Home EV charging doesn’t come for free… or does it? And are you ready?

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When it comes to EV charging infrastructure, things are really taking off in California. In September, electric car maker Tesla announced it had installed its solar powered “supercharger” at six locations throughout the state and that charging at these stations would be free “indefinitely” for Model S owners. And last week fellow California EV-maker, CODA, went one step further, revealing it would give customers buying a CODA EV before December 2 would get a free GE WattStation home charger.

In Australia, Holden Volt buyers can get a pretty comprehensive 100 per cent renewable home charging service from Better Place, while Nissan Leaf drivers and future Tesla S buyers can get a similar service from Origin Energy – neither, however, come for free. But, as RenewEconomy guest blogger Ken Mathers writes below, whatever home EV charging option you go with, you will need to make sure your garage is EV ready.

If you’re a California resident who plans on buying a 2012 CODA electric vehicle this holiday season, you’re in luck. The all-electric car manufacturer announced they will provide a free home GE WattStation Wall-Mount EV charger for those that purchase an EV before December 2.

While other electric vehicles, like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, may offer tax credit incentives for going gas-free, California-based CODA Automotive is the first to provide and install a charging station for free.

“Being able to completely fuel your CODA at home from empty to full in less than six hours with our partner’s GGE’s WattStation charger is a convenience that every owner should be able to enjoy,” Thomas Hausch, CODA Automotive senior vice president of sales, said in a statement.

If you end up buying a Volt, Leaf or even a sporty Tesla, you could pay upward to $2,000 for the charging station and installation.

Regardless, you need to make sure your garage is ready for a charging station. Here are some quick tips to make the installation process a cinch. Please remember: While you can install your own charging station, it’s highly recommended that a professional electrician performs it.

How old is your house?

If you live in an older house (pre-1960s), your house might not have enough power in the garage to charge up your new electric vehicle. That means it’s time to re-wire your garage.

This might seem like a lot of work, but it actually helps your vehicle charging in the long run. Newer homes likely have a circuit designed to plug many things into, which slows down the charging process. When you rewire your garage, you’re going to need at least a 12-amp circuit. If you’re electric vehicle is the only thing plugged into that circuit, you can expect to go from empty to a full charge while you sleep.

As a point of reference, it takes about eight hours to fully charge the all-electric Leaf and about 10 hours for a Volt.

Clean up your garage

A clean garage is tough to come by these days. The more organized your garage is, the easier it is for the electrician to install your garage.

Make sure there’s easy access to where the station will be installed and that it isn’t near any water — some garages have a hose faucet inside of them.

By installing an electric charging station, you can actually bring the look of your garage up-to-date. Some EV owners have transformed antique gas pumps into charging stations, while others prefer the sleek look of the charging station as is.

General safety and maintenance

Of course, you need to make sure your garage is secure. Not only is it holding your premium-priced electric vehicle, but also a $2000 charging station.

Make sure your garage seals all the way to the bottom when it closes and that all of the doors leading inside are locking properly.

You’ll also want to make sure your garage is in proper working condition, by cleaning off the tracks and making sure everything is stable.

Remember: A clean and organised garage is a ready garage when it comes to installing an electric vehicle charging station.

Ken Mathers works for Quokka Garage Doors, where he helps with electric vehicle charging station installations  

  • colin

    So why don’t you simply have 100KWHr of deep cycle batteries at home (solar charged of course), and dump 50% of that into your EV in 30 minutes.

  • Why would most Australians need anything more than a bog standard power point to charge small electric cars? I know that in Japan a leaf can be plugged into a standed power point and as Australia has a much heftier electricity supply a normal power point should easily charge a leaf overnight.

  • Paul

    This article looksliek it was written for the USA, because we have a minimum 10Amp socket outlet here, which is greater than the 6Amp listed above. I would have thought that the best thing would be to have a 3 phase socket installed and so could charge the car 3x as fast, and if you’re clever on off-peak electricity at night so helping smooth out the peaks and troughs of power usage