I tried charging an EV at home and it was a shock I wasn't expecting

Page 4 - Seeking answers? Join the Tom's Guide community: where nearly two million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.
May 28, 2024
1
0
10
reading all these articles about how difficult it is to charge an EV at home is silly. The details of how hard it is for a 220 - 240 v service shows a complete level of ignorance regarding what a basic home includes. Do these authors know that every home already has several 220 - 240 volt appliances such as a stove, dryer, water heaters, and air conditioners. In most cases you need an electrician to add another outlet. Whether a permit is needed or not is just another regular day for them.

Imagine if a slew of articles cropped up dismaying how difficult life if using a 120 volt hot plate vs a regular electric range. Quit playing into the petro lovers and lets move forward.

Lastly, most EV's come with a 220- 240 charger. Some even allow both voltage settings like the Ford Mustangs.
 
Aug 10, 2023
2
0
10
Everybody who follows EVs and does a smidge of research knows there are 3 levels of charging: Level 1, 120v household outlet. Level 2, which is 240 volts. Finally, level 3 which is DC supercharging, unlike the first 2 which are AC charging. Also, DC supercharging is not available for home installation. It is available in commercial, municipal areas as well as rest stops.
 

john_velasco

Great
Feb 29, 2024
29
4
85
The level onr charger that's comes with the Ioniq 6 is terrible the default setting is very low amps. If you change the setting you will get closer to 60 miles over night which is much more like what you'd need for a daily commute. I love my Ioniq 6. There are some really great deals on level 2 chargers all the time.
I realized this after my testing once I experienced another EV, the Kia EV9, constantly tripping the outlet. I suspect that the Ioniq 6 would've charge faster at a higher current.
 

john_velasco

Great
Feb 29, 2024
29
4
85
What did you expect? Treat the domestic plug in as an emergency only. 120V is barely adequate to charge an iPhone.
A dedicated home charger will fill your battery overnight and should be factored in when you buy the car unless you are lucky enough to have one at home already.
I agree about getting a Level 2 charger installed, but for those who don't want the extra cost (plus permit in some instances), they might lean on Level 1 charging instead. If it charges enough to get you through your normal commute, then why not stick with it if it means less out of pocket cost?
 
May 28, 2024
1
0
10
The level onr charger that's comes with the Ioniq 6 is terrible the default setting is very low amps. If you change the setting you will get closer to 60 miles over night which is much more like what you'd need for a daily commute. I love my Ioniq 6. There are some really great deals on level 2 chargers all the time.
Exactly. I have an Ioniq 6 and that 120v outlet cable was uselesss. I had a ChargePoint level 2 charger installed and I get about 11% charge per hour. It's not the 1% per minute you can get at a high power Volta charger, but it's fine for home. You can definitely get a full charge overnight, regardless of what level you were at.
 
May 29, 2024
1
0
10
Manufacturers make it very clear that the cable plus domestic plug route is for emergency use only, it's not suitable for long term usage.

One big advantage of home charging - even though it's slower - is the very cheap rates available for overnight charging. I pay around 5p/kWh, so my 64kWh Kona charges to 100% from empty for around £5. I only use super chargers when I'm away from home, but the 320 mile range makes that very rare.

I'd never rely upon 120v charging, it's fine for emergency, but a deal breaker as your "normal" use.
 

john_velasco

Great
Feb 29, 2024
29
4
85
This should not have been a shock. Level 1 charging can work if you have a short commute and if your charge every night to replace the miles you drove that day. Otherwise, you need a Level 2 charger. I have a Bolt EUV. GM gave me a $1,000 credit toward having a Level 2 charger installed (or more accurately, the outlet for it) in my garage. The credit fully covered the cost. I live in an old house and the best we could do was a 20 amp dedicated circuit. So I bought a 16 amp Level 2 charger and I have no complaints about charging overnight.
Good to know it covered the cost. Was there an additional cost for a permit?
 

john_velasco

Great
Feb 29, 2024
29
4
85
Good to know. I think for the new
Level 1 is not shocking that it's slow. It should only be used for when you really really need to add a few miles.. Whether it be an emergency or just a small commute
If you're going to buy an EV, you should really invest in a level 2 charger as well. Also, check local incentives. My city was offering a rebate at the time and I ended up paying $0 for the charger and installation. They covered the permit cost as well. Some car companies also cover installation as well and I could have also went with GMs offer if I had to
This would be the next step. I'd be curious what the buying experience is like at dealerships. For example, do they educate shoppers on small details like charging speeds.
 

