Charging an Electric Car at Home. Home charger electric car

Electric Vehicle Charging Overview

Imagine never having to stop at a gas station again – and instead, having an unlimited supply of fuel available at home or wherever you normally park. For many electric vehicle (EV) drivers, this is a reality. Battery electric vehicles never need gas, and for short trips, plug–in hybrids might use no gas.

EV charging is simple, cost–effective, clean and convenient, particularly when you are plugged in at home – filling up your car, even while you’re asleep.

There are three categories of electric vehicle (EV) charging: Level 1, Level 2 and DC fast charging. Levels 1 and 2 charging use a universal connector that can be plugged into any EV. DC fast charging uses three different connector systems called CHAdeMO, CCS Combo and Tesla Supercharger.

Although EV drivers primarily charge at home, workplace and public chargers are increasingly available in communities nationwide. Use our EV Charging Station Map to find nearby charging stations.

Level 1 Charging

Level 1 is the slowest method of charging but is sufficient for drivers who charge overnight and travel 30–40 miles per day. Charging cables usually come with a vehicle and plug into a standard 120–volt AC outlet with no equipment installation required. Level 1 charging works well for charging at home, work or anywhere a standard outlet is available – and when you have sufficient time to charge.

Level 1 charging uses a standard J1772 or Tesla connector that can plug into any EV, either directly, or through an adapter.

Level 1 charging adds about 3.5 – 6.5 miles of driving range per hour of charging time.

Level 2 Charging

Level 2 charging is considerably faster, but requires installing a charging station, also known as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). EVSE requires a dedicated 240–volt or 208–volt electrical circuit, similar to what is required for a clothes dryer or electric range. Level 2 is found at many public and workplace charging stations, but also in many homes. It uses the same standard connector as Level 1 charging, meaning any EV can plug in at any Level 2 charger.

Level 2 charging uses a standard J1772 or Tesla connector that can plug into any EV, either directly, or through an adapter.

Depending on battery type, charger configuration and circuit capacity, Level 2 charging adds about 14 – 35 miles of range per hour of charging time.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging, also called quick charging or supercharging, provides the fastest available fill–up. It requires a 480–volt connection, making DC fast charging unsuitable for home use, and not every EV model is equipped for it. Stations offering DC fast charging are found in shopping centers and often along major travel corridors, allowing EV drivers to charge up quickly and take longer trips.

DC fast charging uses CHAdeMO, CCS or Tesla connector systems. Check with your vehicle manufacturer to determine if your car has fast charging capability and what connector systems are compatible with your EV.

Depending on battery type, charger configuration and circuit capacity, DC fast charging can add up to 100 miles of range in about 30 minutes of charging time.

Electric Vehicle Charging Costs

Home Charging CostsThe cost to charge your electric vehicle depends on your vehicle’s battery size and the price of electricity where you live. Most utilities offer time–of–use (TOU) rates that greatly reduce costs associated with charging a vehicle at home by charging during off–peak hours. Contact your utility to find out more. 1

While electricity costs vary greatly, the average cost of electricity in California is about 16.58¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh). 2 At this price point, charging a 40–kWh battery with a 150–mile range would cost about 4.42¢ per mile (or about 6.63 to fully charge). Meanwhile, fueling a 25–mpg gas vehicle at California’s average gas price of 3.11 per gallon 3 would cost about 12.44¢ per mile (or about 18.66 for enough gas to drive approximately 150 miles).

Home charging costs can be offset by hosting your charger on a home charging sharing network. EV drivers can earn money by sharing their home chargers or connect with other hosts to find convenient charging on the go. For more information about how you can earn money by sharing your home charger, please see these popular sharing networks:

Public Charging CostsWhile charging at home is generally preferred, many people also charge their EV at public charging stations. These stations can be free, pay–as–you–go or subscription-based, and are set by networks or property owners. Some vehicle manufacturers, such as Hyundai, Nissan and Tesla also provide complimentary public charging.

