Charging an electric car at home: Time, cost, set up and more

Team AckodriveMay 19, 2023

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Buying an electric car lets you skip the increasing petrol and diesel prices. EVs are more economical to maintain and emit zero toxic gases into the atmosphere. However, many people worry about the difficulty of charging an electric car, which makes them hesitant to buy one.

With advancements in EV technology, you can easily charge an electric car at home whenever required. An EV home charger can fully charge your vehicle overnight while you get a goodnight's sleep. Or, you can use a fast charger to recharge your EV within an hour or two.

In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about charging an EV at home.

Charging electric car at home

How to charge an electric car at home

EV charging at home offers higher convenience and efficiency than public charging stations. The hardwired and portable plug-in and plug-out chargers let you monitor your charging history and schedule specific charging times every day. 

  • Get a dedicated electric car home charging station installed by a professional.

  • For a hardwired charger, you must choose a charging point that offers easy access to the EV.

  • Utilise your charger's fast-charging capacity and built-in features to ease the charging process.

  • Plugin the charger overnight to get a fully charged EV in the morning.

  • Top up your EV’s battery with a quick charge if required during the day.

Understanding the Basics of Home EV Charging

Home EV charging involves plugging your vehicle into an electrical outlet to charge the battery. The charging process can take several hours, depending on the size of the battery and the charging equipment used. There are two main types of charging for EVs: Level 1 and Level 2.

  • Level 1 Charging: This is the slowest charging option, but it requires the least amount of equipment. Level 1 charging uses a standard household power outlet and a charging cable that comes with your EV. This type of charging can take up to 20 hours to fully charge a battery, which is why it's best suited for overnight charging.

  • Level 2 Charging: This is a faster charging option that requires a 240-volt outlet and a Level 2 charging station. This charging station can be installed in your home and can charge your EV up to six times faster than Level 1 charging. Level 2 charging can fully charge an EV battery in four to eight hours.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

The time necessary to charge an EV at home ranges between 30 minutes and 12 hours. Majorly, the charging duration comes down to the speed of your charging point and the battery size of your vehicle.

  • A typical battery of 60 kWh in an EV takes about 8 hours for a 0 to 100 per cent charge using a charging point of 7 kW.

  • Using a 50 kW fast charger, you can top up the EV range by 160 km in about 35 minutes of charging.

  • However, slow charging points and big car batteries tend to increase the charging period.

5 things that could slow your EV’s home charging speeds

Let’s talk about the main factors that affect the charging speed of your electric car.

  • Battery size: The size or capacity of a car battery is measured in kWh. Bigger EV batteries take a longer time to charge than smaller EV batteries.

  • Battery charge: An empty battery will take longer to charge up than to top up the same from 50 per cent.

  • Vehicle’s maximum charging rate: The charging speed of a vehicle is limited to its maximum charging rate. For instance, an EV with a maximum charging rate of 7 kW won’t charge any quicker when plugged into a charging point of 22 kW.

  • Charger’s maximum charging rate: The charging duration also depends on the charger’s maximum charging rate. For instance, a charger of 7 kW capacity can’t offer more than a 7 kW charging rate to an 11 kW electric vehicle battery.

  • Environmental conditions: The climate conditions also tend to impact the EV charging speed. Charging an EV takes more time during cold weather conditions, especially while using a rapid charger. It happens due to the reduced efficiency of vehicle batteries to contain the charge due to cold temperatures.

How often should you charge an electric vehicle at home?

EV charging at home is like charging any other electronic device, such as your mobile phone or laptop. So, you can plug the car into a charger whenever needed.

Most people avoid letting their EV discharge to 0 per cent by topping up on time. You can plug the charger into your EV overnight to get a fully charged battery in the morning. Keeping the battery charged allows you the flexibility of having your car ready for any unexpected journeys. 

Factors affecting charging frequency

Here are the factors that decide how frequently you must charge your EV battery.

  • The battery capacity of your car decides how often you need to plug in the charger. The batteries with lower capacity discharge faster than high-capacity EV batteries.

  • The charging frequency depends a lot on how often you use your vehicle every day. The more you drive, the more frequently you will have to charge the battery pack for your subsequent journeys.

