Six things to consider before buying a charging station for an electric vehicle

Across the country, the use of electric vehicles is growing at an exponential rate. For example, in Quebec it is estimated that by the year 2026, there will be more than 300,000 electric vehicles that will be owned and operated by various individuals. Also, in Canada alone, there are more than 5,000 public charging stations available across the country.

Are you looking to potentially own an electric car? If so, you’ll need to know that owning an electric vehicle is much different than owning a car that uses gasoline. The major difference is that you’ll need to charge your car before operating it. So, before you drive off the lot with your new car, Allstate Canada’s team of trusted advisors have prepared a list of the top six things to consider before buying a charging station for an electric vehicle.

1. Determine which charging mode works best for your car and your lifestyle

There are three categories of charging stations: 120 Volts, 240 Volts and 400 Volts.

Level 1 – standard 120 V

All electric vehicles available in North America are delivered with a “charger” allowing it to be plugged into a dedicated standard 120V socket. It is a basic charger to start out with, however it is advantageous because of how easily accessible this charger is to come about. However, the downside of charging your car at 120V is that charging times can be slow. For example, to achieve a full battery for the car, it would take approximately six to eight hours to complete for a hybrid vehicle, and 11 to 16 hours for an all-electric vehicle.

Level 2- 240 V

The level 2 charging station is commonly installed in most residences. It uses a 240V power source. The total recharge time is 3 to 4 hours for a 100% fully charged hybrid car, and 6 to 8 hours for an all-electric vehicle.

Level 3 – Fast charging station – 400 V and more

This type of charging station can charge a vehicle up to 80% in just 20 to 30 minutes. However, the vehicle must have a fast charging port, sometimes available as an option on higher-end models. Also, this type of terminal is only accessible in certain public charging networks.

2. Track your car’s usage through a smart car charging station

Smart charging stations give you full control of your station and provide data on your usage.

Remote control

This feature is useful for charging stations installed outside, because each time a car connects to it, you receive a notification asking you to confirm or deny access.

Data monitoring

This feature provides you with data about your home charging habits, giving you an overview of your usage costs. However, some electric cars offer the same functionality as smart charging stations. Therefore it’s important to know your car’s features to ensure that you’re not paying twice for the same features.

3. Mother Nature

In Canada, we typically have our fair mix of extreme cold, heat waves, wind, rain and ice. When selecting your specific charging station, be sure to ensure that the model you choose is waterproof and the cables do not become rigid when the temperature drops.

4. Know the cost

The cost of purchasing a 240-volt charging station can range anywhere from $600 to $1,300 and installing can range anywhere from $400 to $1,100 (before taxes) On average, it can cost approximately $1,500 for the terminal and its installation.

Also, according to the Transition énergétique du Québec, the cost of charging an electric vehicle is approximately $1. If the vehicle is primarily charged at home every night, the estimated annual energy costs would be approximately $300 (assuming the average driver drives 20,000 km per year). You can find an online calculation tool to visualize different scenarios.

5. Purchasing the charging station

You can buy your charging station online or from your car dealer. It is also easy to find a distributor or even a manufacturer online. Currently on the market, there are many suppliers located across North America.

Also, if you purchased a new rechargeable electric or hybrid vehicle, you may be eligible for a $600 rebate on the purchase of a 240-volt home charging station.

6. The installation by a professional

Many provinces across the country have their set of building codes that homeowners need to be aware of. An electrician can, during a preliminary inspection, check if the electrical panel of your home has enough capacity to accommodate a new 240-volt circuit or if an addition needs to be made. However, be sure to research the building codes in your province to know the specific requirements.

It is also possible to recharge a vehicle at your workplace, be sure to speak with your employer to see if they offer a charging station.