There are a number of factors that will affect how much it will cost for you to have an EV (electric vehicle) charger installed in your home. The price can range from $600-$2,000.
Is there enough room in your electrical panel?
One of the first questions that homeowners will ask is whether or not they have enough room in their electrical panel to add an EV charger. That depends on several factors.
- How many Amps are being supplied to your panel now? Most houses are running off of a 150 Amp or 200 Amp electrical panel. Depending on your current electrical usage, you may need to increase the size of your electrical service (increase from 150 Amps to 200 Amps). You can read more about the difference between an electrical panel change and a service change here.
- How many circuits do you have? Adding an EV charger will require the addition of two breakers (240 volt) and a dedicated circuit (wiring) to an outlet that is typically rated for 50 Amps.
- Does your electrical panel allow for the use of twin breakers? This is something your electrician can determine by looking at the schematic included in your electrical panel. If the panel appears to be full, but can accept twin breakers, there is a chance some breakers could be moved around to allow for the new EV charger breaker to be added.
Hardwired versus plug in
Some people like the idea of having their EV charger hardwired instead of installed to be plugged into an outlet. There are some manufacturers that promote the idea that a hardwired charger will charge your car faster than one that is plugged in. While this may be technically true, there are other reasons we recommend using a plug-in style versus the hardwired style.
- If the charger is hardwired, then it is like any other built-in fixture in your home. If you sell your house in a few years, you will not be able to remove the hardwired EV charger from the home and take it with you. For example, when you move, you are not allowed to remove items that are fixed in place like curtain rods, light fixtures, built-in furniture, etc. On the other hand, if you install a plug-in style EV charger, you can simply unplug it and take it with you to your next house. And the new homeowner will retain the dedicated circuit and outlet that they can use as they see fit.
- Your EV charger can't be controlled by the power company if it is plugged in. A lot of power utility companies are offering rebates and incentives if you purchase and install the EV charger they recommend. If you read the fine print, you will see that they admit that a hardwired connection will allow them to monitor your electrical usage and they will be able to control (by turning up or turning down) the power you are using.
Think about this example: if everyone in your neighborhood gets home from work at 6:00 at night and plugs in their electric cars, then the power usage will spike. The power company could monitor that usage and decide that they will scale back the amount of power they allow to be used at peak usage hours. This means that your unit may not be charging at full capacity until midnight when the company decides that they can allow for full power consumption. So, you might think you are getting a faster charge with a hardwired unit, but the power company can slow down your power usage at any time and you may not be getting the fast charge you expect.
The power company might also offer this incentive: a price break per kilowatt hour on your power bill by allowing them to control when your power is used. In the example above, they may charge you less per kilowatt hour to run your car charger at non-peak hours (say, in the middle of the night).
- Installing a hardwired unit costs more than installing a plug-in style. Overall, it takes more time to install a hardwired EV charger so you are going to pay more for labor.
- You can use the plug-in style outlet for other things. Typically, we install a 50 Amp dedicated circuit and a 14-50R style outlet for EV chargers to be plugged into. The really cool thing about installing an outlet (versus hardwiring the EV charger) is that you can unplug the EV charger at any time and use that outlet for other things like an RV, a welder, etc. Another really interesting option is to find an adapter to use your 50 Amp outlet with other style plugs. Two examples of the type of adapters you can find can be found at Home Depot and are pictured below.
Where are you going to have the charger installed?
One of the biggest factors affecting the cost of having your EV charger installed is where do you want the charger to be installed? Placing it directly beneath your electrical panel will cost much less than having it installed on the opposite side of your garage from your panel.
Some people think that it is more convenient to have the charger on the side of the garage opposite the electrical panel because that will be closer to the car, but the cost of installing it there can sometimes be three times the cost, or more, of installing it directly under the electrical panel. Keep in mind that EV chargers come with very long cords (20 ft. or so), so it is often not a problem to have the charger under the panel and then the cord is long enough to reach the car on the other side of the garage.
Also, adding circuits to a garage often requires the use of conduit to run the electrical wires. This is because most garages are finished in with drywall without attic access so there is no way to fish in the wiring easily without cutting holes in the drywall, which will cost you even more to have repaired and re-painted.
For these reasons, we often recommend that customers have their EV charger installed directly below their electrical panel.
Who should install the charger?
Be sure to call a licensed electrician for your EV charger installation. It is important to have a professional make sure that your electrical panel has enough room to add the EV charger. You might also consider adding other circuits and outlets in your garage at the same time this work is being done, for example additional lighting, benchtop outlets, or a freezer circuit.
Classic Electric has completed numerous EV charger installations in homes. Thomas Adams is an Oregon Master Electrician, with an Inspector Certification, who has over 25 years of experience in the industry and he would be happy to talk to you about your Sherwood electrician needs.