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What’s New with EV Chargers

Ask This Old House master electrician, Heath Eastman, and home technology expert, Ross Trethewey, discuss the progression of electric vehicle chargers and the role they imagine EV chargers will play in homes in the future.

In this video, master electrician Heath Eastman and home technology expert Ross Trethewey discuss electric vehicle chargers with This Old House host Kevin O’Connor. Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular, and Heath has been getting many calls for charger installations from both homeowners and car dealerships. A lot of these calls are from people who don’t currently own electric cars but are planning for the future.

Ross and Heath explain the levels of EV chargers and share what they think people should have installed in their homes. The two also make some predictions about where electric vehicle installations are headed and how our garages and driveways might look different sometime in the future.

Before You Install an EV Charger

  1. EV chargers are NOT homeowner or DIY-friendly.
  2. GFCI protection is required.
  3. Needs a bigger feed cable to accommodate higher amperage.

Electric Vehicle Charging Levels

Level 1: Low voltage (120V) and low amperage. 4-5 miles per hour of charge; Will come with the purchase of an electric vehicle.

Level 2: Higher voltage (240V) and higher amperage. It speeds up the charging capacity, so the vehicle can be fully charged in half the time. 15-30 miles per hour of charge, which is about the same amount of power as an electric stove or a dryer. Note: Heath and Ross recommend this level.

Level 3: DC power. Can charge a vehicle very quickly but too intense for your average home. 15-30 minutes to fully charge the car. Currently seen at charging stations at rest areas.


Resources

Working with the electric panel and high voltage wiring associated with electric vehicles can be dangerous, so Heath recommends that EV chargers should only be installed by licensed professionals.

Heath and Ross discussed a variety of topics related to electric vehicle chargers. In general, Level 1 EV Chargers will come with the purchase of an electric vehicle. Level 2 chargers, and the variety of materials associated with an installation, can be found at home centers and electric supply stores.