Cars and Trucks

How Do I Prep My Garage for an EV?

Jenny RisherCar and Driver

ev of the yearHow Do I Prep My Garage for an EV?

You’ll want a dedicated 240-volt circuit for charging your car. A professional installation generally runs between $750 and $1750, plus the price of permits, according to Qmerit, a company that specializes in this kind of work. If your current electrical supply can’t handle the extra load, you’ll need a new service line run to your house, pushing your cost to the high end of that range. A modest house with 150-amp or higher service can perhaps squeeze in an additional 30- or 40-amp circuit, but it depends on whether there are other large draws, such as a tankless water heater, an electric stove or dryer, or a hot tub. In addition, you may have to purchase charging equipment to connect your EV to the new circuit.

how do i prep my garage for an ev

Illustrations by Daniel ZalkusCar and Driver

Wiring

The distance from the electrical panel to the charging location can alter the cost substantially. A 40-amp circuit requires 8-gauge wire at more than $3 per foot. Stepping up the amperage for faster charging requires thicker-gauge wire, which costs more.

JuiceBox 40 Smart Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station with Wi-Fi

JuiceBox
amazon.com

$619.00

Outlet

We recommend installing a NEMA 14-50 outlet rather than hardwired charging equipment. Some EVs come with portable charging cords that work on both 120- and 240-volt circuits, saving you from an additional purchase. And even if you do buy home charging equipment, having a plug-in unit means you can use the outlet for other high-draw equipment, such as a welder, and take the pricey box with you if you move.

Equipment

Because we’re nerds, we like to know how much energy our EVs are using. The Wi-Fi-connected JuiceBox ($650) has a handy app to track charging history and the amount of energy dispensed during each session. You can also schedule charging for set times—a useful feature if your electric utility offers a lower rate during off-peak hours.

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