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I Need to Charge My Car

How to Install charging stations for those homeowners with electric vehicles


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June 4, 2012 by Robert Koci

By Heidi Filici

Welcome to the generation of electric transport. Homeowners are beginning to move toward “green” practices. They started by asking for a home with a smaller carbon footprint and you delivered. Now they’re looking for a way to get to and from their environmentally-friendly abode without spewing toxic emissions into the air. Voila – the electric car. Now, this car needs to be charged. That’s where you come in once again to save the day by installing their very own charging station in their garage!

Josh Tzventarny, director of operations at Plug’nDrive, tells us how:

Getting started

  1. Organize a home inspection by a certified electrician who will inspect the home and ensure that their connection is sufficient and able to accept an electric vehicle. Usually this is just a matter of running a line from the circuit break,
    occasionally the home may need some upgrades.
  2. Once the car charger has been selected, an electrician should be brought in to install the unit and make sure that everything is operating properly. In most cases the installation will not be overly complex and it may be tempting for ‘handymen’ to install the units themselves, but the Canadian Safety Authority (CSA) and charger manufacturers recommend a certified electrician. There may be a follow up from the CSA to inspect the installation on a case by case basis.
  3. It is important that the local electricity company is notified of an EVSE installation as it will enable them to monitor and plan their electricity system in a more efficient manner. They may also offer incentives or rebates to consumers, but there is no standard system and each company operates independently.

Tips:

  • It is ideal to pre-wire a home for an EV charging unit during renovations, requiring that some wiring be embedded into the wall in advance.
  • The preferred means of charging is at Level 2 – 240v, which can typically charge a vehicle in 3-5 hours. Level 1 is available at 120v, but does not provide enough power to quickly charge the vehicle and it will fail to meet the expectations of the consumer.
  • An electric vehicle draws significant electricity and can double the ‘footprint’ of a home. It is important that the electrical panel is up-to-date and well maintained to avoid unnecessary disruptions.

“The electric vehicle industry is primed for growth in the coming years as new models become available and gas prices continue to rise. It is definitely a trend that contractors and homeowners who are doing renovations should take into consideration as there are opportunities to make homes ‘EV ready’ by pre-installing the wiring for charging stations. It may not be an immediate concern, but it will save considerable time and hassle when they look to make the switch in the future,” says Tzventarny.

 

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Heidi Filici is a freelance writer based in Toronto and a part-time contributor to Canadian Contractor. hfilici@canadiancontractor.ca