How to buy and install an EV home charger

An internet search will turn up loads of sites that rank home chargers. For a comprehensive overview of what’s available, Veloz, an EV advocacy site, is a good first step.

Level 2 charger prices range from nearly $300 to well over $1,000. The bigger your car battery, the more expensive your charger is likely to be. Veloz pegs the typical cost of installation around $500. It can be lower or it can cost several thousand dollars, depending on how your home’s electrical system is configured and whether you need a 240v outlet installed.

Unless you are well versed in volts and amps and kilowatts and kilowatt hours, you should ask an electrician or someone with expertise in the area for advice before you choose your charger. The requirements of your car’s battery and the configuration of your home electrical system are major factors in charger choice.

You’ll also have to ask yourself how important it is to be able to control charging times through a charger’s software, allowing you to take advantage of your utility’s variable time-of-day electric rates and potentially prolong your battery’s life. Many experts suggest you not fill your battery all the way full because that can degrade performance. Charger software can set a limit at, say, 90% full.

You’ll also need to know whether you want to install the charger inside a garage or outdoors — many chargers are advertised as weatherproof.

Which brand is best? After spending much time comparing models online, I found a ChargePoint model that topped many best-of lists and tried to buy one. Alas, ChargePoint told me I couldn’t expect the charger to arrive for at least several weeks. Popularity has its price.

My neighbor bought a charger from Wallbox and got it in a couple of days. I did too. The reviews were good. It’s working fine so far, although the software interface could be much improved. I paid $649 plus tax.

Electric panel on a wall

We needed to buy new circuit breakers and reconfigure the amperage allocation in our old garage’s electric panel.

(Russ Mitchell / Los Angeles Times)

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