How To Charge Your Electric Car Without A Garage
Charging your electric car without a garage is entirely feasible, and there are convenient solutions available. Consider the following approaches:
- EVSE or iEVSE Home: Utilize Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE) or iEVSE Home chargers. These weatherproof options are designed for outdoor use, and NEMA 4-rated chargers can handle various weather conditions, enabling you to charge your EV outdoors with the same convenience as in a garage.
- Home Charging Station: Install a home charging station in an accessible location outside your home. These user-friendly stations can be strategically placed for optimal convenience.
- Leverage Public Charging Stations: Public charging stations are widely available in parking lots, shopping centers, and along streets. Utilize these options to charge your electric car while you’re out and about.
- Monitor Electricity Usage: For those without a personal garage, tracking your electricity consumption is crucial. Employ a smart meter or a monitoring app to keep tabs on your charging habits, promoting sustainable energy use.
With these options, electric car owners can enjoy the benefits of EV charging even without the luxury of a garage space.
Charging Your Electric Car: Do You Need a Garage for an Electric Car?
No, you do not necessarily need a garage for an electric car. While having a garage can provide advantages such as protection from the elements and a convenient place to charge your electric vehicle (EV), it is not a strict requirement for owning an electric car. Many people without garages successfully own and use electric cars.
When charging your electric car at home, outlet choices matter. Common in homes is the standard 120-volt outlet or wall outlet. Using a standard 120-volt outlet can charge your EV, but it’s not the quickest. It’s Level 1 charging, around 4-5 miles per hour. Best for short drives with overnight charging.
For speed, Level 2 charging stations are ideal. They need a 240-volt outlet, not common at homes.
Using a standard outlet? You’ll need a special adapter. Most EVs have a portable charging cord, but Level 2 stations are much faster. Home outlets aren’t all the same. Some are 15 amps, others 20. For 15 amps, ensure your car’s cord is 12 amps or less. With 20 amps, a cord rated up to 16 amps works.
Level 2 Charging Stations
Charging EVs is routine. While a standard 120-volt outlet works, a 240-volt Level 2 charging station is faster. A Level 2 station charges up to 6 times quicker, offering 25 miles per hour. Overnight charging equals a full battery.
Use a compatible charging cable with your EV to connect it to the station. Many EVs come with one; you can also buy separately. If your garage has a dedicated 240-volt circuit, a hardwired charging station is an option, but it’s more complex and costly. Public stations also offer Level 2 charging, and some have DC fast charging, which can reach 80% in 30 minutes.
Keep in mind that charging procedures and voltage can impact battery life. Charging during off-peak hours or using renewable energy helps cut energy costs.
Public Charging Stations
If you don’t have a garage, you may need to rely on public charging stations to charge your electric car. Good news is, there are many public charging stations available throughout the country, and they are typically located in convenient locations such as parking garages, gas stations, and parking lots.
Public charging stations can be found in a variety of locations, including apartment buildings, workplaces, and car dealerships. They can be either Level 2 charging stations or DC fast chargers, depending on the location. Level 2 charging stations are the most common type of public charger and use a standard charging cable to charge your car. DC fast chargers, on the other hand, are much faster and can charge your car up to 80% in as little as 30 minutes.
To use a public charging station, you will need to locate a charging point and plug in your car using a charging cable. The charging process is straightforward and can be done in a few easy steps. However, it’s important to note that not all public charging stations are free, and some may require a fee to use. You should also be aware of the charging location’s hours of operation, as some may not be available 24/7.
If you’re considering using a public charging station, it’s essential to ensure that your car is equipped with the appropriate charging cable. You may also need to have your car’s charging port adapter handy, as not all charging stations are compatible with all electric cars. Additionally, if you’re planning to install a public charging station in your outdoor parking space, you may need to hire a qualified electrician to perform a professional installation.
Where To Mount Your Home Charging Station
When setting up your home charging station for your EV, where you place it matters. Here are factors to consider:
- Garage is a Common Choice: Most EV owners opt for the garage. If it’s new, installing the charger during construction is ideal. For existing garages, you’ll need to determine the best spot.
- Wall-Mounted Convenience: Mounting on the wall is a popular choice. It’s easy and doesn’t take floor space. Storage systems can keep the charging cord neat and unobtrusive.
- Consider Charge Points: Charge points are poles for outdoor installation. Useful if you lack a garage or prefer outdoor parking.
- Check Electrical Panel Capacity: Ensure your electrical panel can handle the charging station’s load. An electrician may be needed for an upgrade or new installation.
- Evaluate Electrical Supply: Some cords require a 12-amp outlet, while others need a 240-volt one. Know your outlet type before setting up the charging station.
- Plan Carefully: When mounting the charging station, ensure easy cable connection to your car. Also, verify that the cord’s length reaches your car without issue.
Considerations Of Cord Length For Optimal Charging
When it comes to charging your electric car at home, one of the factors to consider is the length of the charging cord. The length of the cord can affect the ease of use and flexibility of your charging setup.
EV drivers have two main options when it comes to charging cords: Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 cords require 120V AC power and typically come with the car. These cords are usually about 15 feet long, which may be sufficient for some charging setups. However, if your charging outlet is further away from your parking spot, you may need to purchase an extension cord to reach it.
Level 2 cords require 240V AC power and are faster than Level 1 cords. These cords can be much longer, with some models available up to 25 feet long. When choosing a Level 2 cord, you should consider the distance between your car’s charging port and the charging outlet in your garage.
It’s important to note that longer cords may not necessarily be better. Longer cords can be more difficult to handle and store, and may be more prone to tangling and damage. Additionally, the end of the cable plugs may become worn or damaged over time, which can affect the charging speed and safety of your setup.
When choosing a charging cord, consider the following factors:
- The distance between your car’s charging port and the charging outlet in your garage
- The ease of use and flexibility of the cord
- The end of the cable plugs and their durability
- The charging speed and safety of your setup
By taking these factors into consideration, you can choose a charging cord that is optimal for your charging needs and setup.
Other Considerations for Outdoor EV Charging
No garage? No problem! Charging your electric car outdoors is entirely feasible. Here’s what to keep in mind when setting up your outdoor charging station:
- Weather: For outdoor charging stations, weather matters. In hot areas, find shaded spots. In cold climates, ensure your charger and car’s batteries can handle the cold.
- Parking Space: Apartments or no dedicated spot? Public charging stations are the way. Check compatibility and accessibility.
- Electrical Panel: Can your electrical panel handle the charger’s voltage (usually 240 volts)? A licensed electrician’s advice can help avoid any overloads.
- Home Outlets: Using a standard home outlet? It’s slower but doable. Choose outdoor-rated outlets and easy access.
- Electrify America: For road trips, consider Electrify America stations along highways for fast charging.
- Climate Control: Overnight charging? Turn off climate control to save energy and prevent overheating.
- Installation: Place your outdoor charger securely and protect it from elements.
- Sweet Spot: Optimal charging time is overnight for a full morning-ready battery. Plan ahead if using a standard outlet.
Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.
From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.