One popular public charging network charges members 1.50 per hour to charge on Level 2, and 26¢ per minute for DC fast charging in California. 4 At these rates, charging a 40–kWh battery with a 150–mile range would cost about 8¢ per mile on Level 2, and 9¢ per mile for DC fast charging.

For more information about public charging networks, here are some popular options available in California:

1 A list of utility providers is at

Charging Station Rebates

Rebates for Residential Level 2 Charging StationsMany California utility providers and air districts offer rebates to make home Level 2 charging stations more affordable. Some of the rebates also help to offset the cost of installing the charging station at your home if additional electrical work is required. Find available rebates where you live.

Rebates for Commercial EV Charging StationsProperty owners can take advantage of rebates for installing commercial charging stations for public use. EV charging is a desired amenity for many California drivers and can attract more traffic to your business, improve tenant or employee satisfaction and generate a new revenue stream (fees for charging). Following are incentives that decrease the cost of charger purchases and installation. Visit the websites for more information on program eligibility requirements and funding availability.

Utility Incentives

Air District Incentives

Charging an Electric Car at Home

A complete guide to charging an electric car at home, including how to charge at home, how much it costs and how long it takes.

Last updated: Nov 02, 2022 9 min read

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You can charge an electric car at home using a dedicated home charger (a standard 3 pin plug with an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) cable should only be used as a last resort).

  • Electric car drivers choose a home charging point to benefit from faster charging speeds and built-in safety features.
  • Charging an electric car is like charging a mobile phone. plug in overnight and top up during the day.
  • Certain electricity tariffs offer much cheaper electricity at specific periods (usually late at night) and scheduling to charge your car, either via the Pod Point App or the car itself, can save you money.

Tip: If you are looking for information on how to use your Solo 3 (Home), go to our user guides.

How to charge an electric car at home

To charge an electric car at home, you should have a home charging point installed where you park your electric car. You can use an EVSE supply cable for a 3 pin plug socket as an occasional back up.

  • Drivers usually choose a dedicated home charging point because it’s faster and has built-in safety features.
  • A home charger is a compact weatherproof unit that mounts to a wall with a connected charging cable or a socket for plugging in a portable charging cable.
  • Dedicated EV chargers for your home are installed by qualified specialist installers like Pod Point.

Tip: An electric car will have either a Type 1 or a Type 2 connector and you’ll need to choose a home charger that’s compatible with it. To make it easy, we automatically make sure you get the right chargepoint for your vehicle when you order.

Cost of installing a dedicated home charger

A fully installed home charging point costs from £799.

  • Once installed, you only pay for the electricity you use to charge.
  • The typical electricity rate in the UK is just over 28p per kWh, while on Economy 7 tariffs the typical overnight electricity rate in the UK is 11p per kWh.
  • By switching to an electricity tariff designed specifically for EV drivers, you could reduce this to just 4.5p per kWh and charge up for under £5 while you sleep.

Visit “Cost of charging an electric car” to learn more about the cost of charging at home.

Average in the UK in 2022 according to ofgem. Please note, energy vary and can go up and down. To find your current cost per kWh, please check your electricity bill or contact your provider.

Average Economy 7 night time price according to nimblefins.

EV charging based on using a 7kW home charger and EDF’s GoElectric Exclusive 35 tariff at 4.5p/kWh off-peak.

How fast you can charge an electric car at home

Charging speed for electric cars is measured in kilowatts (kW).

Home charging points charge your car at 3.6kW or 7kW giving about 15-30 miles of range per hour of charge (compared to 2.3kW from a 3 pin plug which provides up to 8 miles of range per hour).

Maximum charging speed may be limited by your vehicle’s onboard charger. If your car allows up to 3.6kW charging rate, using a 7kW charger will not damage the car.

For more details on the time it takes to charge at home, please visit “How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?”.

Tip: Most domestic properties have single phase power which means the maximum charging rate is 7kW. While faster chargepoints are available (such as a 22kW unit), these are usually found in commercial properties where there is a three phase power supply. Find out about the difference of single and three phase power in our EV Dictionary.

