Is Your Electrical System Enough for Your Electric Car?


You decide to buy an electric car to save on gasoline. You have an outlet in your carport or garage, but is it enough? Could you be jeopardizing your safety by charging your car?

As an electric car owner, you want a safe, fast, and reliable charge. Charging your voltage-powered vehicle by plugging into a standard 120-volt electrical outlet is possible – though in some cases your system may not be up to the challenge. Should you upgrade your system?

Although it is not always necessary, an upgrade can be worthwhile in certain cases. Most modern electric cars can plug into a standard 120-volt outlet. However, when performing electric vehicle charging at home, dimming lights and repeated circuit breaker tripping are sure signs of insufficient electrical service for meeting your charging needs – a common issue in homes more than 20 years old.

Why does this happen? According to studies, vehicle charging at 9.6 kW can double or triple your home’s prior peak electrical load, creating problems with insufficient power supply throughout the day or night as you charge. In addition to providing safer, more reliable charging, addressing these insufficiencies in your home’s electrical system, combined with a home charging system upgrade, can vastly improve the safety and speed of the recharging process.

Should You Upgrade?. . .AC Level 1 vs. AC Level 2

The following are details about the current outlet that most people have, and an upgraded outlet with double the power:

  • AC Level 1 (120V/15A): A 120-volt outlet is capable of providing a ‘Level 1’ charge via a standard, 3-prong household plug/outlet combo, but requires a dedicated branch circuit for the safety of your system and home appliances and electronics. With this method, it takes 8-12 hours for a full charge, adding 2-5 miles of driving range per hour of charging time.
  • AC Level 2 (240V/30-70A): ‘Level 2’ charging via a larger, 240-volt AC plug and receptacle requires the installation of special home charging equipment and a dedicated circuit – but cuts down vehicle charge time to 3 to 6 hours, or 10-60 miles of driving range per hour of charging time. Bonus: Your local government or utility provider may offer incentives and rebates for the installation of this equipment – and you can customize your setup, with features ranging from timers and status lights to smartphone connections and keypads.

Get Your Electrical System Checked

Just as you adjust your car mirrors for maximum visibility and safety, why not perform a quick safety check on the state of your home charging setup, verifying its suitability with the help of a qualified electrician, such as Fab Electric?

The significant savings from your greener, more fuel-efficient lifestyle with your electric vehicle purchase can go a long way toward a rapid return on investment in a safer, faster, more reliable electric vehicle charging system installation from Fab Electric. At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, you will enjoy electricity safely outside and inside the home this summertime and cost savings in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!