concern. Using this pre-existing infrastructure is the easiest and most economical way of completing this project.
You also want to consider where you park the vehicle in the space. Most people have a favorite side of their garage that is the most convenient to them. While valid, it all ultimately comes down to having access to the electric outlets on the wall. You may have to choose another spot for your EV when considering how to transform a garage into a charging station, depending on how possible it is to move the electric.
While still on this point, you may want to make some light upgrades to the space. When you’re in the garage at night to plug your electric vehicle in, you’ll want to be able to see where everything is, from your adapters to the cables. Considering this is a long-term investment, you can’t always rely on your phone’s flashlight. Invest in bright, energy-efficient LEDs for optimal illumination in the space.
4. Clean Up the Space
Clean-up may not seem much of a priority, but it’s an important part of how to transform a garage to serve your EV’s charging needs. Where there’s electricity, there’s always the risk of a fire. Take some time to clear the space of any combustible items.
Another reason you should clean up the garage in preparation for your project on how to transform a garage into a charging station is it’ll make finding things easier. Let’s put it like this. Electricity is your car’s fuel. The last thing you want is to get home after driving around in your EV, whether to work or for other errands, to find that you misplaced your adapters, charging cables, and any other EV accessories in that pile of mess you have in the corner.
Cleaning will also reduce the risk of tripping hazards for those who access your garage. When you have random stuff all over the floor, one of your kids or pets may trip over a cable and hit the charging unit. These systems aren’t cheap, so you don’t want to need a replacement anytime soon.
You can use the opportunity to enlist the help of professional house cleaning services, who’ll perform a deep cleaning of the entire home. More specifically, they’ll get to every corner of your garage, cleaning it to eliminate any present bacteria and organizing the space.
Frequently Asked Questions
You don’t need anyone to tell you how popular electric vehicles are. Every day, you can be sure you’ll find some news story or article on EVs. It’s probably also a conversation starter among your friends or colleagues. Here are answers to two of the most frequently asked questions for those interested in going the electric way, besides how to transform a garage into a charging station.
Can My Home Accommodate an Electric Vehicle?
Let’s start with the bad news. If you park your car on the street, you can’t accommodate an EV. It would be too much of a hassle. However, if you have a garage, driveway, or somewhere else you can store your car on your property, you can have a professional set up an electric vehicle charging station. That said, certain installations are more complex than others.
Parking the automobile beside an existing power supply makes things considerably simpler and less expensive. You can purchase a charger with up to 25 feet of wire on the market today. So, as long as it’s possible to park your EV within that range, you should be good to go.
However, not every homeowner is so lucky. For example, things get tricky if you have a detached garage without any power source and it’s far from the house. You must hire an electrician to connect the garage to your property’s electric panel. This could entail excavating or cutting the driveway’s surface, burying the cable in the hole, and finally refilling and recovering it. In some cases, the job can take several days to complete.
If your home’s electrical panel is in the basement, you may have to drill holes through the ceiling to run the wiring. You must also ask yourself, ”Can my current electrical system handle the extra load of charging my EV?” The best person to answer this question is a licensed electrician. However, if you can’t see any additional breakers when you look at your electric panel, you’ll probably need to schedule an upgrade.
How Much Will It Cost Me to Install an EV Charger?
The cost of installation varies greatly based on the complexity of the task and where you reside. Suppose you have a panel right next to the point where you park your car and plan to set up the charging station a few feet away with the help of a licensed electrician. In that case, Ehrenhalt says it can cost you about $500, including permitting. However, he claims that most installs cost an average of $1,500 and $3,000.
If you need to upgrade your electrical service (the amount of electricity your house can get from the public utility) or electrical panel, that total will increase significantly. Think of an EV charging station as a dedicated power line. To run a dedicated line, you must ensure your panel can support it.
According to Harris in the Washington Post, should you require a new panel, you’ll have to budget for the EV charger installation cost plus about $2,000 to $4,000. A complete electrical service overhaul may run you an extra $5,000 to $8,000. Of course, you also have to consider the charger’s purchase price. Every Level 1 and Level 2 charger sold in North America has a standard plug that can be used with any electric vehicle, except the Tesla Supercharger, which you can only use with Tesla’s vehicles. From there, how much you’ll spend will depend on the size, cord length, charging speed, and whether you want WiFi connectivity.
Some models feature covers or hoods that help keep out ice, rain, and snow. These could run you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The JuiceBox 40 is a popular choice. It costs about $700. You can also opt for the ChargePoint Home Flex, which costs about $749.
You can also expect a spike in your monthly electricity cost. However, after paying for the car and having a professional install the charger, you’ll enjoy great gas savings that will pay off in the long run. The Energy Department claims that electric cars don’t require regular oil changes and have fewer maintenance requirements for their batteries and motors, making them less expensive to maintain than gas-powered vehicles.
Electric vehicles are becoming more popular every day. It helps that switching to more environmentally friendly options has never been an easier decision, thanks to the rebates offered by many municipalities. If you’re planning a home construction project, making minor adjustments to allow for an EV charging station is a wise investment, whether you intend to move in or rent out.
If you already have an existing home but want to make the switch, don’t worry. You can modify it to fit one of these systems. You’ll find a range of products on the market right now that can help you have a practical answer to how to transform a garage into an at-home recharge station. Nothing is stopping you from leaping.