Everything you need to know about electric vehicle charging stations

Planning on taking the leap and going electric? Super! EVs are a great eco-friendly alternative. Before making the switch, you’ll need to prepare for your new vehicle and, most importantly, choose a charging station. There are a number of factors to consider: equipment, costs, installation, rebates . . . In the following article, we go through every detail so you can make an informed decision when the time comes.

Choosing an EV charging station

Your ideal home charging station depends on several criteria. First, you need to determine which type of charger suits your driving habits and budget.

What are the different home charging solutions?

There are several options for charging your electric vehicle (EV) at home:

    • Standard wall outlet: This is the easiest and most affordable solution. All you need is the appropriate cable, which has a standard plug on one side and a connector compatible with your car on the other.
    • EV charging station: Plug in your vehicle for a few hours and get a quick, powerful charge.
    • MENNEKES charging station: This type of home charger is more common in the European Union than in North America.
    • Wallbox: Often recommended by manufacturers, this alternative integrates different accessories and software for better vehicle protection.

In compliance with the regulations in force, all EVs in the U.S. and Canada are charged using the standard SAE J1772 connector. Only Tesla cars are delivered with their own unique adaptor.

How powerful does your charging station need to be?

Level 1:

This is the default charger that comes with your EV. It plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet and delivers about 1.5 kilowatts of power. With this type of connection, your vehicle will take around 20 hours to charge for 200 kilometres of range.

Level 2:

With a Level 2 charger, you’ll need to charge your vehicle for about 5 hours to get 200 kilometres of range. Delivering between 3 and 20 kilowatts, they generally require a 240-volt outlet.

Level 3:

Also known as a DC Fast Charger or DCFC (direct current fast charger), a Level 3 charger is the fastest way to boost your battery. In just 30 minutes, your EV can recuperate 80 percent of its charge for 200 kilometres of range. However, Level 3 chargers are incredibly expensive and have energy requirements that are difficult to meet at home.

How much does a charging station cost?

A 240-volt charging station typically costs between $600 and $1,300, with installation fees ranging from $400 to $1,100. Additional services, like changing your electrical distribution panel or hiding your cables, will also increase the price.

Beyond the purchase and installation of your charger, you also need to factor in the cost of powering your EV. In general, a full charge costs about one dollar. That means you can expect around $300 in annual energy costs for 20,000 kilometres of range. Keep in mind, however, that these estimates are not applicable to hybrid electric vehicles.

Choosing accessories

You may want to invest in charging station accessories depending on your preferred level of protection. For instance, an optimal way to avoid overloading or short-circuiting your electrical system is to install a secure outlet or circuit breaker. Home charging stations also need a Power Boost to automatically and dynamically balance power consumption in your house. Last but not least, you should pay special attention to the length of your cables to ensure you can charge your vehicle comfortably.

Installing your charging station

Perform an initial check

Before installing your charging station, check your electrical system. Namely, make sure to verify that your system is properly grounded and complies with your charger. Furthermore, it’s essential to choose a charging station that suits your meter capacity. An EV battery draws a lot of energy, which increases the risk of overheating. Always exercise caution when charging!

When deciding where to install your charging station, it’s best to pick an area that’s sheltered from bad weather to prolong its lifespan. If you don’t have a garage, consider building an awning. Keep in mind, however, that the distance between your electricity meter and charging station can impact the cost of installation. You’ll need to find a good compromise between protection and proximity.

Hire an electrician

Although it may seem relatively simple, installing an EV charging station is a serious undertaking. A small mistake can result in costly damage to your vehicle and your home’s electrical system. In Quebec, the Construction Code formally requires that all electrical work be carried out by an electrical contractor who holds a license issued by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ).

Are there any rebates for purchasing a charging station?

If you’re thinking about installing a charging station at home, you may be able to benefit from certain offers and promotions offered by dealerships, manufacturers, and even municipalities. Look into those that spark your interest to find out if you’re eligible.

As part of its Roulez vert program, the Quebec government is offering a $600 lump-sum reimbursement for the purchase and installation of a Level 2 home charging station. However, there are several eligibility requirements. For instance, you must provide proof that you’ve purchased a new charging station that appears on the list of eligible models. You also need to prove that you own or lease an electric vehicle. Finally, you have to provide documents that prove that your charging station was installed by an electrician with an RBQ license number.

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