  • Overnight charging ensures a fully charged EV in the morning, so you won’t have to stop at public charging stations for top-ups.

  • EV batteries lose their charge faster during cold weather. Thus, you may have to charge them more frequently when driving in cold climate conditions. 

Equipment Needed for Home EV Charging

The equipment needed for home EV charging depends on which level of charging you choose.

  • Level 1 Charging: The only equipment you'll need for Level 1 charging is the charging cable that comes with your EV.

  • Level 2 Charging: To use Level 2 charging, you'll need a Level 2 charging station. There are many different brands and models of Level 2 charging stations available. EV manufacturers also offer home charging solutions. You may also need to have an electrician install a 240-volt outlet if you don't already have one.

How to install an EV charging station at home?

For accuracy and safety purposes, you must approach a professional to install an electric car home charging station. 

Once you get an electrician, follow the below-mentioned steps to install your EV charging station.

Step 1: Buy an EV home charger based on your vehicle's battery capacity.

Step 2: Evaluate and confirm that the installation area aligns with the standard technical safety criteria.

Step 3: Make sure that the electric service at your home can take the load of the EV charger. If not, contact the local electricity department to increase the supply limit.

Step 4: Ask the electrician to create space for a circuit breaker on the electric panel.

Step 5: Get the charger installed and tested for safe wiring before you begin charging electric vehicle at home.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?

The cost of charging an electric car at home comes down to two factors.

  • The battery capacity of your electric car.

  • The cost per unit of energy you receive from your electric service provider.

Depending on the state where you live in India, the electricity cost per kWh (Kilowatt-hour) ranges approximately between Rs. 8 and Rs. 10. On the other hand, the battery capacity of EVs in India ranges between 20 kWh and 45 kWh. 

So, you can check the battery capacity, charging duration, and the cost of electricity at your home. It will help you calculate the cost of charging your EV at home accordingly. 

Tips to reduce the cost of charging an EV at home

Below are the things you can do to manage the cost of EV charging at home.

Match the charging rate with the battery capacity

When buying an electric vehicle charger, you must ensure that its maximum charging rate isn’t less than the maximum charging rate of your vehicle. Also, it would be a waste of energy to buy a charger with a higher maximum charging rate than what your EV requires. Thus, you should choose a compatible charger for your electric car. 

Buy a fast charger instead of a regular one

If your electric car has fast charging compatibility, you should consider buying a fast charger. While a regular charger takes about 8 to 12 hours to fully charge an EV battery, fast chargers require only 2 to 5 hours, depending on the charging capacity. 

Electric vehicle home charging options

EV charging technology is gradually advancing in India. You can find different types of charging options for your electric car. In fact, there are studies taking place in the direction of solar charging for electric vehicles. So, you might be able to get a device for charging an EV at home with solar energy in future.

Currently, there are three main types of chargers for EV charging at home. They differ in the extent of power output they can offer, impacting the charging speed. Let’s talk about them in detail.

Types of Home EV chargers

The three types of EV home charging stations include the following.

1. Rapid EV chargers

This charger is the fastest electric car home charging station you can have. A rapid charger uses high-power AC (Alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current) to charge up an EV battery as quickly as possible. 

  • Depending on your EV’s brand and model, a rapid charger can charge it from 0 to 80 per cent in 20 minutes.

  • Some modern EVs might take about an hour to attain an 80 per cent charge using a rapid charger.

  • The charging begins rapidly, but the EV reduces the charging speed after achieving 80 per cent of charge. It helps to protect the battery from internal damages and improves charging efficiency.

  • It is important to remember that you can use a rapid charger only for EVs that come with rapid-charging compatibility.

  • You will have to get a hardwired unit, as rapid chargers currently don’t come in portable units. 

2. Fast EV chargers

Fast chargers operate on AC and are widely used for charging electric vehicle at home. The charger’s capacity and the vehicle model define the charging speed you can achieve with these chargers. 

  • Fast chargers usually offer a 22 kW or 7 kW charging rate.

  • A 7 kW fast charger can recharge a 40 kW EV battery from 0 to 100 per cent in 4 to 6 hours.

