December 20, 2023

How much does it cost to install a Level 2 charger for your electric vehicle?

Man using his smartphone to monitor charging on his JuiceBox home charger

Switching to your first electric vehicle (EV) is a little more complicated than buying another gas-powered car. There’s a lot to consider, and how you’ll charge your vehicle is among the top questions you’ll face.


For most Americans, home will be the charging location of choice. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 80% of EV charging happens at home, due to lower energy costs and greater convenience. Nonetheless, many drivers considering an EV may worry about the cost of installing an EV charger.


After you pay for an EV, are you going to have to spend significantly more to set up a home charging station? Generally speaking, a home charging installation shouldn’t break the bank. Here’s what you can expect.


Why a Level 2 charging station is best

The first thing to know when considering EV charging station costs is that there are three types, or levels, of charging stations.


  • Level 1 chargers: These basic chargers usually come with your vehicle, and they plug into a standard 120-volt outlet with no installation required. However, you’ll pay for that convenience with slow charging — a typical Level 1 charger will take 32 hours to fully charge your vehicle.
  • Level 2 chargers: These are the most common choice for home charging setups. You can hardwire or plug them into a 240-volt outlet, so they may require some electrical work to prepare your home. Level 2 chargers cost around $500, not including installation, and they can charge your car up to nine times faster than Level 1 chargers.
  • Level 3 chargers: These chargers, also known as DC fast chargers, can charge your EV up to 80% in under an hour—but they’re not for home use and are typically placed in high-traffic public locations.


Level 2 stations are more than enough for home charging needs. Most drivers charge overnight, and any Level 2 charger will get you a full charge in that timeframe.


The first decision: Hardwired or plug-in?

As noted above, most Level 2 charging stations offer the option to plug them into a 240-volt outlet or hardwire them for a permanent installation. There are benefits to both options that extend beyond cost considerations, but in terms of price, the plug-in option may be slightly cheaper in some cases.


Manufacturers may or may not charge more for hardwired versions of their equipment. Enel X Way, for instance, offers the same price for each JuiceBox charger of the same amperage, whether you choose a hardwired or plug-in version.


The real cost difference comes down to installation. If you already have a NEMA 14-50 plug available in your garage, you won’t have to pay an electrician to upgrade your electrical setup. Without this plug available, costs for plug-in and hardwired chargers will likely be similar, as both may require electrical panel upgrades and charging station or plug installation.


J.D. Power reports that 68% of Americans  opt for a hardwired setup for their Level 2 chargers to use a safer—and sometimes faster—charging setup. Keep in mind, too, that some municipalities require a hardwired installation.


Choosing a charger

As noted, a typical Level 2 charging station costs around $500, but pricing can range from around $300 to $1,000. So, is it worth paying more for your charger? That depends on what features you need.


Pricier Level 2 chargers will typically be rated for higher amperages, which means they’re capable of charging your car faster. However, charging speed also depends on your electrical circuit and your car’s charging capabilities. It may not be worth buying a charger that’s rated for more than your home or car can handle unless you plan to purchase a faster charging car or upgrade your electrical setup.


Beyond charging speed, chargers may come with other features such as Wi-Fi connectivity and smart charging capabilities. Although these may increase your upfront costs, these features can help you better manage charging at home to take advantage of off-peak energy rates.


Installation cost considerations

Equipment prices are, of course, only one part of the equation. Many other factors can increase the cost to install a Level 2 charger, including:


  • Permitting and inspections: Some jurisdictions require you to apply for a permit to make any electrical changes to your home, and you may have to pay for an inspector to confirm the work has been done properly. Your electrician will be able to confirm whether this is required. If so, expect to pay between $50 and $160.
  • Electrical modifications and installation fees: This largely depends on your existing setup and where you plan to install your charger. If you already have an outlet available and don’t hardwire the equipment you may not need to hire an electrician. However, if you need to run conduit, modify or add an electrical panel, hardwire your charger, or even install proper protection for an outdoor setup, expect to spend anywhere from $300–$1,000.
  • Adapters: If you have multiple EVs or change to a new vehicle, you may need to purchase an adaptor for your setup. Teslas currently require a different plug type called the North American Charging Standard (NACS), and many existing chargers don’t yet come with this built in, though this will soon change. Every Tesla comes equipped with one adaptor, and you can purchase additional ones for $50.


As you plan your installation, it’s important to consider the best long-term charging setup for your needs. It may be tempting to skip costly electrical upgrades, but outfitting your home to support the full electrical supply needs of your EV will make for more efficient charging so you can take advantage of off-peak charging times and save in the long run. This will also free you to purchase faster charging vehicles with longer battery range in the future.


Cost to install a Level 2 EV charger

So, what is the cost to install a Level 2 charger? You could spend anywhere from $1200 to $2,500, depending on the state that you live in, which charger you select, and what type of modifications you need at your home. However, you can cut down that cost significantly with tax credits and rebates.


At the very least, individuals who live in low-income or non-urban areas  can take advantage of the federal tax credit for EV chargers, which knocks 30% off the cost of charging hardware and installation, for up to $1,000 total. Beyond that, many state governments and utility companies offer incentives and rebates to further reduce the cost of EV charging equipment.

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