How to get an electric car charging point installed at home

Electric car charging points need to be professionally installed. A certified charging provider will include installation cost in the price of the unit.

  • The installation process involves wall mounting the chargepoint on an exterior wall or garage, near to where you park and connecting it safely to the mains electricity supply.
  • An installation should take around three hours to complete, depending on the individual requirements of the driver and the complexity of the installation.
  • Installations can be booked directly online, over the phone or through car dealerships, with most providers happy to provide free advice and talk through the options available.

Tip: It’s always wise to be at home during your install: The best charging providers will install a chargepoint in the most convenient and neat location for you, but also demonstrate how to charge your car and answer any questions you have.

How often should you charge an electric car at home

You can charge your electric car at home as often as you need to. It can be treated the same as charging a mobile phone, fully charging overnight and topping up in the day if necessary.

While it is not necessary for most to charge every day, many drivers plug in each time they leave their car out of habit, giving them maximum flexibility should they have to make an unexpected journey.

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  • By charging overnight, electric car drivers can take advantage of cheap nighttime electricity rates and drive for as little as 2p per mile.
  • Overnight charging also ensures that the car’s battery is full each morning for the day ahead. You don’t need to unplug once the battery is full, charging will stop automatically with a dedicated home charger.
  • Most drivers also make use of charging facilities at their workplace or public destinations to top up charge.

Tip: Most cars will allow you to set a top charging limit. Always follow your manufacturer’s advice on how “full” to charge your car. Some will recommend setting a limit of a 90% charge to allow the battery management system to rotate the charging of cells evenly.

Optimising charging at home

As more people charge their electric cars at home, Smart home chargers are a way to tackle new energy related challenges that will arise for drivers and networks.

Cheaper energy

While an EV driver is saving money overall by powering their car with electricity rather than fossil fuels, their home energy bill will still be bigger than it was before. The good news is, unlike fossil fuels, there are lots of things that can be done to understand and reduce the cost of electricity to get further savings.

By adjusting your charging schedule to take place at certain times, it is possible to take advantage of time of use tariffs which have specific periods when electricity is cheaper. It is possible to schedule when your car charges either via most electric cars/associated apps, or via a Smart home charger’s app.

Many Smart home chargers monitor home and EV energy usage so you can get a clear understanding of cost per kWh, which enables you to determine how much you are spending and switch to cheaper tariffs.

Tip: Dual-rate electricity tariffs allow you to get much cheaper electricity overnight. For example, for a 5 hour period overnight, EDF’s GoElectric Exclusive 35 costs just 4.5p/kWh. This would make it cost as little as 1p per mile to drive the Nissan LEAF.

Greener energy

Today an electric car is already greener than a combustion engine vehicle, but charging with ever more renewable energy makes electric car driving even more environmentally friendly.

The UK’s grid is continually getting greener with more and more renewable energy generation, such as wind power. While this means charging electric cars is getting more environmentally friendly overall, you can switch to one of the many renewable energy providers to make charging at home even greener.

Managing load on home energy supply

Charging an electric car at home places additional load on your electrical supply. Depending on the max charging rate of your chargepoint and vehicle, this load can damage your main fuse.

To avoid overloading your main fuse, some Smart home chargers automatically balance the power drawn by your chargepoint with the rest of your home, ensuring it never causes your total demand to exceed the max available supply.

Another benefit of this feature is the ability to have more than one chargepoint installed so that you can charge cars simultaneously without having to manually switch between them.

Pod Point’s Solo 3 Charger features Auto Power Balancing that adjusts your charge so your electric supply doesn’t get overloaded.

Managing load on the grid

As electric cars become more widely adopted, the demand for power on the national grid will increase. There is a tendency for a lot of charging to be started when drivers arrive home after work and peak around 20:00. Unmanaged this could cause demand spikes that can put too much load on the local networks

Smart home chargers will be able to react to and/or anticipate this and manage the rate of charge across thousands of vehicles to smooth out these peaks. Thankfully this will be virtually unnoticeable for an individual driver (according to Pod Point data EV drivers only use their chargers approximately 25% of the time they are plugged in overnight). The net effect will be that everyone gets a full charge over a fractionally longer time, but the grid will be protected.

