As electric vehicles (EVs) become popular, more and more Ottawa families are bringing home their first EVs, and are looking to charge their vehicles quickly at home. As an Ottawa based electrical contractor, at McGowan Electric we receive hundreds of inquiries to install EV chargers / EV charging stations in Ottawa, and it's quite surprising what the dealerships don't mention before customers take their new vehicle home.
EV owners are much less satisfied with dealership service than owners of internal combustion cars. One part of this dissatisfaction is because the dealerships don't properly explain to customers the costs and work involved to install EV chargers in their home. In this post, McGowan Electric explains what you need to know about home EV chargers.
What you need to know before you purchase and install your EV charger
1. EV chargers should be installed by a licensed electrical contractor
Safety: To protect your home and your EV, it's important to have the EV charger installed by a licensed electrician with knowledge on EVs. If you use an incompatible or incorrectly installed charger, it may damage your new vehicles battery.
Warranty and Certification: Certified electricians are knowledgeable about warranty considerations related to EV charging stations. It's important to note that McGowan electric cannot warranty a charger that we did not supply. We also cannot install chargers that are not CSA or ULc approved - these types of chargers could also be unsafe for your vehicle.
4. Not all EV Charging Stations are equal
You are buying an expensive EV - you don't want to cheap out on your charger. Cheap generic brand EV chargers from Amazon or other overseas suppliers will not work as well as a quality charger and could damage your vehicle.
Charging efficiency can also vary between different chargers, so it's essential to choose an efficient model to minimize energy costs.
Home EV chargers often come equipped with safety features such as ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and overcurrent protection. These features enhance safety during charging and help prevent electrical hazards. Your technician can explain these features to you during installation.
Different types of EV chargers are not compatible with all vehicles - McGowan can help by verifying compatibility.
2. You will need sufficient electrical service: it may require an upgrade
In Ottawa and surrounding areas, some homes may not have sufficient electrical service to accommodate the installation of an electric vehicle (EV) charger without an upgrade. The electrical demand of an EV charging station, especially a Level 2 charger, requires a dedicated circuit and higher power capacity.
If you do not have sufficient electric service, you may need to upgrade your service. This is something your electrical contractor can take care of! A certified electrician will identify and advise on any necessary upgrades to avoid overloading your electrical system.
Alternatively, another solution McGowan Electric can offer is outfitting your home with an Electric Vehicle Energy Management System (EV EMS), which can vary the output of the charger based on the electrical load from your other household appliances.
It really depends on your specific home:
Some older homes may actually have sufficient electrical capacity as they previously had baseboard heaters. However, some older homes were built with electrical systems designed to meet the needs of earlier technologies and appliances and would require an upgrade.
Many newer homes are only built with 100amp service. Depending on what else is on your panel, you may not have enough capacity.
3. You will need space on your electrical panel
If you do not have enough space on your electrical panel to accommodate the circuit breaker for the EV charger, but you do have enough capacity, you will need to add a sub-panel. This is a much more minor upgrade.
4. Both EVs and plug-in hybrids benefit from a Level 2 charger
A plug-in hybrid can take up to 12 hours to charge with a Level 1 charger. Level 2 chargers are significantly faster and ideal for charging at home.
6. Networked or Smart EV Chargers can increase energy efficiency and convenience
Many home EV chargers offer smart charging features, allowing you to schedule charging times, monitor energy usage, and even integrate with renewable energy sources or smart home systems.
7. Placement is important
EV chargers can be installed outdoors or in a garage. Choosing the correct location can reduce installation costs, and can increase convenience and safety. McGowan can help you to place the charger for maximum convenience, safety and versality.
Ready to contact McGowan? Visit our EV Charger page to fill in our easy estimate form.
What are the different types of chargers?
Level 1 Charger
Requires a standard 120-volt outlet - suitable for home use, may require professional installation
Charges 8km per hour
Takes 12- 20 hours to fully charge a battery EV
Takes 6-12 hours to fully charge a plug-in hybrid
Level 2 Charger
Requires a 240-volt outlet - suitable for home use with professional installation
Charges 30km per hour
Takes 6-14 hours to fully charge a battery EV
Takes 4-8 hours to fully charge a plug-in hybrid
Level 3 / DC Fast Charger
Uses a direct current connection to an electrical system - generally found in public locations
Charge 200km per hour
Takes 1-4 hours to fully charge a battery EV
Takes 15 minutes to 3 hours for a plug-in hybrid