Charging your electric vehicle at home

Depending on the type of vehicle and the voltage of your outlet, you can use your home’s electricity to charge your plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle (EV). Charging stations designed for home use are available and provide a faster charge than a wall outlet.

Important: check your owner’s manual for details on how to charge your vehicle at home, and consult a qualified electrician to ensure you can do so safely.

Three levels of EV charging

As you would expect, the more power a charging station provides, the faster it can charge your EV. There are three levels:

  • Level 1: regular outlet, best used when you can park your car for several hours
  • Level 2: commonly installed at homes and businesses for faster charging than level 1
  • Direct current fast charging (DCFC): fastest charge, great for charging on long road trips. Much costlier to install and maintain. Find DCFC public electric charging stations in BC.  

Comparing level 1 and level 2 charging at home

  Level 1: 120-voltLevel 2: 240-volt 
OutletEVs can typically be charged using a standard 120-volt outlet.Many EV owners opt for a 240-volt service because it’s a faster charging option.
InstallationAll plug-in electric cars currently sold come with an adapter to connect your EV to a 120-volt household outlet.

You’ll need to purchase and install an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) control that connects to your EV. This uses a dedicated 240-volt household electrical circuit, the same type of circuit used by your dryer or oven.

Consult a qualified electrician to install a level 2 charging station at your home.

Standard charging time

Plug-in hybrid: 6 to 8 hours

Battery electric: 11 to 16 hours

Plug-in hybrid: 3 to 4 hours

Battery electric: 6 to 8 hours

Factors to consider for EV charging at a detached home:

  • How much current (amps) will your EV use when charging?
  • What’s your existing electrical service panel capacity (e.g. 100 amp, 200 amp, etc.)?
  • Is there a 240-volt circuit already installed and available for use, and if not, is there room in the panel for a new 240 V double-pole circuit breaker?
  • Will the charging station (EVSE) be direct-wired or plugged in using a 240-volt receptacle?
  • How much will it cost you to change your home’s wiring?

Note: if you want to install a 400-amp service panel, this is an uncommon upgrade that will be classified as an electrical service extension and you may need to pay for the extension.