1 EV charging based on using a 7kW home charger and EDF’s GoElectric Exclusive 35 tariff at 4.5p/kWh off-peak.

Charging at Home

Level 1 uses a standard household plug and an accessory charger that can be ordered with your Mercedes-EQ. This level is capable of charging your vehicle at a rate of around 2-4 miles per hour on a 110V circuit. Because of the very limited power output, we do not recommend relying on this method to charge your Mercedes-EQ vehicle. Level 2 Level 2 uses a separate wall box that can be purchased through ChargePoint. This home charging solution is capable of charging at a rate of around 20-30 miles per hour on a 240V circuit. At a maximum of 9.6 kW, the EQS can charge from 10 – 100% in just over 11 hours.

Ordering Installation

ChargePoint Home Flex

The Level 2 charger we recommend is the ChargePoint Home Flex, which is one of the most advanced and highly rated connected wallboxes on the market.


We recommend Qmerit to complete the installation of your home charger. The installation costs vary and depend on the individual setup of your home. Complete your home assessment and request a quote today.

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Charging your electric vehicle

Tips and resources about charging electric vehicles (EVs) at home or on the road from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Vehicle charging 101, public charging, charging at homes with or without garages and driveways, charging at an apartment, condo, or multiunit dwelling.

There are many options for charging electric vehicles today, from at home or at work to along the highway during a road trip. While it’s often convenient to charge at home, there are over 350 public charging plugs in Portland. and more on the way.

Electric vehicle charging 101

There are three main types of chargers that you will encounter: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (also called DC Fast Charging):

  • Level 1 charging uses a standard 120V outlet that you are likely to find in your garage. This is the slowest type of charging and will add an average of 5 miles per hour of charge. Also called “trickle charging,” this type of charging is not offered commercially and is typically only used at home.
  • Level 2 charging requires a 240V outlet. These chargers can be installed in your home with a basic electrical upgrade and are very commonly used for public chargers. Level 2 chargers add 20 to 60 miles per hour of charge.
  • Level 3 chargers, or DC Fast Chargers, are only used in commercial settings. These chargers are most often found along highways since they provide 60 to 100 miles per 20 minutes of charge. For example, the West Coast Electric Highway project is working to install DC Fast Chargers every 25 to 50 miles from the British Columbia to the Mexico border.

If you’re able to charge at home, that is likely the easiest and most affordable option. If not, the City is working to expand public charging opportunities, with a FOCUS on providing more convenient, safe and affordable chargers near multi-unit dwellings and commercial centers. Many workplaces also offer EV chargers in company parking lots or garages, so don’t forget to check with your employer when considering your charging options.

Public charging in Portland

Portland has worked with private sector partners to provide convenient, accessible charging for drivers since 2011 when Electric Avenue opened in downtown Portland, one of the nation’s first fast charging pods in the public right-of-way. The City has continued working to expand opportunities to charge since then, most recently with a new policy that is being developed to permit the installation of EV chargers in the public right-of-way in areas across the city.

There are several maps you can use to find available public charging stations and sort by network, connector type, power supply, price, and other filters. A few that are useful to be familiar with include the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, Plugshare, and ChargePoint.

How to use public chargers

How to charge your electric vehicle:

Locate charger of the correct plug type and speed

Make sure you can access the network

Park in the appropriate spot next to the charger

Follow instructions to plug the charger into your vehicle

Start the charge and relax!

