Electric vehicles (EVs) require a connection to an electrical system to charge. There are three different methods:
- Uses a connection to a standard 120-volt outlet
- Charges 8 km per hour
- Takes 12 to 20 hours to fully charge a battery EV (6 to 12 hours for a plug-in hybrid)
- Used mostly in homes
- Uses a connection to a 240-volt outlet, like those used by ovens and clothes dryers
- Charges 30 km per hour
- Takes 6 to 14 hours to fully charge a battery EV (4 to 8 hours for a plug-in hybrid)
- Used in homes, businesses, and common areas
Fast Chargers (also known as Level 3)
- Uses a direct current connection to an electrical system
- Charges 100 km per 30 minutes or 80% charge at 50 kW (varies by vehicle type)
- Takes 1 to 4 hours to fully charge a battery EV (15 minutes to 3 hours for a plug-in hybrid)
- Used mostly in businesses and common areas
Choosing the right EV charger for you
With lots of manufacturers and models to choose from and a number of options to consider. Whatever you decide, only select a charger that is safety certified, and consider having it installed by an electrician who has a Red Seal certification.
- Connector: Most EVs have the "J plug" (J1772) which is used for home and level 2 charging. For fast charging, there are two plugs: the “CCS” used by most manufacturers including BMW, General Motors and Volkswagen, and the "CHAdeMO" used by Mitsubishi and Nissan. Tesla has a proprietary plug, but can use the “J plug” or "CHAdeMO" with adapters.
- Amperage: Level 2 chargers are available in models that deliver between 15- and 80-Amps. The higher the amperage the faster the charging.
- Cord length: Cords are available in a range of lengths, the most common being 5 metres (16 feet) and 7.6 metres (25 feet). Shorter cables are easier to store but longer cables provide flexibility in the event drivers need to park further from the charger.
- Networked: Some chargers will connect to the internet so drivers can start, stop, and monitor charging with a smartphone.
- Indoor or outdoor: Many chargers are designed to function inside or outside, but not all are. If your charging station needs to be outside, make sure the model you choose is rated to work in the rain, snow, and cold temperatures.
- Portable or permanent: Some chargers only need to plug into an outlet while others are designed to be installed on a wall.
- Single or dual port: Charging stations designed for multi-EV use in common areas have two plugs that can be used at the same time.
- Smart EV chargers: Smart EV chargers ensure the most efficient charging by automatically adjusting the amount of electricity being sent to an EV based on timing and load factors. Some smart EV charging stations can also provide you with data on your usage.
New for 2019: Rebates for Level 2 chargers
Funded by the B.C.'s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources – and administered by BC Hydro and Fortis BC – $4.8 million in rebates make it more affordable for residents, condo managers, strata councils and businesses to add Level 2 charging. Available rebates include:
- 50% of costs, up to $350, for the purchase and installation of a Level 2 charging station in a single-family home
- A limited-time matching offer from BC Hydro for single-family homes, doubling the potential rebate amount to $700 (available to BC Hydro customers)
- 50% of costs, up to $2,000 per station (and up to $14,000 for multiple stations), in multi-unit buildings such as condos and apartments
- 50% of costs, up to $2,000 per station (and up to $14,000 for multiple stations), at eligible workplaces with at least five employees
See the list of rebate-eligible chargers [PDF, 264 KB]
Electrical supply issues to consider
Some things you need to know about your electrical service include:
- How much current (amperage) will the EV need to charge?
- What is the capacity of your existing electrical service panel (e.g., 100-Amp, 200-Amp, etc.)? Note that a 400-Amp service panel is considered an "uncommon upgrade". Learn more about electrical service extensions.
- Is there a 240-volt circuit installed and available to be used?
- Is there room in the electrical service panel for a new 240-volt circuit breaker (it must be double-pole)?
- Where will the charging station be installed?
Hiring a certified electrician to install your EV charger will make the whole process much easier. They'll explain what you'll need to get started and how to get everything approved. We can help you find a certified electrician.