Something that many people don’t realize is that you can actually plug an electric car into an electricity outlet just like you plug a dryer into an electricity outlet. However, the reason that isn’t the most common way to charge an electric car is quite clear — it takes a long time. Much more common is to install a home electric vehicle (EV) charging station, or “electric vehicle supply equipment” (EVSE).
Before going on regarding the choice and installation of a charging station, I think it’s important to add a little more context regarding home EV charging. Having a home EV charging station is somewhat akin to having your own gas pump at home. However, you don’t have to worry about it blowing up your house or causing you health problems. Also, you can just plug in when you get home and then unplug when you next leave. No need to wait while it charges. Typically, a smartphone or tablet app will also tell you when your car has finished charging. The convenience is really unbeatable by gasoline-powered cars.
What does it take to install an EV charging station? Well, it depends on which one you choose to buy. The good folks over at “This Old House” recently went ahead and installed a home EV charging station for someone, showing the step-by-step process. It chose to install the ClipperCreek HCS-40* — due to ease of installation, reliability, durability, and the fact that the charging stations are made in the USA.
The full video can be viewed on PBS, but not in all countries (I can’t view it in Europe). Here’s the intro for everyone else:
I’m not sure of the entire process by which the crew from “This Old House” chose to install a ClipperCreek EVSE, but I know that Tom Moloughney is a well known and respected EV expert who has also chosen and recommends ClipperCreek. He has been driving and testing various electric BMW models for several years and wrote this about the company and offering:
“They have been making EVSEs for about twenty years, much longer than just about all of their competition. While there may be dozens of companies jumping in to the EVSE market now, ClipperCreek has been selling them since before there was even a standard connector for EVs, and they had different connectors depending on which car it was charging. They aren’t the only company making quality EVSEs but they have been doing it longer than anyone else, and I personally have used their equipment for about six years now. ClipperCreek also has a large product line, offering EVSEs in all sizes and power delivery.”
He actually has many more kind words about the company and its products if you want to learn more.
DIY Installation or Paid Professional?
As noted at the top, the “This Old House” crew chose the ClipperCreek option partly because of its ease of installation. On sister site Gas2, after watching the episode, Chris DeMorro wrote, “Once I get my first plug-in car though, I’ll be DIY-ing the install, now that I’ve seen just how straight-forward the whole install really is,” but he also noted: “a person with minimal electrical experience should find it a fairly straightforward process. Then again, I may be taking for granted the fact that I’ve been doing all sorts of home improvement-type work with my father for nearly 20 years (I was put to work at the tender age of 10, child labor laws be damned).”
Tom Moloughney, on the other hand, writes: “be sure to hire an experienced, licensed electrician for the installation. I’d recommend getting a few competing estimates so you don’t get overcharged on the installation. I’ve seen the price to install these vary greatly from company to company, so do your homework.”
So, you’ve got a couple of perspectives there depending on how comfortable you are with electricity infrastructure. I’m sure I’d hire someone to install mine, but agree that it’s important to get multiple quotes.
Hopefully this article was helpful for those of you looking into the purchase and installation of an EVSE, but drop us a note if you have more to add.
*This article has been kindly supported by ClipperCreek.