Keep an eye on your charging app so you can move your car once the charge is complete

There are many vendors that manage public charging stations. The requirements for use vary by vendor, and while you might not need to be a paid member to use a vendor’s station, you do often need to have their mobile app downloaded. Often, becoming a member and using the vendor’s mobile app to facilitate charging offers a slight discount when you use that station. You should prepare to join at least one network but if you intend to rely heavily on public charging, you may want to consider registering with multiple vendors. Many vendors are making agreements to allow their users to “roam” freely by charging for no additional cost at another vendor’s station, so check your network’s roaming partners before registering elsewhere. Additionally, if you are planning a road trip, you might want to consider joining a network that focuses heavily on fast chargers along highway systems in the area where you will be traveling. The membership details for the most common EV charging vendors in Portland are below. The City of Portland does not endorse any of the vendors on this list. This list is solely for informational purposes, not for promotion: Chargepoint, Blink, Sema Charge, Tesla, Volta, OP Connect, EV Connect, Electrify America, Greenlots, and EVgo.

Home charging with a garage or driveway

The most common place to charge an EV is at home, and it’s often the least expensive.

If you live in a home with a garage or driveway you can charge your EV using a standard wall outlet, also known as Level 1 charging. This is a good option if you typically charge your EV overnight. You can also install a Level 2 charger for your personal use, which will charge your EV in a few hours. Level 2 chargers use 240 volts of electricity, which is similar to a standard electric dryer or oven and sometimes requires a simple electrical upgrade to your home. Before going forward with the electrical upgrade required for a Level 2 charger, you must apply for an electrical permit from the Bureau of Development Services.

Don’t forget to check for incentives or rebates – as of January 2023, Portland General Electric and Pacific Power customers are eligible for a rebate of up to 1,000 for installing an EV charger in their home. Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act extended the federal tax credit on charging equipment through 2032, which covers up to 30% of sales price up to 1,000.

Home charging without a garage or driveway

To support residents who want to transition to an EV but do not have a garage or driveway, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has amended the Encroachment Manual to allow residents to run a Level 1 (110 volt) charging cord from their house and across the sidewalk to charge their EV at the curb, provided that their residence meets the specifications listed below in the cord cover allowance section.

Individual residents and businesses are prohibited from installing EV chargers in the public right-of-way. Given a variety of concerns. including health, life, and safety issues, liability concerns, state utility requirements, and more. this means Portlanders are prohibited from installing a Level 2 or DC fast charger curbside in front of their home or business. There are no exceptions to this and no process for appeals. Additionally, no public parking spaces are allowed to be reserved by private citizens for the purpose of EV charging, including for the cord cover allowance.

PBOT is currently developing policy to support public EV charging in commercial areas across Portland by permitted EV charging companies and local utilities, which would better support residents who are unable to charge at home. While that policy is being developed, PBOT is not issuing permits to install EV chargers in the public right-of-way.

Both public charging and workplace charging are valuable options for residents without garages or driveways at home. You can view all public charging stations in the area on this map and contact your workplace to see if there is charging availability there.

Cord cover allowance

In response to the many residents who have inquired about charging their electric vehicle curbside in front of their home, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has amended the Encroachment Manual to allow curbside charging with a cord cover in specific circumstances. Both renters and property owners are now allowed to run a Level 1 charging cord from their house and across the sidewalk area adjacent to their residence to charge their electric vehicle at the curb, provided that they use an ADA compliant cord cover. Parking spaces in front of residences may not be reserved for charging, and use of signage or other means to reserve the parking space in front of property is strictly prohibited and may be subject to penalties and fines pursuant to PBOT’s administrative rules. Cord covers must be used if there is a sidewalk or other hardscape walkable surface, such as concrete, pavement, or stone pavers, present in the area between your property line and the curb. Curbside charging with a cord cover is allowed by right if residents meet all the requirements below, meaning that no permit is required. Full details of the policy can be found in the Encroachment Manual.

Home charging in an apartment, condo, or other multiunit dwelling

If you live in an apartment building or other multiunit dwelling, the City of Portland is working to make EV charging accessible for you, too.

Building managers, owners, and homeowner’s associations can add EV charging to existing parking at multi-unit dwellings. If you’re not sure where to start, local nonprofit Forth Mobility helped assemble a roadmap to help guide the retrofit process of adding EV chargers in multi-unit dwellings.

