How to Choose the Right Home Charging Station?
This guide details all the components you should be aware of when choosing your future level 2 home charging station. Your charging needs vary according to your driving habits, family, schedule, and a lot more. Be sure to read this guide to choose the right charger for you. If you're already familiar with chargers, you can read our comparison of the 8 most popular charging stations of 2018.
What is the use of a level 2 home charging station?
A home charging station could be a real asset for any electric car driver wanting to benefit from the full potential of their 100% electric car or plug-in hybrid.
Charge 5 to 7 times faster using a level 2 charger, powered by 208 to 240 volts instead of a typical level 1 station.
What should you look for in a home charging station?
Due to recent growth of the electric car market, there are more level 2 home charging stations than ever before. With such a wide range of home chargers, it can be difficult to find one that fits all your needs. This guide will outline every aspect of a home charging station, and help you understand your needs and what features you should look for in a station.
1. Connector type
All charging stations have a universal SAE J1772 connector. This connector is compatible with all EVs and PHEVs on the North American market.
However, Tesla chargers and cars have a modified version of the SEA J1772 connector. Every Tesla car comes with a SAE J1772 to Tesla adaptor, enabling the driver to charge at regular level charging stations.
2. Charging speed (amperage and power)
Level 2 home charging stations operate at a voltage between 208V and 240V. The fastest charging you can get out of your charger depends on two factors:
- The amperage of the charger (usually 16, 30, 32 or 40 amps)
- The car’s acceptance rate in kW
The maximum power you can get from 16 amps, 30 amps, 32 amps and 40 amps chargers are the following:
- 16 amps at 240V : 3,84 kW
- 30 amps at 240V : 7,2 kW
- 32 amps at 240V : 7,7 kW
- 40 amps at 240V : 9,6 kW
Today, the max power acceptance of the vast majority of EVs is 7.2 kW or less. This means that even with a charger of 9,6 kW and 40 amps, most cars won’t charge any faster. Using a charger that outputs more power than what your car can accept won’t damage it. Your EV will simply take as much as possible. That being said, every vehicle with a higher power acceptance than 7.2 kW will charge faster with a 40 amp char
You can consult our power acceptance chart to discover which charging solution would be optimal for you.
Why should you choose a 40A (9,6 kW) charger if the majority of EVs can’t yet accept that power?
Firstly, the available voltage varies between 208V and 240V. This means that if the only current available is 208V, a 30 amp charging station will deliver a maximum power of 6.34 kW, while 40 amps at 208V will deliver 8.32 kW of power. In this instance, only the 40 amp charger will charge your electric car with 7.2 kW of power acceptance at the maximum possible speed.
Secondly, car manufacturers will progressively increase the power acceptance rate of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in order to decrease the charging time. If you purchase a 40 amp charging station, you will benefit from the most optimal charge even with the next generation of EVs.
3. Smart features and their utility
An interesting option to augment your charging experience is a smart charging station also referred to as connected or Wi-Fi connected. Smart stations don’t charge any faster, but it gives you full control of your charger and provides data:
- Remote control: this feature is useful for chargers installed outdoors because whenever a car connects to it, you will receive a notification asking you to confirm or deny access. This is rather useful if you want to limit who can charge at your house.
- Data monitoring: this function gives you data relative to your charging habits at home, giving you insight into your charging costs.
Please note that some cars provide the same features as smart charging stations. That’s why you should check your car’s features, so you don’t pay twice for the same feature.
4. Wall connection options
There are two ways to connect a level 2 charging station to your electrical panel: through a plug or through direct connection (hardwired). There are two types of plugs: the NEMA 6-50P (welder plug) and the NEMA 14-50P (dryer plug). These options allow you to use your charging station in several locations, such as a cottage, a friends house or anywhere else provided you have access to the correct outlet.
Another advantage is that you may already have one of these plugs somewhere close to your garage or parking space, which would significantly reduce the cost of installation. The last type of connection is direct connection, or hardwired. The charging station is connected directly to the electrical panel with a wire and there is no plug. With this type of connection you can’t use the charger in another location because the installation is permanent
5. Location of the installation
Most charging stations are made for both indoor and outdoor use, and can withstand temperatures ranging from -30°C to 50°C even with severe weather conditions like rain, snow, and ice. Because it is made in Canada, the EVduty charging station is one of the only chargers capable of functioning properly in temperatures of -40°C to 40°C, this makes it the most adapted charging station to harsh winters.
6. Cable length
One of the most important elements of a charging station is the cable that charges your electric car. It is essential to know how and where your vehicle will be parked to measure the cable length required. Cable length varies anywhere between 12 ft and 25 ft, but we highly recommend a cable that is at least 18 ft long. With a 25 ft cable, you will be able to charge your car whether it’s parked backward or forwards. If 25 ft is not sufficient, you can add a cable extension providing an extra 33 ft of cable.
The second most important aspect about the cable is its flexibility. The more flexible it is, the easier it is to roll it up or use it in winter. The EVduty station’s cable is ultra flexible, providing a superior experience in winter compared to other models on the market.
7. Locking system
If you’re planning on installing your charger outside using a NEMA 6-50P or NEMA 14-50P plug, we recommend you choose a charging station with a locking mechanism to prevent theft. A simple step that can save you a lot of trouble!
Most charging station warranties cover the whole charging station for 3 years including the cable and connector. Some models offer a warranty of 5 years on the case and 3 years on the cable and connector.
9. Other aspects to take into consideration
Certain models include a holster to hold the cable and connector, which can be very useful to keep them out of harm’s way and in good condition. Another thing to consider is the overall appearance of the charger. All charging stations are different and some will offer a more elegant and modern design, others more robust, but it is important not to prioritize the aesthetic appearance at the expense of other features such as power output, cable length or even the anti-theft option.
In conclusion, the first and most important step when buying your charging station is to concisely outline your present-day needs, and also take into consideration your future needs. Ideally you should purchase a charging station that fits your budget and lifestyle, today and for years to come.
Now that you are much more familiar with charging stations, we invite you to take a look at the different options available on the market right now. Our comparison chart should help you decide which one them is the best fit for your lifestyle.