Do I need to park in my garage to charge an EV?
June 5, 2015 8:49 AM   Subscribe

I've been thinking about buying a used EV - maybe a Nissan Leaf. I have a very small garage which I use for storage. There is power in there. 1) How much does it cost to install a charging station? 2) Can I park in my driveway and run a power cable to my car for charging? I'm talking about six or ten feet.
posted by YoungAmerican to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
FWIW, my friend owns a Leaf and just charges with a regular 110V extension cord. He doesn't even use the 220V that your major appliances use. He didn't opt for the 440V charging station to be installed and he gets by without a problem.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:55 AM on June 5, 2015

They definitely installed an outdoor charging station on a recent This Old House for a driveway-parked Golf.

posted by ftm at 8:56 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yep - 2nding odinsdream. I have a Ford CMax energie and I plug it into a 110, but I'm planning on getting a 220V in the next year because after a year of owning an electric, I never plan to own a fully gas powered engine again.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:09 AM on June 5, 2015

On the anecdata side of things, I have some friends who own a Tesla and park it outdoors. I suspect they may be among the only Tesla owners who do this, but it hasn't created any major issues, although they did install a charging station for this purpose.
posted by Diagonalize at 9:10 AM on June 5, 2015

I think it's $1k to purchase the charging station and install yourself or $2k for purchase/installation, from the dealer.

We own a Leaf, park it in the driveway and charge from the garage without a charging station. It's slower but works just fine for us.
posted by trunk muffins at 9:15 AM on June 5, 2015

One of my neighbors has two Leafs. They charge them in the driveway with no problem.
posted by Etrigan at 9:15 AM on June 5, 2015

3rding odinsdream. That's exactly what i did and my electrician charged me $100 for the 220V upgrade, $250 for the cable modification at evseupgrade. I believe it was worth it to have the car charge in half the time.

Also, If you do charge outside, make sure you secure the cable when not in use as replacements are very expensive.
posted by escher at 9:23 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

it makes way more sense to just convert the cord, as I mentioned earlier, and not pay for an overpriced, cosmetic charging station when you actually have most of the hardware already with the car.

While that advice is fine for many iterations of the Leaf, it doesn't hold true for all EVs. Our RAV4 EV can charge 4 times faster with our 40A charging station than if we had the included cable modified through EVSE Upgrade.

YoungAmerican, you might want to wait until you know what used EV you're going to buy before you make a charging equipment decision and call the electrician. The included equipment varies in quality depending on the model you buy, some EVs support higher-powered circuits than others, and in a private sale, you may even get a charging station as well as a cable with the purchase. (Of course, in a used purchase, you might also get nothing at all!)

But you can certainly charge outside in any of these scenarios, and you can certainly run the cord from your garage to charge if desired. I would budget $500-$1200 for this, depending on what kind of EV you buy and how expensive electricians are in your area.
posted by eschatfische at 9:48 AM on June 5, 2015

I live in a neighborhood with many, many Teslas, and a good percentage of them are parked in the driveway, with a cord running from the garage or from a unit on the side of the house. Seems to work perfectly well for them.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:39 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Realized I left out an important detail: my friends live in an area with heavy snow, so if they can park their Tesla outside, I imagine just about anyone can keep their EV outside.
posted by Diagonalize at 12:07 PM on June 5, 2015

Came to say what ftm said.

The only question the wife and I had watching that was if there was an easy way to lock the charger.
posted by terrapin at 12:53 PM on June 5, 2015

We have a Leaf and find that we get about 50 miles range from charging overnight from a 110V outlet. Its not worth spending $1,000 on a charging station unless there are absolutely no public charging stations around.
posted by monotreme at 5:12 PM on June 5, 2015

I live in Brooklyn and have seen street parked EVs with orange extension cables coming out of a first floor window. I wouldn't do it on the regular (I actually wouldn't without a garage personally) but it can be and is done. I also lived in an apartment complex where another tenant had a Tesla in the communal garage. I always meant to ask where he charged it; I assumed work.
posted by tremspeed at 8:48 PM on June 9, 2015

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