Home Vehicle Charging: 5 Things You Should Know


Family charging vehicle

It's not surprising that more than 80% of electric vehicle drivers charge their cars at home: residential charging is convenient and inexpensive. There are a variety of options available for setting up a charging station in your garage or driveway. If you're considering buying an electric vehicle (EV), this is what you need to know about charging your car at home.

1. Charging up is affordable

Charging your EV at home allows you to take advantage of low residential electric rates. It's like always finding the cheapest gas station in town — in your own garage! Fully charging an electric vehicle costs about the same as running a central air conditioner for six hours, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

2. You don't need a charging station

If you're considering buying an electric car, you're probably making plans to charge it in your garage. But you don't need to install a special outlet or elaborate equipment. Most EVs come with a Level 1 charging cord that plugs into a standard, 120-volt household outlet. For maximum safety, use or install an outlet on a dedicated circuit that doesn't supply other appliances or lights.

3. A variety of charging options are available

If you decide to install a charger, you've got options. As EV use increases in popularity, the number of products and services available to support such vehicles is also growing. There's a wide variety of Level 2 charging equipment on the market, including models with display screens and smartphone apps. Although EV charging stations are usually installed in garages, there are also outdoor-rated charging stations that can be installed in driveways.

4. Home charging is safe

Charging your EV is just as safe as using other large appliances. EV connectors contain a communications port, allowing your vehicle to communicate with the charging station and cut off the power flow when it's not needed. Otherwise, just keep the charging cord in a safe place so it doesn't get damaged. Make sure your charging station is installed according to the latest safety codes by a qualified electrician.

5. Financial incentives are available for installing charging stations

A federal tax credit is available that cover up to 30% of the total installed cost of a residential EV charging station, subject to a maximum of $1,000. State and local incentives may also be available. Search the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency for incentives that may be available in your area.

Electric vehicles offer a number of benefits, including lower cost of ownership and reduced carbon emissions. Add to that the convenience of "fueling up" at home. EV drivers can take advantage of low residential electric rates and charge their cars from the comfort of their own garages.