What Goes into Your Home Charging Dock Installation?
Electric Vehicle Charging Station installation should that support nationally-recognized auto brands, require hard wiring to ensure safety, reliability and compliance with the National Electric Code. This step by step guide shows the process to install a charging station for your new electric vehicle at your home, condo, office, yacht club or country club.
- A rigorous installation process by a certified EV Charging station installation professional always begins with an on-site consultation at your home. During the consultation, your certified electrical contractor will inspect the existing electrical service and everyday household electrical demands, including air conditioners, heaters, spas and other major appliances. He will also work with you to determine the best location for your ev charging station. Some examples of the things you’ll consider together include where you park; where the charging receptacle is on your car; whether you foresee charging in the garage, outside in the driveway or both; the size of your garage and access to the charging station; and location of your electrical panel. Your electrical contractor combines your input and his physical assessment of your home to work with you on the most efficient and cost-effective installation scheme for your charger.
- Once you’ve decided where you want to install your charging station, with some guidance from your certified contractor, he will demonstrate the cord length from the proposed dock location to the parked vehicle’s charging receptacle. He may recommend an outdoor, pedestal-mounted installation or longer cord if you prefer to have the dock installed in the garage but occasionally park in the driveway. These accessibility issues have to be considered in conjunction with the proximity of the EVSE to your electrical service; your certified contractor can help you strike this balance of convenience and cost. The contractor will also ensure that the charging dock is going to be installed in a place that isn’t going to be an obstacle for you or your family walking through the garage.
- One of the most important items on your certified contractor’s checklist at the home consultation is determining whether your panel has the space and capacity for the Level 2 EVSE home charging dock’s 40A 208/240V circuit breaker. If the panel can’t accommodate the breaker, the contractor may recommend a sub-panel or twin-style breaker to create more room. He’ll also inspect your existing 15/20A GFCI outlet in the garage. He will likely recommend that you have an outlet on a dedicated circuit for the vehicle’s Level 1 cord set, for safer, more streamlined troubleshooting. Importantly, the contractor will collect photos and fill out forms to meticulously document the locations, electrical upgrades, processes, options, and any specific requests from you. The information gathered from this rigorous consultation is used to generate a detailed quote.
- Your certified contractor is well-versed in the national electrical code (NEC) as well as regional requirements – and he will facilitate the permit application and approval process for you. Once you’ve accepted the quote and are ready for your installation, the certified contractor immediately contacts the local permitting agency to obtain the proper electrical permits for the work. Each permitting agency is unique in the way they issue permits – some offer simple online permits while others require extensive plan checks. Because EV charging is new to everyone, many municipalities are cautious about issuing an installation permit. Some municipalities may even require documentation, such as line drawings, site plans, load calculations, product specifications, and operating instructions. The municipalities will cross-check these documents to verify that the product and proposed installation meet the requirements of NEC 625 – the article that governs the installation of EVSEs. Your certified contractor actively works with municipalities to provide the information required to streamline the process and reduce or avoid review times. The bottom line? The certified contractor obtains the permit without you having to worry about documentation or code compliance.
- Once the certified installer has obtained the permit, he’s ready to start the installation. He’ll briefly shut off power to the electrical panel and install a 40A 2-Pole Circuit Breaker. Then, he routes the conduit from the panel to the charging dock location. This may involve the contractor making bends in the conduit or adding fittings to get around obstacles or corners. If you requested hidden wires in your on-site consultation, he will fish the wiring through the wall for a clean look. Once the conduit is attached to the wall, the contractor will then pull the properly sized wire to feed the charging dock. The charging dock uses two power wires and one ground wire, typically #8 AWG and #10 AWG size, depending on the voltage drop.
- The installer will then mount the charging dock to a wall, and will create an opening for the conduit. He’ll then attach the conduit to the charging dock using a weather tight fitting, and connect the ground and power wires to the terminal blocks inside.
- Before attaching the front face plate, the certified installer will test your new home refueling station to make sure it works. As an example, AeroVironment has an “Easy Service” Tool that simulates an EV and can draw a full electrical load. The Easy Service Tool will test all of the charging dock’s key performance and safety features before training you on how to use the charging dock with your actual vehicle. Once the certified installer is confident that the unit is working safely and reliably, he will cover the charging dock to create a rain tight seal.
- Once the installation is complete, the certified installer will contact the municipality to schedule the electrical inspection. As with the permitting process, you won’t have to worry about securing the appointment; the installer will work with you to secure a meeting. Since many inspectors are unfamiliar with the charging dock and its installation particulars, the certified installer can walk the electrical inspector through the installation to answer any questions and ensure that the work passes inspection and is in compliance with NEC 625.
- Your charging dock installer should provide several levels of service, including do-it-yourself easy troubleshooting manuals, expert help desk service, and in-person, on-site support as needed. Your warranty should also include on-site charging dock replacement. While your stereo or washing machine warranties may not come with an on-site replacement offer, your charging dock warranty should – because you depend on your electric car, and your electric car depends on your charging dock.