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Getting Ready at Home

To begin, you need to select the type of vehicle that fits your lifestyle. Look at the various technologies and choose the car that works best for you. When making your decision, don't forget to include federal incentives that will help you fit your new car into your budget. Next, you will need to equip your garage for the appropriate type of charging.

Equipping Your Garage

Determine the Type of Charging Needed — Level 1 or Level 2

The level of charging that you need depends on the type of vehicle you purchase as well as the amount of miles you drive on a daily basis. Both level 1 and level 2 charging use the same standard charging plug, known as J1772. We worked with the Electric Power Research Institute and other utilities to help develop the standard so that all vehicles can operate with all charging stations.

Today's plug-in electric vehicles can be charged from a standard 120-volt outlet, available in every home. Level 1 charging typically doesn't require you to make changes to your electric panel or home wiring. A buyer can purchase a car, drive it home and charge it in a typical home outlet. We recommend using a dedicated circuit to ensure that your circuit is not overloaded.

If you want to charge your car faster, use a 240-volt circuit, similar to the one for your dryer. Level 2 charging, requires an "Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment" device, which enhances safety. Because of the higher voltage, a permit and inspection may be required for home installation. The cost for installation depends on upgrades, line runs, and the type of equipment, or Electric Vehicle Supply Device installed. Contact a qualified independent electrician for costs and permitting and inspection requirements. The electrician will let you know if you have adequate capacity in your panel and will add a new circuit if needed.

double electric wall socket behind an image of the front of a suburban house

Multifamily Homes

The majority of charging will likely occur at home. If you live in an apartment building or in a condominium, we recommend that you begin discussions with your property management or your homeowners association.

Getting Ready to Plug In

Here are the three steps that we recommend you consider to be plug-in ready for the purchase of a Plug-In Electric Vehicle:

Step 1

Prepare by answering/considering the following questions:

– Which type of plug-in electric vehicle do you want: a plug-in electric hybrid or an all-electric vehicle?
– How do you plan to charge your plug-in electric vehicle? Are you going to use 120V charging (level 1) or 240V charging (level 2)?
– Are you going to install an in-home 240V electric vehicle charging station?
– Can your home's electrical panel and wiring support charging a plug-in electric vehicle using a 240V charging station?
– Do you need to hire an electrical contractor to assess and modify your electrical panel and/or wiring to be able to charge an electric vehicle?
– Will you need city permits to complete any necessary electrical work?
– Which manufacturer's Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) device would you like to install? The EVSE units are commonly called chargers.

Step 2

Complete any work required for the charging you have planned.

This work could include:

– Having your contractor complete any panel and wiring upgrades
– Having a contractor install a 240V electric vehicle charging station
– Having the city complete any required inspection

Step 3

Contact Us

– Are there some additional ways we can assist you?
– It would help us to know about your plug-in electric vehicle to offer you future assistance. 
– Please let us know that you have acquired a plug-in electric vehicle that you will be charging at your location.