With over 10 million electric vehicles on the road in the U.S. as of 2022, there are several questions people have. One of the biggest questions people are wondering is what happens when the public charging stations fill up? Can residential electric vehicle charging stations take over from them and do the same job?
We have put together a full guide to residential charging stations for you below. By the end of this piece, you should have a good idea of how they work, what your options for them are, and what it takes to use one. As such, before you pick up your own electric vehicle, it might be a good idea to read on.
How Residential Charging Stations Work
EV charging at home is possible with a charging station that you can either install in your house or carry around as a portable unit. As it is so convenient, you do not need to fill up your electricity at a charging station like you used to go to the gas station.
To charge at a residential charging station, you only need to secure the charger's plug in your vehicle's socket. The vehicle will then display as charging and how full the charge is, and if you have a linked app, this should display the charging level too.
There are different types of plugs that charging stations use. Make sure that you are aware of them and which are compatible with your vehicle.
Although, the plug shape is only different at level three charging stations, which are rarely kept in the home. See below for more information on level three charging.
Types of Charging Station
There are three different types of stations available for electric vehicle charging. At each higher level, the speed of charging increases as the power output increases.
Below, we have listed the three different EV charging stations and what the differences are.
Level One Charging Stations
Level One charging is akin to plugging your vehicle into a traditional household socket. Many vehicles come with an adapter to do exactly that. These are usually used in the case of emergency or needing a kick-start to get to the closest dedicated charger.
Because it is using a standard socket, only a small amount of power flows into the vehicle while you have it plugged in. The maximum output of such a charger is only 2.3kW, and so one hour of charge will likely grant you between four and five miles of range. Thus, when plugged in, you might need almost a full day, if not more, to charge your vehicle to completion.
If you only travel a few miles every day, this might be more than enough for many people. Although should you often commute long distances; you will need to find alternatives.
The benefit of level one charging stations is mostly their ubiquity. Despite dedicated chargers being across the country, sometimes you may need a little help, and a normal plug socket can provide that.
Level Two Charging Stations
As the next step up in charging an electric vehicle, level two chargers provide a faster method of getting back on the road. These are the standard chargers you see in the home, at the office, or outside large buildings such as malls and blocks of flats. Despite being more powerful than level one chargers, though, their output is not always equal.
At the very least, these chargers can output 3.7kW, although they can go up to 22kW depending on the electricity supply. This means that they can charge a vehicle in only a matter of hours.
Level Three Charging Stations
Level three chargers are also known as "fast chargers". This is because of their extremely high power output that can charge vehicles in a matter of minutes rather than hours. They are often found in public spaces or commercial locations and are in high demand.
Because of their extreme power output, they are very large and also expensive. This means that they are rarely used as a residential electric vehicle charger. Although exceptions exist.
How Much Does It Cost to Charge?
The answer to this question is as difficult to answer as "how long is a piece of string?" because of the drastic differences between different states. On top of that, it can even depend on when you decide to charge the vehicle, with peak electricity rates kicking in at different times.
Although, you should note that, on average, an electric vehicle costs around $60 to charge each month. The amount that you spend depends very much on how often you charge it, though. Despite this, such prices fall way short of the $150-£200 that most Americans spend every month on gas.
How Long Does It Take to Charge?
As seen above, the charge time of an electric vehicle depends largely on the type of charger that you are using. Although, on top of that, you should be aware that the vehicle you are using can also have an effect.
Powerful, long-range EVs are much more likely to have bigger batteries. These will need a lot more charging than smaller vehicles designed for inner-city travel.
The level one charger should put a vehicle back to 100% of charge within 24 hours, though. While a level three charger can do the same in the time, it takes you to pick up your groceries and return to your vehicle.
Is It Safe to Charge a Car Alone?
When you charge an electric vehicle, the onboard system will detect how full the battery is and only accept more charge while the battery can hold it. At the point where the battery gets to 100% power, the system detects that it is full and stops. For this reason, there is no need to keep a vehicle plugged in long past the time it is full, but it is unlikely to be dangerous.
Despite this lack of danger, leaving a battery fully-charged for long periods can cause other problems. While there is no safety concern, full battery cells are likely to wear out faster than empty ones.
Thus, some people recommend that you charge your battery to only around 50% of its full power before you plan to leave for long periods. For example, before you go on holiday.
You should also not leave your battery discharged for long periods either. If you do not keep some charge in the car, it will not be able to continue to run many of the car's onboard functions. Thus, keeping a small amount of juice in the batteries ensures a positive experience for you as a driver.
Can I Charge My Car in the Rain?
There should be no problem with charging your electric vehicle while it is raining. The residential EV chargers are robust devices that their creators designed with the elements in mind.
The plugs, cables, and connectors are all well-insulated from outside influences. This means they are unlikely to be affected by water and are even less likely to short circuit or spark.
Despite this, it is always safe to be careful when using electricity. Try to ensure that your vehicle is securely within a garage or other covered area before you charge it.
How to Be Safe when Using Charging Stations
There are several things that you can do to ensure that you remain safe when using an electric vehicle charging station. These apply to both you and the rest of your family, as well as others who might use the vehicle.
First of all, you should make sure that you keep your charging unit and any charging cords out of the reach of children. If this is not possible, you should try to lock the door of your garage when you can to ensure that children do not have access to the area during charging.
You should also make sure that you hire a qualified electrician to install any charger you put in your home. These devices are very dangerous if they are not installed correctly. Not only that, but your insurance may not cover you if you do not get a qualified worker to do the job and something goes wrong.
Finally, if your vehicle shows any slowness in its charge or other issues, check it to see if something is wrong. If you cannot find a fault, take it to get checked as soon as possible. There may be a problem that you do not see at first but may cause further issues down the line.
More On Residential Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
With the above guide, you should have a good idea of how residential electric vehicle charging stations can help you out. If you are investigating a charging station for your own home, you might still have a few questions that need answering. This is why we have people on standby ready to help.
Our team is available to help you find the perfect charging station for your home. You can contact us at any point to get more information about installation, and we will help you out. So, send us a message and see what we can do for you.