Installing an EV charger at home can get pretty expensive, but luckily, there are a lot of rebates and incentives out there to help save us money.
In this article, I’ll go over a Level 2 charging installation and show you how to save tons of money.
Before we get into the cost and savings, let’s go over the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 charging quickly.
Differences Between Level 1 and Level 2 Charging
Level 1 charging at home just means plugging your EV charger into your standard 120-volt outlet which is the same one you use for your lamps, TVs, and most of your other electronic devices at home.
It’s a really convenient way of charging because all homes have these outlets, but the major downside of Level 1 charging is the slow charging speeds. It adds around 2 to 5 miles per hour.
However, if these Level 1 charging speeds work for you, you’re already good to go. There’s no need to pay extra for anything because you can just plug in and charge from any of the existing outlets at your home.
For the rest of us, we might need a little more “juice”, and we’ll probably need to step up to a Level 2 charger, which means installing a 240-volt outlet along with buying any adapters or charging equipment like a Tesla Wall Connector or JuiceBox 40.
|Level 1 Charging (12 amps) = Around 2-5 miles per hour|
|Level 2 Charging Output||Estimated Miles Added Per Hour|
|16 amps||12 miles added per hour|
|24 amps||18 miles added per hour|
|32 amps||24 miles added per hour|
|40 amps||30 miles added per hour|
|48 amps||36 miles added per hour|
As you can see on the chart above, Level 2 charging is going to be a lot faster than Level 1 charging and it’s going to be worth shelling out that extra cash for, especially for those of us that have longer commutes.
What’s Needed For A Level 2 EV Charger Installation?
The costs and materials needed for a Level 2 EV charger are going to vary from home to home, but generally, these are the main things you’re going to need.
1. Electrical panel that can handle the electricity being used at your home including EV charging
You’re going to want an electrical panel or subpanel that can handle your home’s electrical and EV charging needs.
Most people will probably need a 200-amp electrical panel because most electricians are going to recommend a 200-amp panel for EV charging.
Let’s say you have a 100-amp electrical panel, and you don’t want to go over 80 amps or 80% of the max capacity at one time of the 100 amps that panel offers for safety, so in this example scenario with a 100-amp system, let’s say you got
– lights on at home using about 15 amps
– air conditioner running in the background using 20 amps
– dryer on using 24 amps because it’s laundry day
– EV charging at 32 amps in the driveway
So you’re going to be dangerously close to that 100-amp limit, already with 91 amps going at one time and that’s not even including things like computers, TVs or other devices that might be plugged into the system during that time. Going over the limits of your electrical system isn’t safe and can result in power outages, damaged equipment or electrical fires.
In this example, you can see why an EV charger isn’t going to be recommended on most 100-amp systems. EV charging plus all the other things that need electricity in the house is just going to be too much to handle for most 100-amp systems, but the good thing is most homes will be wired with a 200-amp panel.
You can easily check how many amps your panel can handle by seeing the number that’s posted on that big breaker on the top of your panel. It’s going to be the biggest breaker in your panel and you can’t miss it.
If your home is wired with a 100-amp panel, you may need to upgrade your panel which can get really expensive, or get a subpanel installed.
In either case, you definitely want to have electricians come over and take a look at the electrical load and see what the best option is for your situation.
2. Copper wiring with correct gauge for your needs; Circuit breaker that can handle 125% of the load
The next things you’re going to want to see are copper wiring and circuit breakers. 30 40 and 50-amp circuit breakers are going to be the most common circuit breakers you see for Level 2 charging. and I made a quick table of what wiring and circuit breaker you want to get in most cases depending on the fastest charging speed you’re going for.
It’s also important to note here that whatever circuit breaker you choose will not be the amps you will be charging at, because according to the National Electrical Code (NEC), “electric vehicle charging loads are considered continuous loads,” which just means that the circuit is going to be used for 3 or more hours, like for EV charging, so in this case, the circuit breaker must be rated such that it can handle the non-continuous load plus 125% of the continuous load.
