Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs): These vehicles have both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, but they cannot be charged by plugging them into an electric outlet. Instead, the electric motor is powered by a battery that is charged through regenerative braking and the internal combustion engine. Since these cars can't be charged by plugging in there's no need for an electrician.
Tesla Cord End: This is what the end of the Tesla Charging Station cord and the mobile connector cord look like. This cord end is proprietary to Tesla and doesn't plug directly into any other make of electric vehicle.
Fill out the form on our EVSE Quote page, it's relatively painless and I promise all the information is necessary but if you're unsure what to put you can always leave it blank and we can walk you through that part if we need to later.
Choosing an electrician is part intellect and part instinct.
Find an electrician that is licensed. First and foremost, you'll want to make sure that the person or company you choose is licensed and insured. You can check for licensing on the TDLR website. If anything were to happen to your home the electrician's insurance would cover you and them.
When possible the electrician should be trained to install the equipment per the manufacturer's specs. Some manufacturers, like Tesla, have a program for installers, and some, like Juicebox, don't.
You should choose an electrician you trust and are comfortable with. Ultimately, this is your home where you sleep every night, you should be choosing an electrician that you feel will do the work you're requesting, will explain the process along the way, and will do the work to current code guidelines.
When determining the location for an electric car charging station in your garage, there are a few things to consider:
Proximity to your electric panel: The charging station will need to be connected to your home's electric panel, so it's important to choose a location that's relatively close to the panel. For most installations, especially on homes that are not newly constructed, there isn't enough power available in the panel typically located inside the garage. Almost every installation will require an electrical run from the main breaker panel, typically found on the outside of the home next to the electric meter. The further away from the breaker panel the installation is, the more expensive the installation will be.
Accessibility: The charging station should be easily accessible, both for you and anyone else who may need to use it. Consider factors such as the location of your car's charging port, the length of the charging cable, and the way you plan to park. Some cars have a charging port at the front of the car near the front tire, many have a charging port where a gas tank cap is typically found.
Let's take accessibility into account for a Tesla, the charging port is on the back driver side of the car. If you typically pull into the garage the best location would be closer to the garage door. If you typically back in then the best location would be closer to the front of the garage.
We do a lot of installations between garage doors so that a vehicle can be charged from either parking spot. Keep in mind that with the Tesla Wall Connector the charging cord comes into the right side of the unit leaving very little space. A charging station like the ChargePoint Flex keeps the handle on the front of the unit so installation could be completed in a tighter space.
Safety: Make sure the charging station is installed in a safe location, away from any potential hazards such as flammable materials, water sources, or areas where it could be easily damaged. Many a charging cord has been run over from being drug across the garage floor.
Space: Consider the amount of space you have available in your garage. You'll need to ensure that the charging station won't take up too much space or obstruct your ability to park your car. This isn't typically a problem for most homes in the Austin area but it's definitely something to keep in mind.
Types of Charging Station Cord Ends
Universal Connector or J1772: This is what the end of the J1772 cords look like. This is what we call a universal connection because it works with every EV and plug-in hybrid. It can be used with Tesla as long as there's an adapter to convert from the J1772 to the Tesla connection.
No garage? No problem, all reputable charging stations that we have come across so far are UL listed to be installed outside safely.
Thinking about buying an electric car but not sure where to start?
Level 1 charging refers to charging that is done using a standard household outlet. This type of outlet is likely already installed in your garage or on the outside of your home so an electrician isn't needed in most cases.
Types of Level 2 Charging
Charging Station: This is a hardwired charging setup to be connected to a dedicated circuit. (A dedicated circuit simply means that the wiring goes from the breaker directly to the thing being powered.) This unit attaches to the wall and the plug comes to the car via the cord attached. This is a permanent installation but the unit can be uninstalled by an electrician to take with you to the next house. The circuit will stay in place if the unit is uninstalled so the next tenant can bring their charger to connect.
This setup is currently recommended due to changes in the National Electrical Code 2020.
Level 3 charging refers to charging that is done using a high-power direct current (DC) connection. This is a commercial-type charging station.
