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Installing a Fast Charger: Is It Worth It?

Installing a Fast Charger: Is It Worth It?

My mom made fun of me the last time she came to visit. The topic of conversation wasn’t my unfashionable clothes or my bad haircut but rather the charger that I use to charge my all-electric (EV) Nissan Leaf. You see, my mother is also a Leaf owner and unlike her plebeian son, has a fast-charging system installed in her garage.  I hadn’t really ever considered installing a fast-charger. When my car gets low on juice I just plug it in and let it sit overnight. Turns out that this practice is really bad for the battery (as we mentioned here).

“What are you going to do if there’s an emergency and you don’t have enough charge?” She asked.

“Well, I’ll take my wife’s car,” I replied calmly.

“What if she’s out of town?” Mom shot back.

“I suppose I’ll call 9-1-1,” I grinned.

The conversation didn’t progress further, but I did have to admit that she had a point. My standard level-1 charger is RIDICULOUSLY slow, often requiring 8 to 9 hours to fully charge the battery in my car. I began to wonder, would it be worth it to install a fast charger in my home?

Cost

My first and most important question about installing a fast charger in my house is obviously: what will it cost me? According to homeadvisor.com, level-2 charging stations typically cost between $500 and $700. To have an electrician come and install the equipment will cost another $1,200 to $2,000, (because let’s face it…I would just screw the whole operation up). These costs can rise if your house needs additional upgrades to accommodate the new charger. Best case scenario puts us at $1,500 to $2,000 to get the system up and running.

Do I Need It?

Before buying and installing a new charging system, Consumer Reports recommends that EV owners take inventory of their daily commute lengths and charging habits. For example, drivers who have a 20 mile round-trip daily commute but have access to a charging station at work have no need to install a level-2 charger in the home. For a driver with a 40 mile one-way daily commute and no access to a charging station at work, a level-2 charger is a must.

I use my car to drive five miles to the train station in the morning and five miles home in the evening. I will occasionally be tasked with picking the kids up after school or running errands on the weekend, but for the most part I really don’t drive my car more than ten miles in a day.

Hidden Advantages

A good point made in the Consumer Reports article that hadn’t occurred to me before was that installing a level-2 charger may make your home more valuable. As EVs become more and more ubiquitous, prospective home buyers could be swayed by an already-installed charging system. Another hidden advantage to having a level-2 charger may be efficiency. A study conducted by members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) concluded that, “On average, Level 2 charging was 5.6% more efficient than Level 1 (89.4% vs. 83.8%).” It would be nice to know that I’m not wasting electricity!

What do our readers think? Is my mom right to drag me kicking and screaming into the level-2 charger club or am I perfectly fine with my level-1? Leave us a comment below and comment on my family’s dysfunction.

Source | Image: Wikimedia Commons

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Neil Brooks
Neil Brooks is an electric vehicle owner and lover currently based in the greater Washington D.C. area. Neil is a fan of all things electric and may be the only person in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States to own both an electric leaf blower and an electric chainsaw. When he's not busy blogging about the latest on electric technology he enjoys grilling, rock climbing, and taking naps in his hammock.