For example, if you want to charge your EV at 40 amps, you need to get a circuit breaker that can handle 125% of 40 amps, which would be a 50-amp circuit breaker along with the 6 gauge copper wiring as seen in the chart.
|Max Charging Output||Copper Wiring AWG||Circuit Breaker (125% of load)||Estimated Miles Added Per Hour|
|16 amps||12 gauge||20 amps||12 miles added per hour|
|24 amps||10 gauge||30 amps||18 miles added per hour|
|32 amps||8 gauge||40 amps||24 miles added per hour|
|40 amps||6 gauge||50 amps||30 miles added per hour|
|48 amps||4 gauge||60 amps||36 miles added per hour|
Depending on where your wires are going to be installed, you may need some sort of conduit. Conduit is a channel or tube that your wires will run through, and it’s needed in cases where wires are exposed, like if they’re run outside or underground.
Finally, you’re going to want an industrial- grade receptacle or hardwire a Level 2 charger to the circuit.
What’s Needed For A NEMA 14-50 Outlet Installation?
You may have a NEMA 14-50 outlet or similar outlet in your garage already, then you’re already good to go. You can just go straight to buying adapters or charging equipment for your EV.
Getting back to what’s needed for a NEMA 14-50 outlet installation, it’s recommended to go with 6 gauge copper wiring and a 50–amp circuit breaker, so you’re able to charge at a maximum of 40 amps per hour. I highly recommend consulting multiple electricians for what you need on top of having a general idea of what’s needed for your installation. It’s important for us to be informed because even the pros get it wrong sometimes, and what that electrician was planning on installing could have damaged our home or put our family in danger.
You can cross-check and make sure that you’re getting the best option installed for your home and this is what you’re going to want to see for a NEMA 14-50 outlet installation.
1. If you’re going for a max charging speed of 40 amps, you’re going to want to get
– a 50-amp circuit breaker
– a 6 gauge copper wiring route (may have to upsize to 4 gauge depending on how far the panel is from the outlet)
2. If you’re going for a max charging speed of 32 amps, you can opt for
– a 40-amp circuit breaker
– an 8 gauge copper wiring route (may have to upsize to 6 gauge depending on how far the panel is from the outlet)
Cost Breakdown and Savings Example (In Maryland)
NEMA 14-50 Outlet Installation Cost
It cost $1,050.00 to install a NEMA 14-50 outlet which included about 60 feet of wiring from the breaker box to the outlet in the garage (The cost varies depending on the State you live in, the distance between the breaker box and the NEMA 14-50 outlet, etc.).
JuiceBox 40 (Plug-in Version) Cost
The JuiceBox 40-amp Level 2 charger can mount in the wall and plug into the NEMA 14-50 outlet in the garage. It cost $634.94.
After installing the NEMA 14-50 outlet and buying the JuiceBox charger, the total came out to $1684.94. Ouch! But it’s going to be okay because there are multiple rebates and incentives available.
Rebates and Incentives
First, there’s going to be the 30% Federal tax credit for EV chargers and installation which is available to everyone in the US. Therefore, we have a 30% Federal tax credit up to a maximum of $1,000 to offset any Federal taxes we owe.
30% Federal Tax Credit (up to $1,000) = $505.48
Next, if you live in Maryland and Maryland offers a 40% rebate off the EV charging equipment and installation up to $700 for individuals.
40% Maryland Rebate (up to $700) = $673.98
Finally, if your electricity provider is Pepco and they offer a flat $300 rebate on qualifying Level 2 EV chargers like JuiceBox 40.
Pepco Rebate on Qualifying Chargers = $300.00
After the Federal tax credit and rebates, the total out-of-pocket cost went from $1684.94 all the way down to $205.48. That’s a whopping $1479.46 in savings.
Even if you don’t plan on getting an EV anytime soon, I would definitely recommend taking a look at what rebates and incentives are available in your area and see if getting an EV charger installed in your house makes sense for you.
These are some sites where you can search for incentives and rebates by State.
– Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Federal Tax Credit
– EVSE State Rebate
– Utility Charger Rebate (Example: Pepco Charger Rebate)
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