How to install a charging station for your electric vehicle

At a time when the environment is at the forefront of our concerns, a growing number of motorists are adopting more eco-friendly modes of transportation. This radical change will certainly do us a world of good, but those new to electric vehicles may still have a lot of questions. Sure, electric cars sound great, but how do you charge them at home? What are the different options available? And most importantly, how much do they cost? Read on to find out more.

What charging station is best for home installation?

How much power does your electric vehicle charging station need?

The first thing you need to consider when choosing an electric charging station is how much power you will need. Most terminals on the market require 240 volts to deliver around 7.2 kW of power. Others can be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet to deliver around 1.5 kW of power. When connected to a 480-volt power supply, some are even capable of delivering 50 kW of power.

It goes without saying that the time it takes to charge your electric vehicle depends on the power level of your charging station and your car. The more powerful your charging station is, the faster it will be able to recharge your car's battery if it has an on-board charger capable of receiving the energy level sent by the station.

Why install a fast-charging station

In the vast majority of cases, your vehicle’s on-board charger will allow you to directly connect to any 120-volt domestic outlet. The only drawback is that in most cases, the outlet won’t supply enough power to charge your car efficiently. In fact, you would need to charge your vehicle for more than 20 hours to get 200 kilometres of range this way. With a level 2 charging station, which delivers between 3 and 20 kW of power, you greatly reduce the time needed for the same result (count the equivalent of one night). Note that the exact time to reach 200 km of autonomy will depend on your car and its on-board charger.

Although the second option may be perfectly fine for an individual, it may not be suitable for professional use or for several people sharing the same charging station. This is where fast-charging stations come in. For businesses and large residential buildings, this type of equipment comes in very handy. In fact, installing fast-charging stations can deliver 200 km of range in just 30 minutes.

Residential smart charging stations

Now there is a new and improved way to charge your electric car! With a smart charging station, you can optimize the way you manage your home’s electrical load. More specifically, these terminals allow you to analyze your household electrical needs and adapt the amount of energy dedicated to charging your electrical vehicle accordingly. If the use of a smart charging station does not allow to accelerate or improve the charging performance, it offers however the possibility to control the use of the charging station and to better follow the electricity consumption in order to save money!

Where can a charging station be installed?

Installing electrical terminals in a multi-unit building

In most cases, the installation of a charging station in a building with multiple tenants is governed by the declaration of co-ownership. If this is the case, you will have three options: Option 1 involves connecting your charging station to your personal meter, although this will rarely be approved. Option 2 involves installing one terminal for everyone. This solution requires investing in a model with multiple connections that is powerful enough to meet everyone’s needs. Option 3 involves installing individual electrical charging stations in a common area. With this solution, everyone is free to choose their own supplier.

Choosing a location for your terminal

It’s important to install your home charging station in an area that’s easy to access, whether indoors or outdoors. Ideally, you should minimize the distance between the terminal and your vehicle’s parking area to save on cable costs. Besides convenience, it’s also important to choose a location where your charging station won’t be damaged by the weather, and where it isn’t likely to be targeted by thieves and vandals (i.e., in a garage or under an awning).

Who can install an electric vehicle charging station?

Installing your own home charging station

While it may be tempting to do the installation of your charging station yourself, this task should be left to a professional electrician trained in the installation of home charging stations. There are a number of things that need to be put in place and checked to ensure proper operation and safety of your installation. You don't want your electrical network to be inoperable after a self-installation or worse, a domestic accident to happen! The consequences could be catastrophic and the money invested to rectify it would be considerable. Don't play with fire and call a certified electrician or a professional accredited by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec if you live in that province!

 

How do you find a certified electrician?

When you purchase your home charging station, you can often ask the vendor to send their installer to your home or recommend an independent service provider. If you purchase second-hand equipment, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an licensed electrician to install it for you. Many electricians can be found online, and you may even be able to request a quote through their website.

How much does it cost to install a charging station?

The cost of installing an electric vehicle charging station may vary a great deal depending on the type of device you choose and the scope of the work to be done. Most 240-volt terminals have a starting price of $800, with installation costs ranging from $300 to $1,300.

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Including, if applicable on selected products, installation and balancing in stores, environmental fees and taxes.

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