The best place for an EV Charger in the garage is where it has clear and unobstructed access to the electric vehicle or vehicles, proximity to the EV’s charging port, and away from potential cable hazards. It should also be installed close to the required fusebox.
As one of the USA’s leading online experts on all things EV, we are here to guide you through the best options and placement of your EV charger in the garage.
We will look at the various aspects of positioning an EV charger, such as whether you want a hardwired charger or use existing outlets.
Plus, how your EV charger’s installation and location would impact connecting it to your PV system (Photovoltaic/solar) or Tesla Power Wall. Let’s explore this in more detail.
Best Location For An EV Charger In Your Garage – Safety First
Aside from the proximity to your EV, your biggest concern with the position of an electric vehicle charging station should be safety.
And here, I’m not referring to electrical safety in terms of compliance but making sure that ‘non-qualified’ personnel, such as curious little fingers, can access these high-voltage points.
Ensuring the EV Charger’s location is safe and practical should be a primary consideration.
Here, you may need to add protection if you plan to use existing outlets or have a hardwired installation. You may need to install these higher up on the wall or even consider an overhead installation.
Depending on the garage’s roof, it could be a great idea to have your charging cable and port placed above the Evs and then lifted out of the way once completed.
Safety would also mean that the cables and live circuits can not cause short circuits or fire by coming into contact with other cables and other items typically found in a garage- so you may need to clean them out before installing your charger.
Regardless of where you place your charger, make sure you have clear passages for the cables that are likely to be tripped over or pulled when walking and that they don’t obstruct other areas where you may need to work, like a workbench.
Consider Your Vehicle’s Charging Port Location
Another consideration when looking at where to place the EV Charger in your garage is where the electric vehicle charging port is located.
Then mounting the charger on a side wall of the garage makes sense for the charging port.
If the port is located in the front of the car, that may pose a different challenge, as you need to install the charger closer to the port.
Depending on where the port is, you also may have to reverse your car into the garage when parking it to avoid requiring a long charging cable.
For example, if you have two EVs of the same brand and their charging ports are located on the side where a conventional gas tank may be, you may have to reverse the car into the garage while parking the other normally to allow for optimum access to the charger for both ports.
EV Charger: Hardwired Vs. Existing Outlet For Charging Time
One of the first key decisions you need to make when considering the position of the EV charger in your garage is whether you are going with a hardwired installation or will use existing outlets.
Remember that a Level 1 charger using 120v will charge slower than a Level 2 charger that uses 240V, and 480V DC will charge even faster than a 240V Level 2 charger.
As a guideline, a level 1 charger would add about 3-5 miles per hour of charging, while a level 2 charger would provide around 25 mph of charging.
Level 1 and 2 chargers can be plugged into existing outlets, but you can also opt for the hardwired option.
If you are using your EV daily, and it will be charging overnight, then a Level 1 is not an option, and you would need to consider a Level 2 or DC Fast charger for your garage.
If you have an existing 240v supply, you can opt for either the NEMA 6-50 or NEMA 14-50 plug, but remember that these charging units aren’t made to be frequently plugged and unplugged, so they would need to remain plugged in where possible.
Hardwired Vs. Existing Socket: EV Charger Location Options
Another point in favor of hardwired systems is that you are not limited to the position of the existing sockets.
You can install and position the hardwired charger for an optimum position in the garage.
If you have an older house, the chances are that the power outlets in the garage were installed to supply power to workbenches or heavy-duty dryers.
This may not be practical as it may require a long charging cable to reach the EV charging port.
While you could relocate the existing socket to a more convenient position in the garage, this will have a cost for both the relocation and compliance.
So it may not be viable, especially when it will not improve the charging rates.
Ideally, you should have your charger within 3-5 feet of your car’s EV port, and if you have two EVs, then the charger should be located where you have an equal distance between the charging ports and the charger.
Overall, the hardwired option is preferable. Even though it will be more expensive than existing fixed outlets.
You can install a higher-capacity system and have it in a prime position in your garage, saving the need for extension cables.
What Are The Best Options For Charging My EV From My PV Or PowerWall?
If you already have a solar PV system or a Tesla power wall, you can also charge your EV from this supply, but you will need to have them connected to the charger.
Before you do this, you need to establish how much power the EV charger will draw, as you don’t want to drain your batteries when charging your car.
Of course, if you have good solar conditions during the day, you can charge your EV from the panels without depleting the batteries. Still, since most people would charge overnight, this could drain your capacity depending on the kWh rating of the charger.
What Are EV Smart Chargers?
This is where smart EV chargers come into play. These units can adjust the rate of charge to match fluctuating demand and solar output.
Even though an average home PV inverter may only be rated at around 5kW and a level-2 charger can use around 7kW or more.
A smart EV charger would use a special CT meter to measure the flow between the solar output and the grid.
By balancing the EV charger demand with the solar output and grid supply to the home and allowing maximum charge when your home’s demand is low.
And then reducing the charger output when the demand increases. Smart chargers facilitate equilibrium between the charger and PV system and eliminate the risk of a mains trip due to over-demand.
Another feature is that you can set your smart EV charger only to use power when the kWh rate is low, such as overnight.
By reducing demand during peak hours, the smart chargers cut charging costs and reduce grid or battery demand.
The JuiceBox is a level 2 charger available with a power output of up to 48 amps, a 25-foot cable, and a NEMA 14-50 plug. The JuiceBox charger is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. In addition, it's a smart charger that allows you to communicate with the charger via an app.
Should I Install My Charger Indoors Or Outdoors?
Wherever possible, your EV charger should be installed indoors.
This protects it from the weather and reduces costs associated with weatherproofing sockets and covers.
If your car is parked outside, for example, in a covered or partially covered area, installing the charger close to the vehicle outside would be advisable.
You must ensure that the charger is adequately covered and insulated against rain, snow, and cold, as the temperature can affect the charger’s performance.
How Much Would It Cost To Install A Car Charging Point?
The national average for installing a car charging point is between $1000 and $2500, depending on what level of charger you want.
A level-2 wall-mounted system would cost around $1200, but this could increase to about $4500 if this level-2 charger had capacity for two cars and required a circuit panel upgrade and pedestal mount.
On the lower end, you could pay around $300 for a level-1 replacement charger with an existing 120v outlet, which would take about 24 hours to charge the battery.
Do I Need A Permit To Install A Car Charging Point?
Yes, you will need permission to install a car charging point in your home.
This ensures that the installation is safe and poses no fire risk to the property, as next to your HVAC system, your EV charger will be the highest power consumer in your home.
Failing to pull a permit may result in fines for contravening building codes resulting in a ‘cease-and-desist’ order until you acquire a permit.
Remember that this installation requires skilled electricians, and a permit declares that this work was carried out according to the required spec and safety standards.
Whether you opt for a hardwired EV charger or plugin, here are the key takeaways to consider:
1️⃣ It should be situated where there is clear access to the vehicle’s charging ports.
2️⃣ Away from any potential tangles and hazards such as toys, other cables, and liquids that could cause a short or fire.
3️⃣ Using smart chargers would be an ideal option. With the available connectivity, you can easily wire your EV charger to your existing PV system or PowerWall without too much trouble.
4️⃣ Remember that you will need a permit to install a hardwired EV charger and make sure you use a reputable and certified installer to ensure safety and compliance.
Using the advice above, you can start this process right now by taking a look inside your garage and scoping out some potential locations for your EV charger!