How to Charge Your Electric Car at Home: Tips & Tricks

Good news! With a fully electric vehicle, you no longer have to pay for gas. Bad news: Electric car charging at home isn’t always as simple as plugging it in and being fully ready to go.  And now that electric cars are becoming more popular, the type of electricity plan you have is critical to the cost of charging an electric car at home. 

In this article, we go over whether home electric vehicle charging is more cost-effective than public car charging stations, how much these stations can cost versus charging your car at home, the best types of at-home car chargers, and the best off-peak hours to charge your electric car that keep your power bill low. 

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Tips & Tricks for Charging Your Electric Car at Home

We’re diving into everything you need to know about whether you should charge your EV to 100%, how long it takes to charge an electric car, what time is best to charge an EV, what type of charger should you buy, and most importantly: how much does it cost to charge an EV? Because at Energy Ogre, we care about providing tips to keep your electric bills low—including a lifestyle with an electric car.

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Is Charging My Electric Car at Home Worth It?

If you own an electric vehicle, you’ve realized that charging your car has different pros and cons than the way you used to just stop at a gas station on your way to work. You have to consider the cost of electric car charging stations if you want one at home or locate a nearby public charging station and rely on their availability. Let’s dive into some of the specifics on electric car charging stations costs and whether or not it’s worth it for you. 

How Much do Public Electric Car Charging Stations Cost?

Just like a gas station offers different fuel grades, electric car charging stations have varied prices on their “fuel,” too. The charger level (1 or 2) you want and the demand (time of day) for charging ports will affect how much you pay. According to Investopedia, you can expect to pay between an average of $10-$30 dollars each time you need to charge it.  

Is Charging my Car at Home Cheaper?

This question is a bit tougher to answer. What type of electric vehicle do you have? What type of charger do you have at home? What time do you typically charge it? What’s your electricity rate? Your energy plan can really impact your at-home charging costs. Luckily, Energy Ogre offers fixed-rate plans, so you don’t have to worry about paying more for your car’s electricity needs.  

How to Choose Between Different Types of Home Car Chargers

There are a few things to consider when it comes to home charging stations. However, first and foremost, you’re going to want to consult with an electrician who can inform you whether your home has charging capacity or if you’ll need to add circuits to accommodate your EV. From there, you have a couple of options that we’ll dive into. 

Level 1 vs Level 2 Car Chargers

Level 1 car chargers provide electricity through a 120-volt AC plug. Most electric vehicles come with a portable Level 1 cord which you’d plug in directly to your wall unit at home. If you charge your car this way for 8 hours, you can expect to replenish about 40 miles of electric range. That’s not bad if you have a relatively short daily commute, but some drivers may need more. That’s where Level 2 car chargers come in. These offer charging through 240-volt electrical service and can charge a 103.9 kWh battery to full overnight (10 hours). Most homes have this service available, but you’ll want to verify with your electrician. 

Here's a quick overview of how long it takes to fully charge a Tesla S (100 kWh battery): 

  • Level 1 (120 V): 20 to 40 hours 
  • Level 2 (240 V): 8 to 12 hours 
  • Level 3 (480 V): 15 to 25 minutes  

What is the Best Electric Vehicle Home Charger?

As stated above, if you drive less than 40 miles or so every day, your standard wall outlet is enough to keep your car charged and ready to go. For drivers who want a quicker charge and higher mileage, a plug-in or hardwired unit may be the route for you. Consumer Reports created an exhaustive list of their top seven home chargers that range from $300-$700. With specific concerns like cord length, convenience, ease of plugging in, and whether or not charging resumes automatically after a power outage—there is a charger for you. 

How to Set Up a Home Car Charging Station

Once you’ve picked the charger that best suits your needs, you’ll need to be sure your equipment complies with your local, state, and national codes and regulations. Your electrician will be familiar with the appropriate National Electrical Code (NEC) so you can expect a safe and compliant installation. 

How Far Can I Get on an Electric Charge?

The total mileage of an electric car ranges from 200 to 400+ miles, but that’s not the whole picture. Depending on your vehicle’s battery, how new the car is, the outdoor temperature—all of these things can affect your car’s mileage. See the breakdown of what we mean when comparing just car chargers:

Car Charger Level 

Electric Car Charging Hours 

Car Battery Charge Percent 

Mileage on Car Charge 

 

Level 1 Car Charger 

1-2 Hours 

>10% 

4-8 miles 

3-6 Hours 

25% 

12-24 mi 

6-10 Hours 

35-40% 

24-40 mi 

10-16 Hours 

50% 

40-64 mi 

 

Level 2 Car Charger 

1-2 Hours 

30% 

21-42 mi 

3-6 Hours 

50% 

63-126 mi 

6-10 Hours 

80-100% 

126-210 mi 

10-16 Hours 

100% 

210-336 mi 

Using general estimates, you’ll see it’s not always a clear picture as to how far an electric car can go on one charge. If you’re an EV owner (or looking to buy one soon), ask your local dealership how long does the EV battery last without charging. It’s easier to determine your electric car miles per charge if you know the exact battery type, charger level you plan to use, and how often you plan to charge it. 

