Residential & commercial EV charging station installation
If you own one of the 16 million electric vehicles in the U.S. today, then you may be considering an EV charging station installation. As electric vehicle adoption continues to accelerate, home charging is becoming more popular, and EV charging station installation requirements and equipment varies between personal and public charging stations.
EV charging stations options
Although there is a variety of equipment models from many different manufacturers, EV charging stations are classified into three “levels” depending on the amount of power used.
Charging your EV with a Level 1 charging station
Primarily used for EV charging at home, Level 1 charging stations allow you to plug your vehicle directly into an ordinary 120 Volt outlet. Typically included in the purchase of an EV, Level 1 equipment is usually portable and can be used for charging an EV at home or anywhere there is a traditional wall outlet to plug it into.
As the slowest charging method, Level 1 equipment will only add 3-5 miles of range per hour of charging a battery electric vehicle (BEV). Due to its slow charging speed, Level 1 charging is also sometimes called “trickle charging.”
Charging your EV with Level 2 EV charging station
Up to 20 times faster than Level 1 Charging, Level 2 charging stations can fully charge most EVs in 3-6 hours. Powered through a residential 240 V outlet or 208 V commercial outlet, Level 2 EV charging stations are also fueled by AC (Alternating Current) electricity, but at higher intensities than Level 1, able to add 25-60 miles per hour to a vehicle’s battery reserve.
If you are trying to determine how to charge a Tesla at home (or another fully battery-powered vehicle), Level 2 equipment can significantly increase the efficiency of your residential EV charging system. Level 2 charging stations are the most popular kind of equipment and are commonly used for public EV stations at workplaces, shopping centers, and other community buildings.
Level 3 - Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC)
Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC), also known as “DC Fast Charging,” “Level 3” EV charging stations, or “Superchargers” (Tesla), require 480 V and typically only found in commercial settings. Capable of filling 80% of an EV’s battery capacity in as little as 20 minutes to an hour, Level 3 charging stations are the highest-powered and most expensive charging stations available today.
How to install an EV charging station at home
If you are installing an EV charging station at home, there are a few things to determine for a successful upgrade. This includes:
Choosing the right EV charging station for your vehicle or vehicles
Establishing where your station will be mounted
Deciding how your station will be wired
As Level 3 charging stations are designed for commercial and industrial use, homeowners will typically install a residential Level 2 station for faster charging at home. Many EV charging stations can safely operate both indoors and outdoors, but it is important to confirm that your purchased product is rated for the conditions where it will be installed.
Spatially, EV charging stations can be mounted on a wall, either inside of a garage or outside near a home’s main electrical panel. To place the charging station in a closer or more convenient location, the equipment can also be mounted on a standalone pedestal or on a wall further away from the panel, but there may be additional cost in supplies and labor to do so.
Home EV charging station installation requirements
When adding a residential EV charging station to your home's power source, there are two main methods of connection: plug-in and hardwiring.
With a Level 2 Plug-in EV charging station, you can "plug in" the equipment directly to a 240V outlet. As some homes already have 240V outlets, you may be able to find a Level 2 power supply that matches your existing electrical options to minimize your total EV charging station installation cost.
For a more permanent home charging station, hardwired EV charging stations can also be connected directly to a property's electrical panel. Hardwired EV charging stations require a certified electrician to install, are recommended for safe outdoor use, and typically offer a larger range of amperage and charging speed options beyond plug-in equipment.
The cost to install an EV charging station at home
Besides the expenses for equipment and labor, the total cost to install an EV charging station at home varies based on your location. Permitting may be required for a Level 2 residential EV charging station, depending on where you live. The rates and availability of a local licensed electrician are also variable across the country.
When calculating materials and labor costs, project totals will also be higher the further an EV charging station is installed from a building’s electrical panel, as more conduit and wiring will be necessary. On average, Americans can expect to pay about $1,200 to install a wall-mounted Level 2 EV charging station.
To save money on the upfront costs of a charging station, homeowners are encouraged to explore EV charging station incentives in their area. While all eligible Americans can take advantage of the federal EV tax credit of up to $1,000 per unit, there are also many electric vehicle incentives, rebates, and programs available at the state and municipal levels.
Choosing an EV charging station installer
When trying to find an installer that suits your home, vehicles, and budget, you can use our EV charging station installer locator to find reputable companies near you. If you currently own or are planning to install a solar energy system in conjunction with an electric vehicle charging station, there are many companies that offer both PV solar and EV charging services. To find the best installer for your home, we recommend conducting research on several companies and collecting multiple bids before making your decision.
Commercial EV Charging Station Installation Considerations
If you are installing a commercial EV charging station, there are a few more factors that must be considered when working with larger amounts of electricity beyond one or two dedicated charging stations. Public EV charging stations utilize Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 charging stations, and occasionally offer a mix of both.
Unlike a personal EV charging station, public-facing charging stations may also need to include a payment system for customers, unless the equipment is provided as a courtesy. Payment interfaces may be available as a part of an EV charging equipment purchase or installed separately based on your business model. For the safety of your equipment and customers, public charging station developers may also need to consider adding sufficient lighting and security systems onsite.
How many EV charging stations should you install?
The number of EV charging stations you should install at a public charging station is limited by the amount of space on the property, your budget, and the electrical service provided at the site. While Level 3 charging stations are the fastest available today, the equipment and supporting electrical improvements necessary to accommodate the technology can cost as much as $50,000.
Unless your charging station is completely off the grid, it is important to talk to the local electrical utility to determine the number of charging stations your site can host. With an increased demand for extra charging stations, you will need to ensure that the utility can supply the necessary electricity at a rate that works for your business.
When designing your charging station, you may want to consider equipment that can power multiple vehicles at once, such as the HCS EV Charging Station. The total number of stations should also reflect demand in your area, and it is always possible to add more charging stations later if the site is popular enough.
Maintenance & Repair
Although privately owned EV charging stations do not require much maintenance or repair, public stations typically require more attention to stay operational over time. Public stations have multiple charging stations used by many consumers, and maintenance may be required for both the hardware and the software of the equipment.
As Level 3 charging stations can require continual maintenance, public charging station developers should establish a system for routine inspection and repair. To catch problems as early as possible, sites can also feature a contact line for users to report issues with the equipment and file service requests.
Energy upgrades for EV charging station installation
Both at home and in commercial settings, EV Charging installations may require the support of several upgrades to the property. In addition to physically finding the space for the ground or wall-mounted equipment, residential and commercial station owners must consider the source of the electricity powering the stations and its impact on the property’s electrical systems.
Utility and Electrical System Upgrades
Depending on a property's existing electricity supply, adding an EV charging station may require a residential or commercial utility customer to request a service upgrade for ongoing access to safe and reliable power. More commonly, adding one or more Level 2 EV charging stations may necessitate an electric panel upgrade to safely supply more power to a home charging station.
Solar Energy Installation
For both residential and commercial EV charging stations, solar energy installations can help lower dependency on utility power and create more control over a property's electricity costs. With renewable energy generated and stored onsite, vehicles can be fueled by solar power in both grid-tied and off-grid EV charging scenarios. Alongside a solar panel installation, adding a battery backup to your EV charging station will increase the property's energy resilience.
Start with the Right Equipment
Building the best possible EV charging station begins with finding the right equipment. For residential and commercial Level 2 EV charging stations, Enphase has safety-certified EV charging stations and accessories for every type of property.
Explore our products and find your perfect EV charging station today.