How To Charge an Electric Vehicle at Home
You don’t need an advanced degree to charge an electric vehicle at home. In fact, all you need is a power outlet and the cord provided by the manufacturer. However, you have a few things to consider regarding how you charge at home, depending on your EV model, your driving habits, and available convenient public charging stations. To help you better understand the process, we had our electric vehicle experts put together this informational blog. After reading, you’ll have all the answers you need to make an informed decision.
Electric Vehicle Charging Systems
Charging your Nissan Leaf or forthcoming Nissan Ariya EV at home or at a public charging station isn’t difficult. Simply plug your EV into an outlet, and electricity transfers to the EV’s battery. There are three different charging systems you can use – Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.
Level 1 Charging
Level 1 charging offers the easiest charging at home. When you purchase a Nissan EV, we provide you with a Level 1 charging cord. This works like any other extension cord in your house, with one minor upgrade. One end plugs into a three-pronged wall outlet, while the other has a special adapter to plug into your EV. You won’t have to purchase or install a charging system, which makes it the easiest of all the systems to get started. No special permits or hiring contractors to slow you down with Level 1 charging. Just plug and charge.
However, Level 1 charging operates on your 110-volt AC home electrical system. As a result, it has the slowest recharging rate of all three systems. Depending on the size of your EV’s battery, it could take 8-12 hours or more to fully recharge your EV battery using Level 1 charging. We don’t recommend you run out and purchase a Level 2 charging system just for this reason, but you might need to eventually. More on that later.
Level 2 Charging
Level 2 charging uses 240-volt DC power to recharge your EV battery. The primary benefit of Level 2 charging is your recharge takes as little as 3-4 hours. You can purchase a Level 2 in-home charging system from the EV manufacturer as part of your purchase agreement, or you can add this at a later date if you prefer to test the Level 1 system first.
The cost to purchase and install a Level 2 charging station could run between $500-$1500, depending on where you buy the system and local labor rates. You’ll need to install a box similar to your home dryer. We recommend placing this box in a convenient location where you plan on parking your EV. Level 2 cords have one plug designed for this box and another to fit your EV. You want to ensure you purchase a cord long enough to reach from the box to your car.
Level 3 Charging
Level 3 charging also uses DC power to recharge your EV but at much higher voltages than the 240-volt Level 2 system. However, you can’t install a Level 3 charger at home because that’s too much power and unsuitable for home charging. Imagine installing a gas pump at home to refuel, and you get the idea.
You can find Level 3 charging at public stations across the country. Stations with Level 3 charging can recharge up to 80% in just 20 minutes, depending on your battery and the voltage used. Of course, 20 minutes still feels like an eternity compared to the five minutes it takes to fill your gas tank, but it affects your commute much less.
Battery Size Matters
The size of the battery in your EV affects how long it takes to recharge for obvious reasons. It takes twice as long to fill a 30-gallon tank of gas than it does to fill a 15-gallon tank. A similar principle applies to batteries. For example, the Nissan Leaf comes with either a 40-kWh or 60-kWh battery. The 60-kWh battery takes longer to recharge than the smaller one, with everything else being equal.
Larger batteries may take longer to recharge, but they also last longer before depleting. A larger battery capacity translates to a longer driving range before you need to recharge. For instance, with the 60-kWh battery, the Nissan Leaf can drive up to 212 miles on a single charge. That’s an impressive range and two to four times the average commute.
Which Level Charging Should I Use at Home?
This is a great question. You might be surprised, but many drivers can get by just fine with a Level 1 home system, particularly if you have a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. PHEVs have much smaller batteries than EVs, which you can replenish at home in a few hours or overnight. In addition, PHEVs still have the gasoline engine to fall back on. Therefore, if you don’t get a full charge at home for any reason, you won’t find yourself stranded without power. The powertrain switches to gas-only, and you can continue on your way.
Even all-electric vehicles can recharge fine using Level 1 charging if you don’t have a long daily commute. If you drive 20 miles to work and another 20 miles home, that’s only 40 miles. Using the Nissan Leaf as an example, you have up to 212 miles on a single charge, so you’ve only used one-sixth of your available power. In most cases, your Level 1 charger can replace that power in 3-4 hours.
However, the public charging station network continues to grow. In St. Louis, there are almost 1,700 charging stations, so if you need to make a pit stop for electricity, you don’t have to go too far out of your way, if at all. In addition, many companies now offer free charging while you work. Just imagine, recharging at work instead of at home would save you even more money.
If you’re interested in learning more about Nissan’s EV lineup, you can shop our inventory online. However, if you prefer a more personalized demonstration, feel free to visit us in Herculaneum at your convenience. One of our friendly, knowledgeable staff will answer all your questions and let you take your favorite EV for a test drive.