The number of electric vehicles (EVs) is gradually growing across the globe, and the charging infrastructure for these vehicles continues to expand. By 2019, there were an estimated 7.3 million EV chargers worldwide, of which about 6.5 million units were private, installed by homeowners and those found in workplaces and apartment buildings.
With this new trend, and with electric cars becoming more affordable, it becomes prudent to consider installing a charging station on the premises of your business or at home. This will give you total control over when your car gets to charge. But how much does it cost to install an electric vehicle charger?
Electric Car Charging Station Costs
Several factors influence the cost of installing a charging station at home or in a specific location. The key factors include the output design and the charging type. Where you are looking to install the charging port as well as the person you hire to do the job and the cost of labor will also determine the overall cost.
There are three types of charging stations – Level 1, Level 2, and DC (direct current). The ratings for these three charging levels are as follows:
• Level 1: These are the standard electronic vehicle charging infrastructure with 120-volt single-phase AC of up to 16 amps. They are, however, limited to 12 amps and can deliver up to 1.9-kilowatt (kW) charge rate or about 5 miles of range per hour of charging. Level 1 units can be used with the standard household wall outlets since 120-volt outlets are readily available.
• Level 2: These types require a unit of 240 volts, and they allow for a wide range of charging speeds. With up to 80 amps power rating, they can deliver up to a 19.2-kilowatt charge rate or up to 60 miles of range per hour of charging time. This makes it one of the most suitable charging stations for most electronic vehicles. Level 2 EV chargers require exclusive charging equipment and a dedicated electrical circuit of 20 to 100 amps.
• DC Level 3: These charging stations use a 480-volt unit and can provide up to 80% charge in only 30 minutes. This is equivalent to 249 miles per hour of charging. They are, however, not compatible with all vehicles.
The costs of installation for these charging equipment also vary significantly. For example, the Level 1 charger costs between $300 to $600 before labor, which stands at about $1,000 to $1,700. The Level 2 charger goes a bit higher, with the cost increased to between $500 and $700 and labor costing about $1,200 to $2,000. For Level 3, you will need a whopping amount between $20,000 and $50,000 for parts, and labor could cost upwards of $50,000. It is worth remembering that if the installation process requires major electrical upgrades to your home, it could cost you more.
Tesla Charger Installation Costs
Teslas have unique and exclusive adaptors for charging their vehicles, that is if you want to use a different charging station. Typically, they come equipped with a Level 1 charger that can be used with the standard 120-volt outlet. However, they also have Level 2 chargers that cost about $500. The installation cost is like that of other chargers, and it stands at a maximum of about $1,100 for a standard unit.
At-Home EV Charging Station Installation Costs
If your home already has a 240-volt circuit available, the basic installation will cost you between $250 and $400. However, if you choose to mount a station and run 50-amp dedicated wiring, it will cost you between $400 and $1,700. It costs between $1,500 and $4,500 to mount a new station, install a new service panel, do wiring, and equip it with a 240-volt outlet. The same goes for if there is a need for extensive wiring or if trenching and running conduit around the home are necessary.
The elevated costs are usually a result of electrical work. Electricians charge $40 to $100 an hour, and for the installation of a 240-volt and 50-amp outlet, it costs $300 to $800. A 200-amp panel upgrade costs between $1,800 and $2,500. Wiring, on the other hand, costs up to $8 per foot, and trenching is $4 to $12 per foot.
The U.S. government offers a federal tax credit of up to $1,000 for the purchase and installation of a residential EV charging station. The credit grants 30% off (with a cap of $1,000 total) the purchase and installation cost of the home EV charger. You need to purchase and install the system by December 31, 2021, and claim the credit when you file for returns.
States also have rebates and incentives. For instance, California’s PG&E DCFC program covers the cost of site preparation when one buys a DC Fast EVSE charger. Better still, disadvantaged communities can receive rebates for the purchase of the vehicle. These incentives bring down the cost of purchase and installation.
The EV charging station installation needs to follow federal, state, and local building codes. At the federal level, the installation has to follow the National Electrical Code (NEC). A building permit and an electrical permit are standard in most states.
Depending on local requirements, permits could cost anywhere from $50 to slightly above $160. For example, in Fremont, California, the total cost is estimated at $162.
Garage Modification Costs
To adapt your garage for the EV charger installation, you need a 240V outlet. This is easier when you have a dedicated circuit in your main electrical panel. If your electrical panel doesn’t accommodate a 2-pole breaker, install a separate panel board.
This new system needs four additional wires, which include a ground wire, two phases, and a common wire. You may need to shift the electrical fittings in your garage to make the new system fit.
If the floor plans in your garage need some special modifications, expect to part with around $150 per square foot. This will allow the charging station to be mounted on a wall and enable the 25-foot cable to work conveniently.
Things to Consider Before Installing an EV Charger
Apart from determining whether you should install a Level 1, Level 2, or DC (Level 3) charging port, you must also consider the following:
• Type of plug and connector – This is determined by the vehicle type. If you have a Tesla, of course, you will go with the standard Tesla connector. There is also the SAE J1772, which is the standard plug for most cars in the U.S. It can be used with both Level 1 and 2 charging. You can also choose CHAdeMO, which is used for fast charging.
• Safety – Look for charging stations with UL certification. The UL certification indicates that the charger has been tested for safety. Also, ensure that pets and children are kept away from connectors and power outlets.
• Electric capacity – Always establish first if your electric panel can support EV charging. For effectiveness, a circuit of at least 32 amps must be installed in your home or garage. Check with your landlord and local authorities for permission and to comply with the set regulations.
• Cable length – Regardless of where the charging station will be installed, pay attention to the length. It should run from the wall mount to the car and should be made from a rugged and well-insulated material to prevent potential accidents.
Other things that you should consider include whether the charger will be hardwired or plugged in. EV chargers that deliver more than 40 amps need to be hardwired to ensure that the unit is directly connected to your power supply. You should also consider the cost of the equipment and the location for installation.
Charging at home saves you a lot in terms of cost. For one, you can take advantage of the federal support and technical assistance for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, which will greatly reduce the cost of installation. Also, compared to the cost of gas and regular maintenance of other types of vehicles, the electric types will result in significant savings in the long run. For instance, going with the average of 12.6 cents/kWh, if you charge your electric vehicle with a 100-mile range fully at home, by the time you deplete the battery, the cost will be the same as operating your central air conditioner for six hours.
Using solar panels to charge your electric vehicle will also save you a lot in the long run, in terms of electricity bills, but the up-front cost is very high.
House Options Versus Apartments and Condos
Unlike individual houses, EV charging in apartments and condos is faced with challenges such as parking, electricity access, and legal considerations. It involves working with building owners and seeking their permission before installing a station. Luckily, there are best practices and case studies that you can share with landlords for seamless installations.
In a condo or apartment, residents share the power from a single panel. Therefore, requests to connect a single EV charger will only be accepted with a strategy. Most apartments prefer to install shared charging stations for the tenants. They then assign charging spots and tenants have to pay monthly fees and the cost of electricity. Apartments can set hourly rates, kWh pricing, or any other pricing model the managers choose. For some chargers, tenants can track the availability of a charging spot through an app. Other sharing features include a waitlist, charging status, and alerts.