Monday, December 8, 2014

I want to buy an electric car; do I have to do anything special in my garage?


I want to buy an electric car; do I have to do anything special in my garage?


Most electric cars that are purely electric with no gas power need to be charged in your garage over night. This means that you will have to install a charging station in your garage to accommodate that procedure.

These charging stations can be 110 volt or they can be 240 volt, the 240 volt is recommend over the 110 volt because it will allow a higher voltage with less strain on the electrical line.

The way that the charging stations work in most electric cars is that the higher the output of power the faster the car will charge, the faster it charges the less time you have to wait to drive it again. Also by installing the larger voltage line with the increase charger capacity it will allow you to charge two cars at once if you decide to buy a second one in the future.

The more aggressive cars that have a high output of performance can require up to a 100 amp line in the garage. This can cause problems in most normal residential homes.

Most residential homes have a simple 200 amp panel, which means that the electrical line coming into the home is rated to service 200 amps at maximum. If half of the capacity of your panel is going to charge your car every night then you will probably end up with a scenario were you have a lack of power for the remaining appliances and fixtures in the rest of the home.

In new homes when we are told about a potential electric charging station we install a 400 amp panel, this means that the hydro line coming in from the road is sized large enough to supply a 400 amp panel. This would give you enough power that you could run everything in your home without power interruption while the car or cars are being charged.

In an existing residential home you will have to have the electrical line that feeds the home upgraded to accept a 400 amp service. This will mean that you either run a second 200 amp electric line into the residence or you replace the existing one with a 400 amp line. Then you will also have to install another 200 amp panel beside your existing 200 amp panel that is currently in your home.

Once the 80 to 100 amp line that runs to the charging station in the garage has been installed there has to be a disconnect installed beside the charging station. This allows someone to turn the power off to the charging station to work on it without the need to travel to the electrical panel to eliminate the supply.

All of this costs money, electricians do not work cheap and the cost of the larger electrical line is not cheap as well. You should be adding these costs into the overall purchase price of the car when you are contemplating which electrical car to purchase and where you plan to charge it.

Proper planning will go a long way in helping you to avoid costly mistakes or changes that cost not only money but time.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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