Relying on fossil fuels to fuel transportation is so last century, and many are considering the more eco-friendly solution: electric cars. Though still be fairly new in the motor vehicle marketplace for this generation (electric cars existed at the turn of the century, believe it or not), their eco-friendly benefits are trumping the need to keep refilling with gasoline. All you have to do is recharge the battery.
While charging stations may be available in public lots, rest stops, hotels, and businesses, they’re usually not convenient. Relying on remote charging stations has been made more convenient by locator apps like CAA or Plugshare, but this hasn’t made them the ideal solution for electric vehicle charging. It’s more like the second option. In fact, you should have a charging station available at your home so you can recharge the battery overnight. Where better else than your garage?
Re-Designing Your Garage to Accommodate an Electric Vehicle Charging Station
By doing a little garage re-organization and hiring an electrical expert, you can have a fully compatible charging station within your home. With proper EVSE or Electric Vehicle Service Equipment, your electric vehicle can get all the charge it needs for its battery pack.
Some electric vehicle owners or would-be buyers may find it daunting to set up a home charging station in their garages. Others already have a pre-installed 120-volt charging port for their hybrid gas and electric variants, which charge overnight.
For a battery electric vehicle, you will need to have a 240 volt or level 2 charging station. With competent EVSE, you can fully charge your electric car’s battery pack within four to nine hours, depending on your vehicle model.
Steps to Designing Your Garage Space for Electric Car Charging
Many electric vehicle buyers prefer to retrofit an existing garage to accommodate a charging station. Others look to modify one that’s already being remodeled or built and integrate an EVSE into their design.
Electrical wiring is a crucial factor when designing garage space for electric car charging. Because electrical and building contractors are still learning about electric car charging stations, it pays to do your research beforehand. You’ll be able to tell whomever you hire your preferences for the location of the charger during its installment.
Where to Place the Charger
Wherever you plan to locate your new charger, install a dedicated 240-volt line. This should be located one or two feet beneath or above where you are going to install the EVSE.
Your charging station is best wall-mounted. The charging cable will be 25′ long, so make sure your EVSE is easy to access and use. If you plan on purchasing a second electric car, place your EVSE somewhere where two cars can access it.
The best place for your charging station is near the garage door, a couple of feet from the corner. If your electric car is parked inside the garage, it’s easier for the cord to reach the front or back charging port for at least three sides of your car.
When you’re parked outside the garage, you can also run the charging cord underneath the garage door. Make sure you install the electric charging station nearer to a regular door that opens to the outside, depending on the general plan of your house.
Safety and Charging Considerations
- Install your electric vehicle charging station where children can’t come in contact with its components.
- Electric cords should be in a cool, dry place.
- Ensure that the EVSE can fully charge your vehicle before long trips. EV manufacturers recommend you charge your battery up to 90% or, if possible, 100% if you’re planning on a long journey.
- A level 2 EVSE will fully charge your electric car battery in a couple of hours.
- Proof your garage’s EVSE wiring for the inevitable upgrades.
Wiring and Power for Your EVSE
Your new circuit should be capable of at least 50amps. This will give your electric car charging station a 40amp charge rate, which uses 80% of the power circuit capacity.
Have your electrician install a NEMA 6-50 socket. This is what is used by many free-standing charging stations. The other alternative is hardwiring the EVSE into the wall beneath or above the chosen station site. Many electricians prefer to hardwire high power appliances to eliminate the heat between the socket and plug.
Once you’ve connected the wiring and power for the charging station, bolt it securely into the wall and fire it up.
As much as we could suggest undertaking this project in a DIY fashion, you should really hire an expert to install the charger for you. The last thing you want is a charging station that cannot reach your car or charge its battery fully.