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If you’re planning to purchase an electric vehicle, or even if you’re already a new owner, your first concern is probably with charging your new vehicle and finding the right EV charging station equipment. With public charging stations scarce in most areas of the U.S., a home charging station not only offers convenience, but for all practical purposes, is a must for EV owners.

There are two levels of charging when it comes to your EV. Every EV comes with Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment consisting of a 120-volt charging cable. You can simply hook one end of the cable to your car’s charging port and the other to a typical grounded plug in your garage or other area, not unlike any plugging in a major appliance in your home. This is known as Level 1 charging.

Level 1 charging will add about 3 to 4 miles of range for every hour you charge the vehicle, under ideal situations. That means, depending on your vehicle, it could take as little as around 13 hours to as much as several days to fully charge.

Most EV owners will want the ability to charge their vehicles to full capacity in a shorter period of time. For that reason, they will opt for home EV charging stations to allow for a Level 2 charger. If your home electrical system and current electrical box are already equipped to handle a 240-volt outlet, setting up your new home charging station becomes relatively simple and you can utilize a plug-in Level 2 charger. However, in some cases, a more significant upgrade will be necessary. Keep in mind as well that some chargers are meant to be hard-wired.

The cost to prepare your garage with a 240-volt outlet can vary quite a bit, from a few hundred dollars up to upwards of $1,000 or more, depending primarily on how far your charging station is going to be from your home’s main electrical service. Other costs can pop up if upgrading is needed or there is some other additional work involved.

Just as with the installation of the outlet, the cost of the Level 2 EV charging equipment can vary widely. It all depends on what you want the unit to do. The simplest styles consist primarily of what looks just like a heavy-duty extension cord with a box on one end. These types of units can be stowed away in the trunk and don’t need to be mounted. On the other end of the price scale, you’ll find units that provide a lot of bells and whistles, from digital readouts to mobile apps. Level 2 charging units are widely available at home improvement stores or online.

Here a few equipment options to get your research started. Most are available at home improvement big box stores or online:

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As with any major purchase, it’s a good idea to research brands and read reviews before making a purchase, so you buy your Level 2 charger from a reputable manufacturer.

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