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Can I Install an EV Charger in My Garage?

February 27, 2024

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to install an EV charger in your garage.

The Benefits of a Home EV Charger

Having an EV charger in your garage provides several advantages:

Convenience

If you park your EV in the garage, a charger right there allows you to easily plug in whenever you return home. No more worrying about finding a public charging station or running an extension cord from another part of the house.

Faster Charging

Most EVs come with a Level 1 charger that plugs into a regular 120V outlet. However, Level 2 chargers require a 240V outlet but provide faster charging, typically adding 25 miles of range per hour. For EV owners who drive more daily miles, a Level 2 charger in the garage ensures their car is charged up for the next day.

Weather Protection

Garages protect your EV and charger from rain, snow, ice, and other elements that could make charging more difficult. You and your EV stay dry when plugging in.

Increased Home Value

An EV charger adds value for any future homeowners with an electric car. Installation in the garage keeps your home looking clutter-free for potential buyers.

EV Charger in My Garage

Factors to Consider Before Installing in Your Garage

While a garage EV charger provides benefits, there are also some downsides to weigh before deciding:

Upfront Costs

Installing an EV charger in the garage tends to cost more than other locations. The average Level 2 installation ranges from $1,500-$3,000. Costs increase if electrical upgrades are needed.

Accessibility

If your garage is detached, installing a charger gets complicated. The installation requires trenching underground lines or running exposed lines overhead to connect the power supply. If your electrical panel is inside, installing the wiring through ceilings and walls also raises costs.

Layout and Size

The size and layout of your garage impacts installation. Limited space could make using the charger difficult after installation. Consider where you park the car and route the charging cable to ensure accessibility.

Existing Electrical Infrastructure

If your garage doesn’t already have an electrical supply with space for a circuit breaker, expect added expenses for installing a new panel. Upgrading your main electrical service for higher capacity also increases costs.

Permits and Permission

Check your local building codes for permits needed to install an EV charger. If your garage is shared or part of an apartment building, you’ll need permission from owners or a homeowners association.

Garage Location Factors

If you decide to install in your garage, there are a few factors to get the best location:

Proximity to Electrical Panel

Installing close to the main electrical panel minimizes labor and material costs. Shorter wire runs involve less trenching or wiring through ceilings/walls.

Charging Cord Length

Consider the length of the charging cord on the EV charger model and your vehicle. Install near where you park the car within cord’s reach.

Height

Mount the charger 18-48 inches off the ground for easy access. Place at a height comfortable for your vehicle’s charging port location.

Clearance

Leave sufficient space around the charger for opening doors and accessing other areas of garage without tripping over cord.

Accessibility

The location should allow easy connecting and disconnecting from the vehicle when parked in garage.

Installation Process

Installing an EV charger in your garage requires careful planning, qualified electricians, and permits:

Research Local Building Codes

Research permits needed and garage EV charger requirements for your area. Planning ahead ensures up to code installation.

Hire a Licensed Electrician

Only licensed electricians have the expertise to safely install EV charging equipment. Confirm they have garage charger experience specifically.

Choose a Charger

Select the right EV charger for your needs considering power level, charging speed, cord length and wifi connectivity. All Level 2 charging plugs are standard.

Determine Electrical Upgrades

An electrician will assess your current electrical service and panel capacity to determine if upgrades are needed. This impacts cost.

Install Charger

With permits approved, the electrician trenches wiring, installs conduit, connects to electrical panel, mounts the charger unit, and completes installation.

Inspection

Your city will inspect the installation to ensure it meets National Electrical Code safety standards and local building codes.

Start Charging

Once passed, you simply plug in your EV and start conveniently charging at home. Enjoy the savings over public charging station rates.

Cost Comparison to Other Locations

Installing in the garage tends to cost more than other home locations. Here’s a typical cost comparison:

  • Garage: $1,500 – $3,000
  • Driveway: $800 – $1,800
  • Exterior wall: $300 – $800

The convenience may outweigh the higher expenses for some EV owners who park in the garage daily. For others, running a wire from the outside garage wall to a driveway location keeps costs lower.

Alternatives to Garage Installation

If installing an EV charger in your garage isn’t feasible, convenient alternatives exist:

Driveway

Installing on the driveway close to the garage provides convenience without the higher costs of running wires through garage walls and ceilings.

Exterior Outlet

If parked outside regularly, installing an outdoor outlet on the outside garage wall for plugging in works well.

Portable Charger

Portable chargers allow flexibility to charge in various locations. While pricier upfront, they avoid installation costs entirely.

Public Charging Stations

Using public charging stations, though less convenient, can supplement home charging as needed. Apps help you locate stations.

Workplace Charging

Inquire about charging at work to cover daily commuting miles. This reduces dependency on home charging needs.

Key Takeaways on Garage EV Chargers

  • Convenience is a top benefit, especially for regular garage parkers.
  • Installation costs are typically higher than other home locations.
  • Electrical upgrades can add thousands in expenses if required.
  • Carefully consider your garage space, existing electrical, and local permit requirements before installing.
  • Hire a qualified electrician experienced in EV charger installation.
  • If cost-prohibitive, consider alternative public and portable charging options.

Installing an EV charger in your garage takes careful planning but provides great convenience. Understanding the costs and installation process allows you to make the best decision for your home charging needs. With the right preparations and electrician, you can successfully install an EV charger in most garages.

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