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It's not surprising that more than 80% of electric vehicle (EV) drivers charge their EVs at home: residential charging is convenient and inexpensive. There are a variety of options available for setting up a charging station in your garage or driveway. If you're considering buying an EV, this is what you need to know about charging an EV from home.
Charging your EV at home allows you to take advantage of low residential electric rates. It's like always finding the cheapest gas station in town — in your own home! Fully charging an EV costs about the same as running a central air conditioner for six hours, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
If you're considering buying an EV, you're probably making plans to charge it in your home. But you don't need to install a special outlet or elaborate equipment. Most EVs come with a Level 1 charging cord that plugs into a standard, 120-volt household outlet. For maximum safety, use or install an outlet on a dedicated circuit that doesn't supply other appliances or lights.
It can take as long as 20 to 30 hours to fully charge an EV with Level 1 charging. You can charge your EV three to four times faster by installing a 240-volt, Level 2 charger. Although your home probably has 240-volt service for a clothes dryer or electric range, you'll need a dedicated circuit for your EV charger. Don't install it yourself; hire a licensed electrician. Level 2 charging stations cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 and if they are ENERGY STAR® certified, qualify for a $250 SWEPCO incentive.
As EV use increases in popularity, the number of products and services available to support EVs is also growing. There's a wide variety of Level 2 charging equipment on the market, including models with display screens and smartphone apps. Although Level 2 EV charging stations are usually installed in garages, there are also outdoor-rated Level 2 charging stations that can be installed in driveways.
Charging your EV is just as safe as using other large appliances. EV connectors contain a communications port, allowing your vehicle to communicate with the charging station and cut off the power flow when it's not needed. Otherwise, just keep the charging cord in a safe place so it doesn't get damaged.
EVs offer a number of benefits, including lower cost of ownership and reduced carbon emissions. Add to that the convenience of "fueling up" at home. EV drivers can take advantage of low residential electric rates and charge from the comfort of their own homes.
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