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Charging Your Electric Vehicle

Charging Your Electric Vehicle

You have options when it comes to electric car charging equipment and installation, and they will be influenced by your choice of electric car models and your driving habits. If your electric car has a smaller battery, or if you simply drive less, you can charge your electric car within a few hours using a standard household 120-volt outlet. If your electric car has a larger battery or you drive more, you may want a home charging station or dock for faster charging. Call us before you buy your electric car, and we’ll help you understand how to safely and effectively transform your home into your own personal electric car fueling station.

Find a Charging Station 

Plugging In: Your Own Charging Station

To fuel your car at home, you’ll need access to at least a standard 120-volt outlet in a convenient location where you can park and charge. If you want to charge faster, you will need a dedicated 240-volt circuit and an electric car charging station. Be sure to have a qualified electrician inspect your outlet, because charging an electric car may overload an existing household circuit, particularly if it serves other household needs like lights and appliances. Your qualified electrician can advise whether you need a dedicated circuit breaker or an upgrade to your circuit breaker panel.

The Installation Process

Whether or not you plan to install a charging station, a call to our Electric Vehicle Information Center is where the process begins. We’re here to help you understand your options.  Please call one of our electric vehicle advisors to let us know you are installing a charging station so that we can ensure we have the proper equipment to serve you. 

Then it’s time to call your electrical vehicle service equipment installer or qualified electrician to inspect your home, install your new equipment, and perform any necessary upgrades to your home’s electrical wiring. Installation costs will vary, and your installer will be able to provide an estimate based on your needs. Your city or town may also require permits and inspections, which can be facilitated by you, through your electric vehicle service equipment installer, or by your qualified electrician.

Do you rent your home or belong to a homeowners association?

If you are a renter or a member of a homeowners association, getting ready to charge your electric car means shared decisions to be made with your property owner or manager. Factors like applicable rate plans, cost responsibility, and parking space allocation all come into play. If you are a tenant, or live in a building with shared parking, you’ll need to consult with your landlord or property manager before beginning installation of electric car charging equipment.

The Northeast Electric Vehicle Network has developed a simple guide for owners and residents of multi-unit housing in the region.

Charging: Levels & Times

There are 2 charging levels—or voltages—for charging electric cars. Higher voltage levels charge batteries faster, but often require an investment in additional equipment and electricity wiring upgrades.

Charging equipment for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and all-electric vehicles (EVs) is classified by the rate at which the batteries are charged.  Charging times vary based on how depleted the battery is, how much energy it holds, the type of battery, and the type of electric vehicle service equipment.  The charging time can range from 15 minutes to 20 hours or more, depending on these factors.

Most vehicles can charge on a standard 120-volt outlet.  However, some customers may consider installing a Level 2 charging station, which can shorten charging times significantly.  Level 2 charging stations generally require 240-volt capacity – similar to an air conditioner or clothes dryer – so you will need to consult a licensed electrician for questions about your home's electrical needs.

Different jurisdictions may have different requirements or processes regarding the permitting, installation and inspection of charging stations. The permitting office with jurisdiction over the installation site should be contacted to identify specific requirements.

Charging Equipment Standards

The Society of Automotive Engineers has established a uniform “connector” standard for Level I and Level II charging equipment.  Most, if not all, electric cars on the market now or due to launch over the next several years comply with this standard, so your vehicle will be compatible with any equipment at a Level I or II charging level. While there is interest in a common DC fast charging plug, no single connector standard has been established yet to serve all car models.