October 10, 2022
In most cases, you won't need an electrical service upgrade for EV charger installation. However, your home does need to have sufficient electrical service capacity and breaker space to safely install an EV charger. Most homes have an electrical service of between 100 to 200 amps. This is the maximum electrical current that your utility can send to your home. We’ll produce a electrical load calculation based on your home’s square footage and existing appliances to determine if a Level 2 charger can be safely installed.
If your home has insufficient breaker space to install an EV charger, we’ll help you determine if it’s best to:
If your home has insufficient electrical capacity to install an EV charger, we’ll help you determine if an electrical service upgrade is necessary. While expensive, some homeowners select this option so they have capacity to add more electrical appliances (e.g. electric water heater, heat pump HVAC systems, induction stove, etc.) in the future. If you only plan to install an EV charger, the following options may help you avoid a service upgrade:
If your home has some excess electrical capacity, but not enough to install an EV charger at the maximum amperage it can draw, you may be able to configure your EV charger to draw a lower, safe maximum amperage e.g. 32A instead of 40A. This can be done via hardware on some chargers like the Grizzl-E Classic. The major tradeoff of setting a lower amperage is slower charging speed.
The NeoCharge Smart Splitter is a good solution for homes that have existing 240V outlet that can be shared between an existing appliance (e.g. a dryer) and an EV charger. Read our NeoCharge Smart Splitter guide to decide if this is a good solution for you.
If you don’t have an existing 240V outlet that can be shared, the next option would be to explore if an energy management solution can be installed in your existing electrical panel. These solutions require current transformers (CTs) to be installed, which can be done on most top-fed or bottom-fed electrical panels. However, they CANNOT be installed on most center-fed electrical panels.
The most affordable energy management solution is Wallbox Power Boost, which involves installing a Wallbox Pulsar Plus EV Charger with a Wallbox Power Meter. This solution dynamically balances load between your EV and your home to charge at the maximum safe speed. While many appliances are turned on, the system slows EV charging. When appliances are turned off, power is redirected to your EV. This solution requires two double-pole breakers: one for the Pulsar Plus EV Charger and one for the Power Meter.
If you’d like to use an alternative EV charger, the best energy management solution is the DCC. It’s a bit more expensive to install, but more flexible and works with any charger. The DCC monitors overall power consumption of your home and temporarily deactivates EV charging when load exceeds a safe threshold (~80%). Two primary options are available for residential installations, depending on available breaker space:
Navigating all of these options can be complex, so Treehouse has developed software to assist you with this process.