January 4, 2023
Congratulations on your new EV! You’ll now need to decide where and how you’ll charge your vehicle. According to the US Department of Energy, 80% of EV charging is done at home or while a car is parked during the workday. While you can charge your vehicle by plugging it into a standard 120V home outlet (known as Level 1 charging), this only adds 3-5 miles of range per hour of charge and takes several days to fully recharge your EV.
The best and fastest option for most people is to install Level 2 charging via a 240V circuit, which provides 20-40 miles of range per hour of charge and fully recharges your EV overnight. JD Power’s Electric Vehicle Experience Ownership Study found that EV drivers who installed Level 2 charging reported significantly higher satisfaction vs. drivers who relied on Level 1 charging at home.
We’ll guide you through the decisions you’ll need to make to get Level 2 charging installed at home and provide helpful tips to save you money. Ready? Let’s begin.
The three most important considerations when choosing a Level 2 charger are price, the ability to schedule charging overnight when electricity prices are lowest, and charging speed. The best decision for you depends on your preferences and your EV model.
While all EVs come with a Level 1 mobile charger, some include a Level 2 adapter that you can use instead of purchasing a separate, wall-mounted charger. This requires installing a 240 volt NEMA 14-50 outlet. We don't recommend this option because it is more costly and less reliable than installing a hardwired charger. National Electric Code requires NEMA 14-50 outlet to be installed with GFCI breakers when placed in a garage or outdoors. This can lead to unexpected nuisance tripping since there is already GFCI protection built into most EV chargers and vehicles.
Some vehicles allow you to schedule a charge directly with your car’s infotainment system or mobile app. However, if your vehicle doesn’t have this capability built in, you’ll need a wifi-enabled smart charger like the highly rated Wallbox Pulsar Plus to schedule charging when your electricity rates are lowest. For the average US driver, scheduled charging can save up to $600 annually.
Finally, you may be able to increase your charging speed by installing a hardwired high-amperage Level 2 charger, like the Tesla Wall Connector. This option varies by vehicle since some have a maximum power input limit below what these high-amperage chargers can deliver.
Treehouse can help you navigate these complexities and recommend the best solution based on your preferences and vehicle.
Your next step is to determine where you’d like to mount your EV charger. Most people install their charger in their garage or outside near their parking location. Place it where you can easily reach the charge port on your vehicle with the charging cable (which is typically 25 ft long). Consider where the port is located on your vehicle and if you’ll need to park any differently. If you’re installing a smart charger, make sure that charger will be in range of your home WiFi.
To safely install your charger, we’ll place a new circuit breaker in your closest electrical panel and run wiring from the panel to the EV charger or outlet location. The length and complexity of the wire run (e.g. if the wire must run through an attic or crawlspace) impact installation costs, with shorter and less complex wire runs being less expensive.
Many local utility providers and air quality management districts (AQMDs) offer significant rebates to make Level 2 charger installation more affordable. These programs typically provide a fixed dollar amount or percent-of-cost rebate in the form of a check or utility bill credit. However, most programs have very specific requirements. Some offer charger-only rebates while other programs will also cover installation costs. They may also have different rebate amounts for WiFi-enabled smart chargers vs. simple chargers. Finally, some programs issue higher rebates if you are income-qualified or belong to a designated disadvantaged community (DAC).
The US Federal Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Tax Credit offers a tax credit for EV charger hardware and EV charger installation costs. It covers 30% of the costs with a maximum $1,000 credit for residents and $30,000 federal tax credit for commercial installs. This tax credit was renewed by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) signed into law in 2022. However, the legislation added new requirements starting in 2023 that make only installations in rural or low-income communities eligible for the credit.
You can search for available EV charger installation rebates online. Treehouse makes it easy to identify rebates for which you may be eligible based on your address, and helps you design your installation to maximize available rebates.
Level 2 EV charger installation with Treehouse is simple and convenient. Take our short survey to receive an instant, personalized estimate. We’ll help you select the right charger for your needs, which you can include with your installation. We’ll also identify available local rebates and federal tax incentives to make installation even more affordable.
You’ll then need to submit a few photos and a video of your electrical panel and preferred charger or outlet location. We'll review these to calculate electrical load, finalize installation requirements and price. If your home has insufficient electrical capacity, we’ll call to discuss solutions, address any questions, and select the best path forward.
To schedule your installation, we request a $75.00, fully refundable deposit that is put toward the cost of your project. Your installer will then reach out to schedule your installation and file the permit.
For the day of installation, we request that you clear all loose items in the area immediately surrounding your electrical panel and the new charger or outlet location. Your installer will meet with you to confirm all installation details. They will install a new breaker in your electrical panel, install the charger or outlet, and run wiring to complete the installation. If additional components must be installed to address electrical or breaker capacity (e.g. tandem breakers, subpanel, DCC-12) your installer will review this with you as well.
Once installation has been completed, your installer will conduct a safety inspection and plug in your vehicle to ensure you’re ready to recharge at home. If a city inspection for your permit requires the installer to be present, we’ll work with you to schedule this as well.
Rest assured knowing that installation is supported by a one year labor warranty and three year charger manufacturer warranty. If you have any questions, we're here to help. Call or text us at 1-323-577-6795.