Choosing an Installer

How To? Choosing your EV Charging Station Installer / Electrician

So you’ve decided to take the leap and purchase a plug-in or plug-in hybrid electric car – and you’ve heard that a “Level 2” charging dock at home can reduce your charge time significantly compared to the 110V standard-outlet plug that comes with your vehicle.  You may have also heard that a Level 2 charging dock’s electrical requirement is similar to those of a clothes dryer. Sounds like an easy installation, right?

Because your charging dock is a special piece of electrical equipment that you will depend on for reliable, daily transportation, you should look for an installer who is certified specifically in the installation of electric vehicle support equipment. Read on for a brief overview of what such an expert can bring to your experience.

Charging Station Installation

Think of your certified installer as your own personal EV charging expert. Before installing, he’ll conduct a site consultation at your home to evaluate your electrical system and review your needs as a driver. An experienced and certified installer will offer you options based on your needs, such as a dedicated Level 1 circuit for easy troubleshooting, or a pedestal-mounted Level 2 charging dock for charging in your driveway or carport. You’ll be guided through the entire process, with insightful recommendations on installation particulars and product features that best suit your needs.

The best installers are also highly skilled at evaluating your existing electrical system to ensure that your charging dock and any electrical upgrades will work perfectly now and in the future. Whether your power needs change or you decide to purchase another EV with a charge receptacle in a different location on the car’s body, your certified installer is dialed into the present – and future – of the EV movement, improving the chances that your first EV charging dock installation will be your last.

Hassle-Free Permitting and Inspection

Installers like those in EV Charging Store’s expanding network of certified, licensed EV charging electricians, are trained rigorously on the big installation requirements – but they’re also experts in local permitting requirements. As electricians in your own community, these certified installers will not only know which permits are necessary – but they’ll apply for the permit, provide any detailed documents of the layout and installation process that the permitting office requires, and secure the permit for you. This saves you a lot of trouble.

Because of the newness of EV chargers, some municipalities require documentation such as line drawings of the charging dock and hard wiring, site plans, load calculations, product specifications, and operating instructions.  The municipality will check these documents to verify that the proposed installation meets proper requirements that are specific to the installation of EV charging docks. Certified EV charging installers know how to prepare the documents and streamline the process.  And because they’re certified, they know how to approach your installation from the best angle – without relying on you to figure it out. (More on the permitting process in the article titled COMING HOME: What Goes into Your Home Charging Station Installation.)

Reliability and Safety

A certified EV charging installer will make sure that your charging dock is installed in the right place, the right way, and with the appropriate upgrades and options required to make your charging dock safe and reliable. It’s important to treat the installation of this equipment as seriously as you would any other electrical device in your home. Installations require some or all of the following: upgrades to your electrical panel, running conduit, locating a safe place to mount your charging dock, ensuring weather-tight installation, and making sure that your ground and power wires are safely connected to the terminal blocks inside the unit. But perhaps most importantly, the certified installer will conduct a rigorous 22-point test and inspection to ensure that your charging dock is working safely and reliably – before you even plug into your vehicle. Installers certified by AeroVironment are trained to employ a charging dock servicing device that can simulate an EV and diagnose charging issues without opening the charging station. Precautions such as these are designed to protect your vehicle and ensure a seamless driving experience.

Ongoing Support

Most electric vehicle charging stations come with warranties – but when installed by a qualified and certified EV charging installer , you should receive a warranty that includes much more. Your standard service and warranty should cover:

➢  On-site user training
➢  Phone support
➢  On-site troubleshooting

Phone support and timely trouble shooting are perhaps the most important elements of the warranty – because you never want to be without a charging dock, or the use of your new electric car.  If further troubleshooting is necessary, your certified installer and service provider should provide on-site service as part of your standard warranty. A licensed electrician who is knowledgeable and certified specifically in the installation of EV charging equipment is the smart choice to go with your smart car. Licensed electricians who are also experts in this nascent market are rare, so be sure to ask the right questions.

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