Everything You Need to Know BEFORE Buying A Charging Station at Home

Home charging stations are ideal for owners/renters of single-family homes or town homes/duplexes with dedicated off-street parking. Current rules in most Canadian municipalities prohibit cables from crossing over sidewalks, making charging a vehicle parked on the street very difficult.

The Government of B.C. is working BC Hydro and Fortis BC to offer provincial rebates for the purchase and installation of EV chargers. Visit our article on How to Apply for EV Rebates or visit Go Electric to learn more about the plan and how to apply. With the rebates that are currently available, there’s no better time to purchase and install one for home use.

But First, Amps

Your home has either 100- or 200-amp service. Most older homes have only 100-amp service unless you or a previous owner upgraded the service during a past renovation. Most EV chargers pull 30-50 amps of current, which means there wouldn’t be a lot of power left for the rest of your home if you only have 100 amps to begin with. If your home has 100-amps you will need an upgrade before installing your Level 2 EV charger. This is a job for a licensed electrician.

Charging Station Features and Upgrades

Before you purchase a home charging station, however, there are many things to consider. Here are some options and upgrades that are available:

Cord length:

Cords are available in a range of lengths, the most common being 5 metres (16 feet) and 7.6 metres (25 feet). Shorter cables are easier to store but longer cables provide flexibility in the event drivers need to park further from the charger.

Indoor or outdoor:

Many chargers are designed to function inside or outside, but not all are. If your charging station needs to be outside, make sure the model you choose is rated to work in the rain, snow, and cold temperatures. Many people install a small overhang or roof structure over their charging station to offer a bit of protection from the elements, though this isn’t strictly necessary.

Portable or permanent:

Some chargers only need to plug into an outlet while others are designed to be hardwired by an electrician.

Networked:

Some chargers will connect to the internet so drivers can start, stop, and monitor charging with a smartphone.

Smart EV chargers:

Smart EV chargers ensure the most efficient charging by automatically adjusting the amount of electricity being sent to an EV based on timing and load factors. Some smart EV charging stations can also provide you with data on your usage.

But, wait. What?

Charging On The Go

If you only have on-street parking or live in an older condo or apartment building without a charging station, you will be limited in your charging options. We believe that with some judicious planning, and a dose of passion, you can get by solely using public charging stations. Or you may find that an HEV is the right option for you right now.

In Greater Victoria, there are 178 Level 2 charging stations and 19 Level 3 charging stations within 15km of downtown. Free charging stations used to be very common but are becoming exceedingly rare.

TIP: In BC, electric cars displaying a decal issued by the Province of British Columbia are allowed in reserved HOV lanes (High Occupancy Vehicle) without having to carry two or more people.