Just like when we brought home our first puppy, we had to take steps to prepare for the arrival of our new four wheeled family members – a used 2015 Nissan Leaf and a new 2019 Nissan Leaf. Things needed to go smoothly for this big transition of charging a vehicle instead of relying on the instant gratification of filling up a gas tank. Planning is key for getting started and ongoing planning is key for getting the most value out of our vehicle fleet. This blog is about our experience with one important element of EV ownership . . . the home charging station.
Only slightly more complicated than installing puppy (baby) gates, installing an EV charger was the critical first step and this unglamorous but necessary part of ZEV ownership had to be done right. So we decided to outsource the work. There is permitting and other tasks we are just not qualified to do. And, Electricity!
Just like a community comes together to share advise on bringing home or housebreaking a puppy, we are sharing with you what we did at our house to prepare for two EVs.
We bought a "Like New Used" charger from Amazon: ChargePoint Home WiFi Enabled Electric Vehicle (EV) Charger - Level 2 EVSE, 240 Volt, 32 Amp Electric Car Charger, UL Listed, Energy Star Certified, Plug-in Station, 25 ft. Cable.
The charger was basically unused in an open box, still in shrink wrap and original packing - this saved us close to $100.
Consider whether having a charger with a phone App and WiFi capability is important to you. I love knowing when my car is charged so I can unplug it and possibly charge the second Leaf.
Most EVs allow you to plug in and schedule a charge and will shut off the charging when fully charged so you don't have to unplug at a certain time. Just let it run all day or overnight.
Installing the charger near the home's main electrical box is least expensive.
Your home's circuit breaker needs to have capacity to add 40 amps per EV outlet - you may not have that, we were fortunate because a home/kitchen remodel required us to upgrade the circuit breaker box.
You will need an electrician - get a free assessment and quote, we used Mr. Electric in Cary. Not all electricians are experienced with EV charging station installations.
It is not easy to advise you on how much to expect to pay for installation. There are so many variables that can make the cost between a few hundred dollars to $1,500. Getting competitive quotes is recommended.
You may need a permit and inspection from your City/Town - this is per installation so there is economy in installing two outlets at the same time for potential future use but you will need 80 amps available to do so. The economy is in the single electrician trip and labor cost and you only need one inspection.
Chargers can be hard wired or plug-in. We chose plug-in so we can take it with us if we move.
Plug-in chargers vary - some are 3 prong, some are 4 prong, each as a specific name/number designation.
Chargepoint is a 3 prong but our 2019 Nissan Leaf comes with a level 2 charger that is a 4 prong - we need to have that type of outlet for the second charger.
I really love my new baby - my 2019 Nissan Leaf. And my 16 year old son likes never having to buy gas for the 2015 Leaf he drives around town. But, there are moments that remind me of getting used to that little puppy in the house like “The car is charged. Will you please go out and unplug it?” and “I thought YOU plugged in the car.” But I’ll take that over arguing over who’s turn it is to take the dog out to potty.