3. 100 Amp vs 200 Amp Service - which do I need?
It really depends on your home and your lifestyle. In general we say, 100 Amp power service can support the standard household appliances and typically allow you to add one high draw appliance like a hot tub, air conditioner or EV charger without the need for a service upgrade. 200 Amp power service can support the standard household appliances and typically allow you to add three extra high draw appliances.
4. Hardwired or Portable? What type of electric car battery charging stations should I consider?
There are two main types of charging stations you can purchase for your EV. What you choose will mostly depend on how you plan to use your EV.
Hard-wired or permanently mounted charging stations connect directly to your electrical panel. They are preferred if you need to use the charging station in one location and would prefer a cleaner and professional looking installation.
Portable charging stations can hang on the wall or get placed near an outlet that they need to plug into. Portable charging stations are great for EV owners that plan on taking their vehicle to multiple locations, and that need the flexibility to be able to charge from those different locations. If you intend on regularly taking your EV to your cottage or cabin, for example, this may be a better option for you.
The type of plug and 240-volt receptacle you will need for your portable charger is the most important consideration. There are a variety of 240-volt receptacles and each has a slightly different plug.
- The NEMA 14-50, NEMA 6-50, and NEMA 14-30 receptacles are the more common outlet and is usually used for appliances that require a larger capacity such as electric stoves or dryers.
- It is best to consult your portable charger’s manufacturer to determine the type of plug that it requires.
5. What cord or cable length will I need?
You will want to ensure that your charging cord or cable length is long enough to reach your vehicle from where the charging station is being installed.
- Keep in mind that if you intend to own more than one EV, you will have to consider this for each of your vehicles.
- The placement for the charger unit or plug installation will need to accommodate your required access in this case as well.
- Consider your cable management when looking at the placement and installation of your charging station or plug. Some charger models include cable management such as holsters or hooks for your cords and cables. Protecting your cables and keeping the area clean and free of clutter ensures a longer life for your cords and cables, greater user safety, and the charging station itself.
- Depending on the type of equipment you choose to purchase, you may need to consider whether there is a locking mechanism on the unit and the connector cable. Portable units should include this feature to avoid theft and tampering.
6. Scheduling EV charging
Charging your electric vehicle can be taxing on your home's electrical system, so
try to schedule your charging during a time when you're not using a lot of power. Typically we use more power when we're getting ready in the morning and when you get home from work. EPCOR recommends charging your EV later in the evening or when you're sleeping.
7. Extra features
- Some models offer a smart charger feature through web portals and apps to allow you to schedule and monitor EV power usage. If this is something you think you'd want, choose a charger that has the smart charger function and internet capabilities.
- Also make sure you confirm the installation process for your charging station before purchasing. Does it have a wall mount, does it allow me to plug in more than one EV at a time, does it work for my EV or am I going to need an adaptor?
The good news when it comes to the type of plug used by EVs is that across North America, except for Tesla models that come with an adaptor, most EVs use the same plug (SAE J1772 connector) for Level 2 charging stations.
Regardless of what options or features you want, the best electric vehicle charging station is the one that is going to work for your electric vehicle.
Plug'n Drive offers more information about electric vehicles and electric charging stations for vehicles available in Canada.