Charging stations at multi-unit dwellings may also be eligible for incentives or rebates. As of January 2023, both local utilities Portland General Electric and Pacific Power offer their customers rebates for multi-unit dwelling charger installations.

The City is always looking ahead to find new ways to make transportation electrification easier, especially for Portlanders who cannot charge at home. One way this is happening is through the EV Ready Code Project, led by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. This project, currently under development, is crafting policy to ensure that new multi-unit dwelling and mixed-use developments with more than five units that include onsite parking will be built “EV Ready.” This means that electrical conduit will be installed in the parking area during construction to make the eventual installation of EV chargers cheaper and faster.

Charging your e-bike

E-bikes are becoming increasingly common on Portland’s streets and are a great electric mobility option that support the City’s climate and mode shift goals.

New models of e-bikes continue to enter the market, and their battery capacity ranges from 20 miles to 120 miles on a single charge. E-bikes can charge using a normal 120-volt outlet, so most people are able to charge their e-bike at home. However, recognizing that not all Portlanders can charge their e-bikes at home, PBOT included a requirement that 5% of bike parking must be near an outlet in a 2019 bike parking code update project.

There are also public charging opportunities for e-bikes across the state. The Oregon Department of Transportation upgraded all forty-seven charging stations along the West Coast Electric Highway in fall/winter 2022 to include a 120-volt outlet to provide free e-bike charging. The West Coast Electric Highway includes Interstate 5, Highway 101, and other major driving routes in Oregon and charging stations are available every 25 to 50 miles along the network.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: I live in an apartment building and want to buy an EV. What are my options for charging?

Answer: Some apartment buildings that have onsite parking, either in a parking lot or a garage, have installed EV chargers for their tenants. Reach out to your property manager or landlord to see what options are available in your situation.

If you’re unable to charge at home, there are still many opportunities to charge at public stations in Portland. Think about the places you drive regularly and look up public charging stations on this map from Plugshare. Many grocery stores, like Fred Meyer and New Seasons, have fast charging stations in their parking lot which will allow you to charge up while doing your weekly grocery shopping.

Finally, you can reach out to your employer and see if there are existing EV chargers are your workplace or, if not, you can advocate for their installation.

Question: I live in a single-family home without a garage or driveway. How do I charge my EV?

Answer: The Portland Bureau of Transportation recently updated a policy to allow for charging curbside in front of your house if you meet certain conditions. The cord cover allowance in the Encroachment Manual allows for individuals that live in a single-family residential zone and on a local service traffic street with a running grade of 10% or less to run a Level 1 (110 – 120 volt) extension cord from their property across the sidewalk to their car parked at the curb, provided that an ADA compliant cord cover is used.

You can find out if you live in a single-family residential zone using this map.

You can find examples of ADA compliant cord covers under the section titled “Home Charging Without a Garage or Driveway” on this webpage.

Please note that this allowance only allows Level 1 charging cords, not Level 2 or higher charging cords, to be run across the sidewalk. It also does not allow for residents to reserve parking spaces specifically for their personal charging use. If you would like to consult the full rule, the full text of cord cover allowance can be found in Section C.22 of the Encroachment Manual.

Question: Can the Cord Cover allowance include L2 cords, not just L1?

Answer: Given a variety of concerns – including health, life, and safety issues, liability concerns and more – Portlanders are prohibited from using a Level 2 (220 – 240 volt) or higher voltage cord to charge curbside under the cord cover allowance. Only Level 1 cords (110 – 120 volt) extension cords can be used at this time.

Question: Can I install a 220 – 240-volt outlet with outdoor rated conduit underneath the sidewalk and into the furnishing zone to charge my vehicle curbside in front of my home?

Answer: At this time, the installation of an outlet in the public right-of-way by an individual resident is prohibited. There are several factors that contributed to this decision, including health, life, and safety issues, liability concerns, and state utility location requirements, among others. Additionally, private citizens are prohibited from installing infrastructure for their private use in the public right-of-way, which would essentially privatize a public space. This private asset in a public space also raises several difficult policy questions, including who is responsible for the asset if the owner relocates.