john_velasco

Great
Feb 29, 2024
29
4
85
If you can charge at home you should and it should always be done with a Level 2 EVSE. If you can afford to buy the car you can afford to put in a proper EVSE. It's not expensive. My electrician charged me $750 to run a 60A 240V line and hook up my 11KW Tesla EVSE. That's the same as the optional paint colors for a Tesla.
Unless you have no means of charging at home you should never use Superchargers as your primary means of charging, those are for road trips. It's bad for the battery and it's a huge waste of time. It's not just the time it takes to charge, it's the time it takes to get to and from the Supercharger. Plugging in at home is the biggest benefit of owning an EV because it only takes 10 seconds of your time, there is no weekly gas station trip. Going to a Supercharger for your weekly charge is worse because there are fewer of them so they are not as likely to be conveniently located as your local gas station.
I agree about charging at home the majority of time. You also make a good point about traveling to/from a supercharger, that's extra waste that drivers could be saving (unless in dire circumstances)
 
Jan 18, 2024
3
2
15
Sorry, but it should be common sense that it would take a long time to charge a massive car battery from a standard outlet. Consider that it takes an hour or two to fully charge your phone. A car battery, even to a lay person, is many hundreds of times larger that a phone battery.

Obviously, if you're going to get an EV and want to charge at home (which you should want to do), you'd get a proper outlet and/or charger installed.
 

Haggemano

Estimable
Mar 25, 2020
12
3
4,565
My initial reaction was the same as many of the commenters. However, after thinking about it, I thought a few points needed clarification.

There are definitely situations where people can get by with just a Level 1 charger and their home's power outlet. Many homes, especially garages, have 20A breakers for outlets. You can check your breaker box to see how much capacity you have. However, the capacity of the Level 1 charger depends on the brand of the charger and the settings in the car. Most should allow you to get 3-5 miles of added range per hour of charging.

Chargers have no idea what the capacity is of your wiring or your breaker. However, for safety reasons, if you use an extension cord with a charger, you want to ensure it is rated for the current load and length of the cord. For example, a 10ft cord carrying 20 amps doesn't require as thick wire as a 100ft cord carrying the same amperage. See the charts at this link.

In general, if your daily drive is less than about 30 miles (this varies a lot depending on car, charger and settings), you could get by with Level 1 charging if you plug in whenever you're home. You'd want to keep the car charged to 70-80%, run it down during your daily drive, then bring it back up when not in use. Level 1 chargers will give you 3-5 miles per hour of charging, and since most cars sit at home for 8-12 hours per day, you'll be able to replenish 24 (=3x8) to 60 (=5x12) miles of range. If you keep the car at about 80%, you'll have plenty of range if you need to drive more one day. Conversely, if you don't drive one day, you'll be able to add more range. So, for people with short daily usage (i.e. an around town vehicle for shopping etc.), there's little problem sticking with a Level 1 charger. I did this for several years with a couple different EVs and a Chevy Volt (that I only ran on battery 99% of the time). It worked great but required some planning.

However, the convenience of having the speed of a Level 2 charger is well worth the added expense for most EV owners. Being able to fully charge over night is very convenient so you do not have to balance your daily charging regimen with your usage. You just plug it in when the range drops below your comfort zone, knowing that you'll be back up to full capacity the next morning.
The charger itself is built into the car. The charging equipment that people use, whether it be wall mounted or plugged in, exists to do a handshake, let the car know exactly what the capacity of the wiring and breaker are, and then to activate the contactors to let the current flow after a successful handshake. For plug in charging equipment, there are often swappable wall plugs. These do more than just supply different shaped prongs. They let the charger know which type of outlet the plug was designed for, which tells the car what sort of breaker is in use and the voltage, etc. While it's possible for someone to change breakers illegally, making you technically correct, in real life it's doubtful that the car won't know what it's hooked up to. But even at that, you could say that it can't be certain rather than that it doesn't know.

Furthermore, cars typically start out at low amps, check the status of the connection and step up until it reaches the maximum that the plug is rated for, unless it detects an anomaly such as a voltage drop or other problem.
 

Haggemano

Estimable
Mar 25, 2020
12
3
4,565
It
Sorry, but it should be common sense that it would take a long time to charge a massive car battery from a standard outlet. Consider that it takes an hour or two to fully charge your phone. A car battery, even to a lay person, is many hundreds of times larger that a phone battery.

Obviously, if you're going to get an EV and want to charge at home (which you should want to do), you'd get a proper outlet and/or charger installed.
It doesn't matter how massive the battery is. What matters is how many miles of range was used since the last charge and what needs to be replenished. If a person drives 32 miles per day, and the car can add 5 miles of range per hour with L1, then an overnight charge will take a bit over six hours, while an L2 might be well under an hour.

For people who don't drive much on non-road trips, especially if they don't have time of use rates so they don't have to wait until the night to start charging, L1 could be sufficient. It's a moot point on road trips since they won't be home.

If you have a massive battery with 520 miles of range, you start with an 80% charge and drive 30 miles, it would be no different from starting off with a battery with a 150 mile range and driving 30 miles that day.