What exactly is a smart home charger?

Nearly all EVs come with a charger that plugs directly into a standard wall outlet. You can think of this as a “dumb” charger. Sure, it works, but it can take a a day or more to fully charge an EV and you have no control of how much energy you’re using or what that energy costs.

Enter the smart charger! Not only will it charge your EV up to 8x faster than a “dumb” charger, it also puts you in control. You can set charging schedules to charge when energy rates are at their lowest and track energy consumption. Plus it’s all controlled from an app on your smart devices.

What should I look for in a home charger?

Convenience

Compatibility

Reliability

A connected charger is a convenient charger. Check that your charger can be controlled by an app via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The best apps will give you the power to schedule, start, stop, and check your charging status from your phone or tablet. It doesn’t get much more convenient than managing your charging from bed, right?

Look for a charger that’s compatible with all vehicle models and homes. Let’s use the Pulsar Plus as an example. It works with any EV - period. It’s designed to be compact, so it can fit anywhere from crowded garages to tight parking spaces. You can choose between 40Amp (9.6kW) or 48Amp (11.5kW) and adjust power from your moble device. More flexibility means more compatibility!

Rain or shine, your charger has to work! Look for chargers that are water and dust resistant (hint: look for certifications like IP54 or NEMA Type 4) and designed for indoor or outdoor installation. For added peace of mind, keep an eye out for long warranties that last at least three years.

Convenience

A connected charger is a convenient charger. Check that your charger can be controlled by an app via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The best apps will give you the power to schedule, start, stop, and check your charging status from your phone or tablet. It doesn’t get much more convenient than managing your charging from bed, right?

Compatibility

Look for a charger that’s compatible with all vehicle models and homes. Let’s use the Pulsar Plus as an example. It works with any EV - period. It’s designed to be compact, so it can fit anywhere from crowded garages to tight parking spaces. You can choose between 40Amp (9.6kW) or 48Amp (11.5kW) and adjust power from your moble device. More flexibility means more compatibility!

Reliability

Rain or shine, your charger has to work! Look for chargers that are water and dust resistant (hint: look for certifications like IP54 or NEMA Type 4) and designed for indoor or outdoor installation. For added peace of mind, keep an eye out for long warranties that last at least three years.

Will any charger fit my car?

While there a different standards worldwide, all EVs sold in the United States include a Type 1 (SAE J1772) connector, making all EVs compatible with home chargers that have a J1772 connector.

Charging Power

Level 2, 240V home chargers can range in power from 6 Amps to 48 Amps or more. The typical smart home charger ranges between 40 Amps and 48 Amps, which provide up to 9.6kW and 11.5kW of charging respectively.

While most modern homes have higher capacity circuits capable of supporting the most powerful chargers, older homes may only be able to support lower powered charging equipment. Fortunately, some models of smart chargers are adjustable, allowing you to adjust down the the maximum power settings and allow you to safely install your equipment on a lower rated circuit. When you move or upgrade your electrical service, you can adjust the power up to the charger's maximum capacity, enabling you to take advantage of even faster charging.

But even if your home can support the faster available chargers, not all EVs have the same charging capacity (known as the "acceptance rate"). Your home charging equipment may be capable of delivering 11.5kW, but if your EV can only accept 7.4kW, then 7.4kW is the most power you can deliver to your EV's battery. If this is the case, you can opt to install a lower powered home charger, but if you can afford it, consider purchasing the most powerful charger you can safely install at home. EV technology is advancing every year, so while your EV today might have a lower acceptance rate, your next EV might be ready to take on more power!

How much does a smart home charger cost?

Chargers in the United States can range from less than $500 to more than $1,000, but it's not just a matter of price. Lower priced chargers often aren't safety certified, nor do they have the same smart features as other models. At the same time, many chargers on the market at the higher end of the price spectrum also don't have the same smart features as chargers in the middle of the pack.

A high-quality charger will give you years of service, all while saving you money. Public charging stations often charge much higher rates per kilowatt hour than you can get at home. Look for smart charger features that allow you to schedule your charging to take advantage of off-peak utility rates.

Also, be sure to research what incentives might available in your area. Along with the federal tax credit for EVSE (covering up to $1,000 of equipment and installation costs), there are many state, local, and utility-based incentives that can further reduce the cost of buying and installing home charging equipment, making at-home EV charging an even better way to save money.

Can I install my charger myself?

While some models of EV chargers are easy to plug in, almost all EV charger manufacturers encourage owners to consult with a licensed electrican familiar with the installation of EV charging equipment. Even if you you have an available 240V outlet with the correct standard (for example, NEMA 14-50), only a professional can ensure the safe installation of high-voltage equipment. A professional electrician can inspect your existing electrical service and verify your electrical panel has the capacity and correct circuits to safely power an EV charger. They can also help you with any necessary permits, inspections, and approvals that may be necessary in your area.

For our customers in the United States, Wallbox has partnered with Qmerit, a trusted organization that pairs home owners with qualified, licensed electricians familar with EV installations. After answering a just a few questions online, you can receive and compare quotes from multiple electricans in your area, making it super easy to identify the right installer for your new home EV charger!

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