As electric vehicles (EVs) lower in price, more people are considering a switch from gas to battery power. If you get one, you may consider installing a charging station in your home. Let’s take a look at what it costs to install one, and whether you actually need one.
How Much Does Installing a Home EV Charger Cost?
The national average cost in the United States to install a level 2 home charger is $1,200, according to home renovation site Fixr. It could be lower or higher than that for you, as multiple factors affect the cost of installation, including:
- The type of charging station you install
- Whether home renovations are necessary
- Labor costs
- Permit costs
And more. It’s most practical for the majority of people to install a level 2 charger and not a level 3 DC fast charging (DCFC) station in their homes, so we’ll look mainly at those costs here.
Charging Station Type
EV chargers, also referred to as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) come in three different levels, the first two of which you’re more likely to see in the typical home. Home chargers are usually a weather-insulated box mounted to the wall that contains either a charging cable to plug into an EV or an outlet to plug a cable into.
Pretty much all EVs come with a power cord you can plug into your wall at home to get a level 1 charge. This can save you a ton of money if it’s enough to top you back up after a daily commute, but it’s also the slowest charging option available — it’ll get you about 40 miles on eight hours of charge.
Level 1 charging uses any 120-volt outlet—the standard type of electrical outlet in your home. The cost for that in 2022 will range from free if there’s one already installed to around $300 to put one in. If your daily commute is under 40 miles, and you know you can recoup at least most of the lost charge from your driving by plugging it into a level 1 outlet for a few hours, you may not need to buy a home charging station at all. One caveat here, though: if you live in a cold climate, you’ll likely use more power every day than you can replace with this level of charging.
Level 2 charging stations are more expensive, but also much faster than a level 1 wall outlet. A level 2 charger will get you around 40 miles worth of charge in an hour, so 4-6 times faster than a level 1 charge. Installation costs for a level 2 home EV charger can range from $300-$1200 on average, and they can be set up to charge one or two vehicles. You can get them mounted to the wall of your home, say in your garage, or purchase a portable one. Extras like Wi-Fi and other add-ons are available but not necessary and increase the cost. Level 2 stations require a 240-volt outlet to deliver that faster charge.
A level 3 DCFC station will run you from $12,000-$35,000 for the charger and associated hardware. That cost makes them impractical for most homeowners to install, and a level 2 station is often more than enough. DCFC home stations usually require substantial remodeling to install the electrical infrastructure necessary to funnel enough power through to your EV for an 80% charge in half an hour—around 480 volts of output.
Whether the station is hardwired into the wall or not also affects cost. It’s slightly more expensive to get a portable station, but you get the benefit of not having to pay for installation again should the station need to be replaced. Portable stations plug into a 240-volt outlet installed in the wall and can be removed, whereas hardwired stations are basically boxes attached to the wall.
Labor and Renovation Costs
Sometimes, especially if you have an older home, you might need to upgrade the electrical hardware before you can install a home EV charging station so as not to overload the circuit. As tech writer Brad Templeton outlines this in an article on the subject for Forbes:
“Older homes often have only 100 amps of service, and electrical codes don’t let you exceed a given quota of devices and loads on them…if you get 80 amps worth of 240v devices on a 100A panel you probably go over the limit. If you have things like a 30 amp dryer, a 30 amp electric oven, or an air conditioner…you can easily go over the limit.”
To solve that problem you would have to install a new power panel to bring in the necessary juice, plus run new wiring capable of carrying the load and install an outlet at the parking spot where you plan to charge the vehicle. You may also need to pay for trenching to be dug and power lines to be laid to a new outlet. All of that can get pretty expensive—Templeton quotes around $5,000.
Even if extensive renovations aren’t required, you’ll still need to pay a professional to install the equipment. Electricians charge about $40-$100 an hour for their time, so you’ll need to add that to the cost of equipment. In some cases, a slower charger that still qualifies as level 2, around 20-30amps, can be installed without the need for a new power panel, which can save you some cash.
Some homes have 240-volt circuits already, and all that’s needed is the outlet. In that case, it only costs $250-$400. If you have to run a 50 amp line and mount the outlet, it gets pricier.
Around $600 of the cost of installation on a home EV charging station comes from labor costs—about half the total price. That said, if you aren’t qualified, please do not try to do this yourself just to save some money.
When putting in an EV home charging station it has to adhere to local, state, and federal building codes. The National Electrical Code (NEC), for example, sets the guidelines at the federal level to make sure electrical projects are installed safely and operate without hazards. Depending on what permits are required in your area, the cost for them can range from $50-$160.
Some incentives are in place to help offset the cost of installation in an effort to promote greener transportation. Until 2021, the U.S. government offered an up to $1,000 tax credit toward the cost of buying and installing an EV charger at home. Some states still offer incentives, though they depend on where you live and qualifications vary by state. In Texas, for example, you can get about $250 off the cost of a level 2 or 3 home charger through the eTech program—but only if you’re an Entergy customer.
Stipulations aside, this is worth looking into if you want to bring down the cost. Clipper Creek has a website you can search to find rebates in your state. Be sure to see whether the incentives apply to level 2 stations, as some of them only apply to level 3 DCFC installation.
The Bottom Line
All told, depending on the brand of charging station you install, you’re looking at around $1,000-$1,500 total for level 2 EVSE on average. If you qualify for incentives, it could end up being less. Like most costs associated with EV ownership, it’s steep upfront. But installing one can pay off in the long run in money saved on gas and public charging stations you have to pay for.
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