How Many kWh Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car?

Let’s start specifically: You’re a Tesla Model 3 owner and you need to know how many kwh it takes to charge your Tesla. This EV has a 40-kWh battery and can travel about 165 miles on a full charge. However, this estimate could change based on weather conditions and where you’re driving (highway versus city). If you’re not a Tesla owner and want to know the average of all other EV’s, it takes about 30 kWh to travel 100 miles. This is the same amount of electricity you might use each day to run your household appliances, power your A/C, keep the lights on, and charge your computers. Wondering what else a kilowatt-hour powers? Energy Ogre breaks it all down for you

How Much Does It Cost to Charge My Car at Home?

With so many variables, it can be hard to know if opting for EVs is the right decision financially. Here’s a breakdown for what you’d expect to pay as an EV owner in Texas: 

  • It costs 13-18 cents per kWh on average as of September 2022, which is higher than normal. (Luckily, Energy Ogre members always have an advocate on their side, monitoring the newest rates and most cost-effective plans available.) 
  • The most popular electric car in the US is the Tesla Model Y—it has a 74-kWh battery and travels 303-330 miles per charge. 
  • If you assume an average effective rate per kWh in Texas is about 15 cents, it would cost you $11.10 to fully charge your Tesla Model Y.

For reference, if you spent the same amount of money on gas (with the average cost per gallon being $3.45), you’d only get about 3.22 gallons of gas. And if you're a proud owner of Texas’ favorite car, the F-150, you’d only be able to go 83.72 miles.  Comparing a truck to a Tesla may not seem fair, but even if you drove a highly efficient gas-powered car, like a Honda Civic, you’d still only be able to go about 112.7 miles with $11.10 at the gas station.  

When is the Best Time to Charge My Electric Car at Home?

In Texas, there are peak electricity cost hours in the wholesale market, where the prices can be much more expensive than other times of day. As for the consumer, it’s a little bit different. First off, Energy Ogre members don’t have to worry about the best time to charge EVs at home because we find you fixed-rate plans, so your energy costs remain the same throughout the day. There’s no true cheapest time to charge a Tesla (or other EV) at home if you’re on a fixed-rate plan. 

If you’re on a time of use plan, then it becomes a different story. You would want charge your car in the time periods that you’re incentivized to do so. For example, if you’re on a plan marketed with “free nights,” you’d obviously want to charge your car at night during the specific hours found in your plan’s Electricity Facts Label. In those non-incentivized hours, you may be paying more than customers on a fixed-rate plan per kWh. 

As Texas continues to move toward more renewable energy production, electricity plans may end up changing as well. The time of day when electricity is generated, and the cost for retailers to buy it on the wholesale market, could impact the way time of use plans are structured. 

As for now though, being on a fixed rate plan helps take away the guesswork of if there’s a better time of day to charge your electric vehicle or not. 

“Keep in mind,” Jesson Bradshaw, Energy Ogre’s CEO notes, “if you're deciding to buy an electric car, you'll probably own that car for 5-8 years and it will make a big impact on your current electric consumption. Your electricity plan might not play a huge role in your day-to-day life right now but having the right plan should be on your radar.”  

As a Texas energy expert who knows a thing or two about energy input versus energy output, Bradshaw continues to say, “Electricity rates and plans are likely to evolve over the course of the time you own this vehicle, so you need to be diligent about choosing a plan that fits your future needs if you choose to buy an EV.” 

How Long Does It Take to Charge an Electric Car at Home?

As stated above in the chart, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a full day to charge your electric vehicle. However, these are the five major factors that will affect how long it’ll take to charge a Tesla car or other EV:

  • The size of your EV’s battery: The bigger the battery capacity, the longer it takes to charge. 
  • The status of your battery: Charging from empty (as opposed to half-full) will take longer. 
  • The maximum charging rate of your EV: You won’t be able to charge any faster than whatever your car’s maximum charging rate is—even if you use a charging point with a higher rate. 
  • The maximum charging rate of your charging point: Like charging rate of the car itself, your charging point also has a maximum rate. It’s not recommended to charge at a point with a lower rate than that of your vehicle. 
  • The weather: It takes longer to charge your EV when it’s colder outside.  
  • When it comes to how long it takes to charge an electric car, you’ll always want to make sure you take into consideration these factors—otherwise you might be wasting time (and energy!) every time you try to charge.  

Are There Regulations for Home Car Charging?

As far as regulations go, anyone can charge their car at home with a Level 1 charger (that comes with your EV when you buy). If you want to upgrade to a Level 2 wall-mounted charger, you’ll need to consult with an electrician to ensure your breaker box can handle the increased load. And if you’re concerned with pricing, Texas offers several incentives to help mitigate some of the installation costs.   

Choosing to drive an electric car comes with several follow up questions: 

  • How much do electric car charging stations cost? 
  • What’s the best EV home charger? 
  • How far can a Tesla (or other EV) go on one charge? 
  • How long does it take to charge an electric car?

If an EV fits your lifestyle and you want to buy one for yourself, we’re happy to help by always making sure you’re getting the best electricity rate every time you charge your car.

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