Virtually all electric vehicle (EV) buyers will receive a Level 1 home charging cable with the purchase of their vehicle (although some car companies have stopped including them with the purchase of a new vehicle unless drivers opt to spend extra).
For some, these Level 1 chargers will be good enough for their at-home charging purposes, but other drivers will opt to upgrade to a Level 2 charging station for added speed and convenience.
If you are one of the EV owners who has opted to purchase and install a Level 2 charging station in your home, these are a few tips and tricks that you can use to get the most return from your EV charging investment.
Schedule Charging During Off-Peak Hours
A Level 2 home charger, like the Blink HQ 200, allows users to schedule their charging times. That means even if your vehicle is plugged in and ready to charge, you can have your charger wait until a designated time to start the flow of power and shut it off at a certain time.
Being able to control when your vehicle charges mean you can take advantage of off-peak charging rates. Many electrical companies throughout the country offer lower rates on EV charging if it’s done during off-peak hours, which are generally during the evenings, overnight, and on the weekends.
Choose a Plug-In Charger if You’re Expecting To Move
Level 2 home charging units come in two different types: hardwired or plugin.
Hardwired charging stations are wired straight into your home’s electrical system and they require a certified electrician to install them. Hardwiring it into your home’s electricity essentially means it’s there permanently, as a fixture. If you move, you will have to leave your charging unit behind.
Plug-in chargers, on the other hand, only require a 240-volt outlet and a dedicated circuit. This means if you have one installed and you end up moving, you can simply unplug the unit and take it with you, saving you from having to purchase another one if your new home does not come with an EV charging solution.
You may not be able to go with the plug-in option all the time. For example, if you don’t have a protected area for your charging station, like a garage, it may be safer to have it hardwired.
Also, while Level 2 plugin chargers are capable of being disconnected and moved, they’re not really designed to be disconnected often. Like your oven or dryer (which also likely use 240-volt outlets) they are meant to be plugged in and left there unless absolutely necessary, like if you’re moving.
Buy the Highest Amperage Charging Unit Within Your Budget
Buying a high-amperage Level 2 charger will prepare you for potential future upgrades to your EV.
To explain this point, first, we need to illustrate how your EV battery actually gets charged.
All EV chargers are inside the EVs themselves. Level 1, Level 2, and Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFCs) – despite often being called “chargers” – are more akin to tools that move power from the electricity source to the charger, which, again, is built into the vehicle.
The speed that your EV charges depend on the power capacity of the built-in charger (how many kilowatts it can draw) and the power supply of the EV charging unit (its voltage and amperage). Estimate your EV charge times with our intuitive EV charge-time calculator.
Jonathan Elfalan with Edmunds has a great analogy for explaining the relationship between volts, amps, and kilowatts:
“It’s probably easiest to think of volts and amps in the context of a water hose. Voltage is your water pressure, amperage is the diameter of your hose, and the water flowing through is power, in this case, measured in kilowatts. All Level 2 Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment are built to work at 240 volts, but they are sold in a variety of amperage ratings to suit the power needs of different cars.”
Regardless of the amperage of your charging station, your EVs onboard charger will only draw as much power as the battery can handle onboarding.
Here is an example:
- EV 1 has a 7.2 kW onboard charger. This means the maximum power it can draw is 7.2 kW and the maximum amperage of the charging unit only needs to be 30 amps.
- EV 2 has an 11kW onboard charger, meaning it can handle a charging unit with an amperage of 48.
If you used a 30 amp or 48 amp charging station to charge EV 1, it would work exactly the same because the charger can only draw a fixed maximum amount of power from the charging station and 30 amps covers the amount of power the charger can draw.
However, if you charged EV 2 with a 30 amp charging unit, it would not be able to draw the maximum amount of power that it can handle because of the low amperage. It would be better to charge EV 2 with a 48 amp charging unit.
So, you may as well buy the highest amp Level 2 charging unit that you can, because if your next EV purchase has a higher capacity battery than your current EV, you will essentially “future-proof” your EV charging by opting for the highest amperage available within your budget.
Be a Neighborhood Hero
Not everyone with an EV is going to have a Level 2 charging station installed at home. If there are few charging options near where you live, you can invite your friends and neighbors to charge their EVs more quickly at your place.
Whether you charge your visitors or not is up to you!
With a Level 2 charger like the HQ 200, you can future-proof your EV installation further. A smart charger like the HQ 200 allows you to charge multiple vehicles at the same time, on the same electrical circuit – saving on installation costs. That’s because the Blink HQ 200 has load-sharing capabilities.
When you are ready to level up your home EV charging solution to a Level 2 charging station, Blink Charging is here to help you pick out the perfect unit. We have a variety of residential Level 2 EV chargers so you can find the perfect Level 2 home charger.