Question: Can I install a L2/DC fast pedestal charger curbside in front of my residence for personal use?

Answer: At this time, only utilities and charging companies that meet City requirements will be allowed to install EV chargers in the public right-of-way, not businesses, private groups, or individual residents. There are several factors that contributed to this decision, including health, life, and safety issues, liability concerns; and, state utility location requirements, among others. Additionally, private citizens are generally prohibited from installing infrastructure for their private use in the public right-of-way, which could essentially privatize a public space. Having private assets in a public space also raises several difficult policy questions, including who is responsible for the asset if the owner relocates.

Another concern is that the infrastructural requirements of siting charging stations and the multidisciplinary coordination necessary to connect to the grid and install the asset in a public space are complex and costly and present substantial barriers. While navigating this space and financing the process might be attainable for some individuals, groups, or businesses, it is not attainable for all and could exclude many Portlanders.

Question: Can I install a Level 2 or DC fast pedestal charger curbside in front of my residence or business if I allow it to be used by the public?

Answer: At this time, that is not permitted. In addition to the concerns listed in the above answer, the challenges presented by privately-owned, publicly available infrastructure in public spaces are numerous and difficult to reconcile. Many difficult policy questions are raised by a privately-owned, publicly available asset in public space: who is responsible for maintaining the charger in a state of good repair; should the City cite the owner if a charger remains out-of-service for an unreasonable amount of time; who is responsible for the asset if the owner relocates; and, who sets and collects the parking meter and charging rate. While these questions may have conceivable answers, considering the other barriers to participation in the program, PBOT has decided that limiting the permit to the charging station vendors who are best equipped to navigate and finance this process creates a practical regulatory environment to effectively manage the program.

How to buy and install an EV home charger

Gas prices? Pah! A few months ago, my family bought an electric car, used. A little 2018 BMW i3s. It looks weird but it drives great. Every time I pass long lines of cars and trucks waiting to fill up on 6-a-gallon gas, I admit, I feel a schadenfreude smile coming on.

But buying the car, it turns out, was a lot easier than buying a home charger and getting it installed, which was a serious hassle. Worth it in the end, but a hassle. And that government rebate I thought I’d been promised? Yeah, right.

You can get by without a home charger but I wouldn’t advise it. There are too few public chargers available at present for dependable refueling. And the price you pay is significantly higher than your cost of electricity at home.

charging, electric, home, charger

A home charger isn’t cheap, though. Including installation, depending on what model you buy, the cost can top 1,500.

And hunting for charger isn’t easy. The challenges can be small or large depending on variables that include the age of your home, the state of its electrical system and how tough it is to find an installer in your area.

charging, electric, home, charger

If stories about 7-a-gallon gasoline have you thinking it’s time for an EV, though, here are some hard-won tips that might save you some headaches.

The basics

The first step is deciding whether you want a Level 1 or Level 2 charger.

Level 1 operates at 120 volts. That’s the voltage you use to run your toaster and most of your home’s electricity. Level 2 is 240 volts, what an electric dryer requires. Level 2 chargers will fill your EV a lot faster from empty than a Level 1: a couple hours or so, depending on the size of your battery, versus overnight.

You’ll probably get a portable Level 1 charger included when you get your car. If most of your trips are local, or you can charge at work, or buy a plug-in hybrid instead of a battery-only electric, a Level 1 might work just fine.

If you want the flexibility of a relatively fast fill-up and more freedom from range anxiety, you’re a candidate for a more expensive but more powerful Level 2. That’s what we chose.

Level 2 chargers require 240 volts and a socket like an electric dryer might use. If you have a 240-volt outlet near where you’ll park your car, good for you. Installation will be a lot easier. (A charger also can be connected directly to your electric panel, obviating the need for an outlet.)

