As homeowners and businesses prepare for a wave of new electric vehicles to hit the market, many are wondering if their current electrical service will be enough to support their charging requirements into the future. It’s a great question to ask before purchasing an EV or a new fleet for your business. Let’s look at the factors that go into determining if your electric service and panel are ready to accommodate the additional load.
Factors To Consider For Your EV Charger
There are two things to consider to know if your existing service panel will handle the load of your EV charger: your existing service size and your household electrical load.
What Is Your Existing Service Size?
Determine what your service size is first and foremost. If you have 200 amp service, your home is likely prepared for an EV charger install, as long as your existing panel has enough space for a dedicated line for a level 2 charger. If you have enough amperage, but not enough space in the panel, a sub-panel may need to be installed for the electric vehicle charger installation. An electrician will be able to survey your service and determine if you have the space, which more than likely is the case.
If you have a 60 amp panel, you will not be able to add an EV charger to your home. This amperage will not be sufficient enough to run your appliances and handle the car charger, so upgrading to a 200 amp service at this point would be recommended.
If you have a 100 amp service and your electrical panel’s amperage is at capacity, you will need to a service panel upgrade from 100 amp to 200 amp.
If you have a 100 amp service and you have enough amperage, it still may be suggested to upgrade your service from 100 amp to 200 amp depending on your electrical appliance load.
What Is Your Electrical Load In Your House Like?
An EV level 2 charger can quickly utilize the majority of a 100 amp service to charge a vehicle (Tesla batteries require 24-42 amps). So, if your appliances are electric, you may experience light dimming and flickering, nuisance breaker trips, etc. from the high electric load while your electric vehicle is charging on a 100 amp service. This is especially important for future considerations like an additional household electric vehicle or to accommodate visitor EVs.
Do I Need a Service Panel Upgrade?
In conclusion, a 200 amp service is best for installing a home electric vehicle charger. It’s certainly feasible to install a charger on a 100 amp service, but you still may be pressing the limits of amperage your house can handle while charging your EV and running other things. The average home built more than 20 years ago will have a 100 amp service (if not a 60 amp). Today, new homes are built to code with a 200 amp service to meet the needs of the average home today.
Contact Us for EV Charger Installation
If you’re ready to install a charger for your electric car or hybrid car, our residential electricians at Westphal & Co. are here to help. We can help you choose the right location for your car charger — an important decision, since it’s a permanent fixture. We can let you know if you need to upgrade your home’s electrical system, and we can provide you with whole-house surge protection to protect not only your EV, but all the electrical components in your home.