With ever-fluctuating gas prices, and concerns regarding the environment, electric vehicles are becoming an increasingly common sight on our roads. It also helps that electric cars are improving year by year, and many are now capable of covering longer distances than yesteryear. There are a ton of advantages to owning an electric car as well.
Besides the huge savings you’ll make by not relying on gasoline and the benefits to the environment, you can also enjoy less frequent maintenance and lower costs. For many, electric cars are the future, and if you’re ready to make the change, it’s a good idea to understand how you’ll need to accommodate your new electric vehicle.
The first thing to consider is your garage, and how it will need to be adapted to best serve your electric car. Let’s take a look below.
Electric car charging stations currently come in 2 types: level 1 and level 2. While level 3 does exist, it’s not currently available for residential homes.
A level 1 charging station is not as powerful as level 2 one, though this is what is normally included with your vehicle as standard. Level 1 charging stations are essentially control boxes that can be plugged directly into a typical household plug socket. A separate charging cable then runs from the control box to the vehicle itself.
A level 1 charging station delivers a current of 110/120 volts (the household standard), which can charge at a rate of around 3 to 5 miles of range per hour. Therefore, it can take up to 24 hours to fully charge some vehicles. The main benefits are that it doesn’t require any additional set up, and is essentially plug-and-play. It can also be used anywhere, as long as there’s a standard socket to plug into.
A level 2 charging station is a little more practical for those using their electric cars on a daily basis. They deliver a current of 240 volts, and can charge up to 8 times faster than a level 1 charger, or around 25-30 miles of range per hour (depending on the amperage). While far quicker, they’re typically more expensive, and generally require a professional electrician to install them on a dedicated circuit.
Level 2 chargers are available in different strengths, from 16 to 80 amps. The higher the amperage, the faster your vehicle will charge. However, all-electric cars have a maximum charging capacity, and currently, it’s unlikely you’ll need more than 40 amps. But it’s worth thinking long-term; as electric car technology improves, the maximum capacity is also likely to increase.
Charging station positioning
If you opt for a level 1 charging station, positioning isn’t much of an issue, as you can use extension cords to move it to a convenient location. However, with a level 2 charging station, it’s worth considering hardwiring it into a single location. You can also plug in level 2 chargers, but you’ll need to have a 240-volt socket installed, which would probably cost more than hard-wiring the charging station on a dedicated circuit.
When placing your charging station, you’ll need to consider how long your charging cable is, where your car will be parked each day, and where the connector is on your car. The maximum length a charging cable can be is 25ft, however, you can find shorter lengths. You’ll need to ensure that your cable has some slack, around 4ft, and won’t be pulled tight every time your car is charging.
With the charging station in place, it’s also worth thinking about another quirk of electric cars. Extremely cold weather can reduce the range of electric cars, as well as the battery life over prolonged periods, so it’s a good idea to keep your garage warm. You might consider fitting some kind of climate control if you live in a colder area. It’s worth fully insulating your garage and the doors, and fitting a thermostat.