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Chargers come with cords of different lengths. You’ll want to measure the distance from where you put your charger to where you’ll park your car. Shorter cords make for less expensive chargers. I’d rather have too much than not enough and went for a 25-foot cord. If you’ll always be parking in a tight garage space, you can get by with something shorter and cheaper.

Portable 240-volt chargers are available, but you’ll get only about 10 miles of range per hour. If you want to fill up fairly fast and have your car ready to go when you need it, a stationary charger is the way to go.


An internet search will turn up loads of sites that rank home chargers. For a comprehensive overview of what’s available, Veloz, an EV advocacy site, is a good first step.

Level 2 charger range from nearly 300 to well over 1,000. The bigger your car battery, the more expensive your charger is likely to be. Veloz pegs the typical cost of installation around 500. It can be lower or it can cost several thousand dollars, depending on how your home’s electrical system is configured and whether you need a 240v outlet installed.

Unless you are well versed in volts and amps and kilowatts and kilowatt hours, you should ask an electrician or someone with expertise in the area for advice before you choose your charger. The requirements of your car’s battery and the configuration of your home electrical system are major factors in charger choice.

You’ll also have to ask yourself how important it is to be able to control charging times through a charger’s software, allowing you to take advantage of your utility’s variable time-of-day electric rates and potentially prolong your battery’s life. Many experts suggest you not fill your battery all the way full because that can degrade performance. Charger software can set a limit at, say, 90% full.

You’ll also need to know whether you want to install the charger inside a garage or outdoors — many chargers are advertised as weatherproof.

Which brand is best? After spending much time comparing models online, I found a ChargePoint model that topped many best-of lists and tried to buy one. Alas, ChargePoint told me I couldn’t expect the charger to arrive for at least several weeks. Popularity has its price.

My neighbor bought a charger from Wallbox and got it in a couple of days. I did too. The reviews were good. It’s working fine so far, although the software interface could be much improved. I paid 649 plus tax.


Wallbox posts an excellent installation guide online that can apply to any charger make or model. With any luck, you’ll be able to hire an electrician at a reasonable price and he or she will take care of everything for you.

I wasn’t so lucky. Our Berkeley house was built 60 years ago. No 240v outlet in the garage. Worse, the house is fed by a 100-amp Pacific Gas Electric power line; the lines to modern houses are rated at 200 amps. Practically speaking, the 100-amp line means that adding an electric car to the house’s load could overpower the whole system. The situation would demand some changes to our electric supply panel.

Finding an electrician to help was tough. It’s hard to find a tradesman to do anything lately — too few workers with the proper skills, too much home improvement demand. One electrician informed us our electric panel is way out of date, and that building codes would require a new one. We’d also need a 200-amp line to the house. Total cost, he said, would top 2,000.

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With the help of a neighbor who’s a lighting architect and ace handyman, I was able to get the job done for the price of materials and a nice dinner.

If you have an older home, do some research on home electric load capacities to better communicate with the professional electricians you might hire.

The rebate

Rebates from the government or electric utilities depend on where you live. Put your ZIP Code into the Veloz site and then click on a charger model to find out what’s available to you. If your electricity comes from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the utility says you can get up to 1,000 back, even more if you qualify as low-income. But the actual amount, based on numerous Veloz searches, is likely to be a few hundred dollars. Residents of the South Coast Air Quality Management District can get another several hundred dollars, but the money is available “first come first served,” so you can’t count on funds being there.

The city of Anaheim says charger buyers can qualify for 400 to 1,000 in rebates, “subject to the availability of funds.” The city of Burbank advertises rebates up to 500.

If you bought a charger in 2021, you may be eligible for a federal income tax credit for 30% of the charger’s cost. If you waited until 2022, you’re out of luck.

Here in Berkeley, I qualified for rebates totaling 0. My utility, the financially troubled Pacific Gas Electric, offers no home EV charger incentives at all.

But driving an EV can save 800 or more a year for an average driver, and the warm feeling I get driving past those gas station price signs makes up for a zero rebate, and then some.

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