Finding a convenient and safe place to plug in your electric vehicle (EV) can be challenging. If you own a garage, the ideal place to charge your car is already found, but if you don´t or your garage is already used for another car then there might be some points you want to consider.
We explore various options for charging an EV at home without a garage.
Installing a Level 2 Charger Outside
Charging an EV at home without a garage is possible by installing a Level 2 charger outside if you have a driveway, a carport, or a parking pad in front of your house. This is your best option. The level 2 charger is faster than the ones that typically come with the vehicle, which are mostly standard Level 1 chargers. Level 2 chargers may only need as little as four hours to recharge your vehicle.
But there’s a caveat when installing a level 2 charger outside. Please consider the following points before installing the charger.
Here are things you should consider:
- Power supply: A level 2 charger requires a dedicated circuit with sufficient power to accommodate the high charging power. That means you may need to upgrade your electrical service to ensure the connection operates efficiently and safely. Ensure your service rating is at least 30-40 amps, and install a dedicated circuit to avoid overloading.
- Weather Protection: A great option is to install a weatherproof outdoor EV charger. Otherwise, charging your electric vehicle without a garage still needs the location you set up the car charging station to be sheltered or offer some protection from the elements.
Options can include a shady place if you live in very hot areas or a carport near a shed or home siding to protect the charger from moisture. Make sure your charging cables are weather resistant for the EV owner’s safety and longevity. Also, keep the charger in a location away from direct sunlight and possible sources of water damage.
- Accessibility: You want the charging station to be in an accessible location. Therefore, ensure there’s enough parking space for the EV and for the cable to reach your car. The charging station should accommodate disabled members if necessary.
- Safety: For the safety of everyone, the level 2 charger should be in a well-lit and open area. The installation should also have overcurrent protection and ground fault protection. More importantly, hire the services of a qualified and licensed electrician for a safe and correct installation.
- Permits and zoning: Your local authorities may have put particular restrictions in place regarding where you can install the EV charging station. This is for the safety and convenience of everyone in the area. Therefore, check the zoning laws and regulations, and obtain the necessary permits before proceeding with the installation.
- Access limitations to other EV owners: You should be able to decide who gets to use your charger at every time. Since you are paying for the electricity others should only be able to charge at your home with your permission. You could install a charging station, which allows for some kind of approval process or you can install the charging station in an area, that only you have access to, for example behind a gateway.
- Cost: An outdoor Level 2 charger installation has its costs. You’ll need EV charging equipment, labor, and the necessary permits. So, how much are we talking about? The cost of setting up a level 2 charger without a garage depends on various factors. Where do you want the installation, and what additional equipment is needed?
The labor cost will also vary based on the work needed to install the charging station. Your yard or driveway may have particular characteristics that make the installation difficult. Therefore, the electrician may invoice for the extra work. Don’t hire an unlicensed or unqualified electrician to save a few bucks as this may prove costly, and even cost your life.
Using a Portable Charging Station
A portable charging station or outdoor-rated EVSE is your next best option for charging your electric car overnight and at home without a garage.
These units are compact and lightweight EV charging equipment, useful for traveling as you can easily pack them inside the vehicle.
The portable EV charging equipment mostly comes with your vehicle, connects to a standard 120-volt outlet, and can take up to 20 hours to charge your electric car. This might be a good option but please make sure:
- The portable EV charger can be safely used outdoors.
- To check the distance between your home and the vehicle. If the distance is too short, you may need to buy a longer cable or a cord extension.
- To check zoning laws and regulations in your area, especially if you don’t own a driveway and have to charge your vehicle across the pavement.
- To protect the cable as people could accidentally trip over it.
Using a Public Charging Station
Consider a public charging station if you’re without a garage, driveway, or street to install or use a home or portable charger. These stations are usually in shopping centers and other convenient public spaces.
The public charging stations may have the DC fast charging option, which juices up your vehicle within a few minutes. You don’t need overnight charging or a garage. A public charging station is comparable to a gasoline station, so installing it at home is unnecessary.
Your best option for charging your electric car at home without a garage depends on your circumstances. You can install a charging station in the driveway or street, use a portable charging station, or use public charging stations.