  • A 22 kW fast charger can charge up a 40 kW EV battery from 0 to 100 per cent in just 1 to 2 hours.

  • It is essential to ensure the compatibility of your EV’s battery with a 22 kW or 7 kW charging station.

  • Though fast EV chargers are popular in public locations, you can get one installed at home for personal use.

  • There are both portable and hardwired fast chargers available in the market. 

3. Regular EV chargers

A regular charger is the most common EV home charging station you can set up. These chargers offer a slower charging speed than rapid or fast chargers. So, if you want to use this charger, overnight charging would be the right approach.

  • Regular EV chargers can deliver a charging rate between 3 kW and 6 kW.

  • They take around 8 to 12 hours to charge an electric vehicle from 0 to 100 per cent.

  • You can choose between a portable or hardwired regular EV charger.

Benefits of charging your electric car at home

You will enjoy the following benefits of charging an EV at home rather than at public stations.

1. Convenience

With a home EV charger, you can control when you want to charge your vehicle. You don’t need to go all the way to a public charging station and wait in line to charge your EV. A home charging station enables you to just plug in the charger and focus on other tasks at hand.

With a fully charged EV available, you will be ready to drive your car whenever needed. You can even plan your day trips without worrying about not having enough charge in your electric car. 

2. Quick charging

Having a fast charger at home is much more efficient than a public charging station. A home EV charger usually takes 20 to 45 minutes for a quick top-up or about 4 to 7 hours to fully charge an EV based on the charging rate. This saves you a lot of time, usually spent on driving to a public station, waiting for your turn and charging the EV.

3. Longer battery life

Like any other electric battery, the battery of an EV loses its efficiency over time. However, battery degradation slows down if you keep it fully charged rather than getting quick top-ups at public charging stations. Hence, you can maintain a longer EV battery life with a home charging station. 

4. Compatibility

You get to buy a home charger compatible with your electric vehicle in terms of maximum charging capacity. It is easier than searching for public charging stations specific to your EV’s brand and battery capacity.

Frequently asked questions

Here are more questions answered about charging electric cars at home.

Can I leave my electric car charging overnight?

If you have a regular EV charger, then you can plug it into your electric car overnight. A regular EV charging station of 3 kW takes about 8 to 12 hours to charge an electric car from 0 to 100 per cent. Thus, you will be safe charging your car overnight with this type of charger.

However, you should decide the duration of charging sessions based on the charger’s capacity, EV’s battery capacity, and the available charge in your electric car. 

Do EV manufacturers offer home charger installation services?

Yes, many EV manufacturers in India offer home charger installation services. For instance, the Tata Nexon EV is an electric SUV that comes with a free home charger and installation service.

Is it cheaper to charge an EV at home or a public charging station?

That depends on the per-unit cost of electricity you are getting at home. This cost is different for different states and even cities in India. However, you should consider comparing other factors like convenience, availability and charging compatibility along with the cost of EV home charging. 

At the same time, find out the cost of EV charging at your nearest public charging station. It will help you decide which option would be better suited for your needs.

How long does it take to charge an EV at home?

The charging time will depend on several factors, such as the type of EV, the size of its battery, and the charging speed of your equipment. On average, Level 2 charging can take 3-8 hours, while Level 1 charging can take up to 15-20 hours.

How much does it cost to charge an EV at home?

The cost of charging an EV at home will depend on the cost of electricity in your area and the charging speed of your equipment. The EV charging cost can vary depending on your location and electricity provider.

Do I need to install special equipment to charge my EV at home?

Yes, you will need to install either a Level 1 or Level 2 charging station at your home. Level 1 charging equipment usually comes with your EV, but Level 2 charging equipment will need to be purchased and installed separately.

How much does it cost to install a Level 2 charging station at home?

The cost of installing a Level 2 charging station will depend on several factors, such as the type of equipment you choose, the complexity of the installation, and the location.

Is it safe to charge my EV at home?

Yes, charging your EV at home is safe as long as you follow proper safety guidelines and use the correct equipment. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and use a qualified electrician for installation and repairs.

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only. It is recommended to take the help of an expert before making a decision.

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