NEMA 14-50 or 6-50: First let's define what a NEMA 14-50 is; it's a 240-volt outlet at 50 amps. It is not a dryer outlet - dryers work on 30 amps. A NEMA 6-50 is another 240-volt outlet at 50 amps with a 3-prong configuration instead of 4 like the 14-50. With this setup you would need the mobile connector cord which until recently used to come with every Tesla.
Why are 14-50s associated with electric cars? Because when Tesla first rolled onto the market there weren't Superchargers located on every major interstate so they were equipped to be able to charge from any RV park. It was a great idea with great execution -- until National Electrical Code changed with the 2020 code year. Around the summer of 2019, Tesla stopped shipping NEMA 14-50 adapters with every car when the Model 3 standard range came out. In 2021 or around that time, they stopped shipping mobile connectors with all cars altogether. It seems they found the same problems as we did with these setups in the new electrical code rules.
This setup is not currently recommended due to changes in the National Electrical Code 2020. Article 210 (Branch Circuits) lists 210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel (A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt through 250-volt receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A)(1) through (A)(11) and supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to ground shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.
What this code says is that all garage outlets like the NEMA 14-50 need to be protected by a GFCI breaker. All in all, not that big of a deal, except that when the EV runs its self-test cycle the GFCI breaker interprets the signal as an issue and trips (disrupts charging) to make sure everyone is safe. The only problem is that there wasn't a problem to keep people safe from, it's an annoyance, also referred to as nuisance tripping. I truly believe that one day this issue will be resolved between manufacturers but until then, the charging station is our recommendation.
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Installing a charging station inside the garage near the garage door is probably the most common installation we do but you'll need to decide if the left or the right side of the garage works best for your needs.
Charging Station Location
Choosing an Electrician
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs): These vehicles are powered solely by an electric motor and a battery pack, and do not have an internal combustion engine. They are charged by plugging them into an electric outlet or charging station. From an electrical standpoint, we typically install a 240-volt hardwired charging station for this type of EV. We generally look for an installation amperage between 30 and 60 amps if possible but many drivers could charge more often with a lower amperage charging circuit if needed.
Types of EVs
Level 2 charging refers to charging that is done using a dedicated 240-volt circuit. This type of install should be done by a licensed electrician.
Types of Charging: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs): These vehicles have both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, and can be charged by plugging them into an electric outlet or charging station. They can operate in either electric or hybrid mode, depending on the charge level of the battery and the driving conditions. Most plug-in hybrids can't take more than 30 amps on a 240-volt circuit, so using a standard household outlet (20 amp 120-volt) or a 240-volt 20 amp circuit will work for most drivers/cars.
If you're looking to install an electric car charger in Austin, Texas, there are a few steps you should follow:
1. Determine the type of charger you need: There are several types of electric car chargers available, including Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast chargers. Level 1 chargers plug into a standard 120V outlet and provide a slow charge, while Level 2 chargers require a 240V outlet and can charge your car much faster. DC fast chargers are even faster, but they're typically only found at public charging stations. More about this below.
2. Choose alocation: You'll need to find a location where you can install the charger. If you own a home, you can install the charger in your garage or driveway. Every charging station we've come across so far is UL listed to be installed in the garage or outside.
If you live in an apartment or condo, you'll need to get permission from your landlord or homeowners' association to install a charger. While we don't take on commercial charging station needs there are plenty of electricians in the Austin area that do but keep in mind that some apartment buildings have specified electricians that are the only contractors allowed to do work on the premise.
3. Find a licensed electrician: You'll need to hire a licensed electrician to install the charger. They'll be able to determine the best location for the charger and install it safely and according to National Electrical Code and local ordinances.
4. Check for incentives: There are often incentives available for installing electric car chargers, such as tax credits or rebates. Check with your utility company or the city of Austin to see what incentives are available. Austin Energy currently has a rebate for their customers installing a Level 2 charging station. To find out if you're eligible for the federal tax rebate you'll want to speak to a tax professional to find out if you qualify.
5. Enjoy your electric car: Once your charger is installed, you'll be able to enjoy the convenience of charging your electric car at home.
Overall, installing an electric car charger in Austin is a relatively straightforward process, but it's important to work with a licensed electrician and follow all local regulations to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
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