On this blog, we’ve devoted many posts to extolling the energy-efficiency of the modern barn home and ways of saving energy in older homes. However, a great deal of our energy use comes not in our homes but in transportation. Light-duty vehicles, such as cars and pickup trucks, represent almost 20 percent of our total energy consumption in this country. Electric cars are one way of reducing your energy use, and thankfully modern electric cars can be long-ranged, stylish, and fast. Charging at home is a convenient way to always head out with a full “tank”, but installing charging equipment at home might seem daunting at first. Here is a guide to equipping your garage to charge an electric car.
First, you should not attempt to install this equipment yourself unless you are confident in your abilities and are permitted to through your local building codes. Even if you can install the equipment, often times your home insurer will require the work to be done by a professional. So, it is likely in your best interest to hire a licensed electrician for this work. The good news is this installation should not be very expensive, since it can be no more complicated than adding a range outlet.
Your next main decision will be on what type of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE, commonly but erroneously called a “charger”) to install. Essentially all manufacturers comply with the J1772 standard, with the notable exception of Tesla which uses a different plug. If you own a Tesla you should probably use their equipment, while with any other car you can use your choice of J1772 EVSEs. If you are looking for a J1772 system, make sure to get a 240V, Level 2 charger with a 30A or higher current rating. You then need to decide whether to permanently mount the equipment or have the electrician install a standard outlet that the EVSE will plug into. The outlet method uses a fixture similar to that used by an electric range, and allows for charging at up to 9.6 kW. This charge rate is fast enough to completely charge any current car overnight, and the installation costs will be lower. As a bonus, if you ever move you can merely unplug your EVSE and take it with you. By permanently installing the equipment, you have a much cleaner looking setup and you can purchase an EVSE that draws over 9.6kW and charges your car up to twice as quickly. However, the installation will cost more and the EVSE cannot be easily moved.
When siting the EVSE, make sure it is in a convenient location relative to your car’s charge port. The most common cord length on J1772 equipment is 20 feet, so you should have the EVSE or outlet installed within 10 to 15 feet of where the car’s charge port will be when parked.
The below "how-to" video is for the new BMW i3. Beginning at 23 seconds you can see a Timberpeg home, in the background! This home was designed by Timberpeg Independent Representative, Erich Diller of Evolve Design Group who is located in Connecticut.
If you'd like to learn more about how Timberpeg can design a timber frame home, complete with a garage, for all your four wheeled friends, then contact their design team today. They have even built many stand alone garages just for auto-enthusiasts, which you can also see here.