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When the first EV and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles hit the market, buyers had little choice in home charging stations. Most of the manufacturers offered their own proprietary stations. That was it.

Today, there are many EV and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles on the market and owners of these plug-in vehicles can choose from a wide variety of home car-charging stations. The sales staff at Akins of Winder, a Georgia-based Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM dealer, gave us the low-down on what consumers should know about these devices.

The best charger for your home depends on several things. First, here’s the model of plug-in vehicle you have, or are planning to get. Your general garage layout and where you store stuff comes into play, too.

When it comes to mounting your charger, you should hire a professional electrician. An electrician can help you decide things like the gauge of the feed wires you’ll need, the right circuit breakers to install, and where to locate the charging station. As a rule of thumb, expect to pay $600-$1,000 for a home car charging station and $500 to $800 for installation. If you’re looking for an electrician in the UK and you’re in the Farringdon area, you might want to contact the professionals at SCV Electrical to help you out.

The Plug-In Connector – Perhaps the most critical part of your electric car charger is the connector that plugs into the car. With the exception of Tesla, carmakers and charging-equipment manufacturers around the globe have standardized the design of the connector. It is called a J1772 connector.

Charger Cord Length – Most charger manufacturers offer several cord lengths, typically between 10 and 30 feet. The best rule of thumb is to figure out exactly where the charger will be mounted, where the car will be parked and then buy a charger with a cord that’s at least a several feet longer than the distance you need to span.

Two Types of Chargers – There are different levels of electric car chargers. Level 1 charging equipment delivers standard household current at 120 volts to your plug-in car. Level 2 chargers deliver power at 240 volts. Almost all plug-in vehicles come with a Level 1 cord set charger as standard equipment. It is a stand-alone charging cord with a standard household plug at one end. The nice thing about Level 1 charging is that the cord sets are portable and can plug into any standard wall outlet. The problem is that Level 1 charging is very slow.

Level 2 Chargers – Hard-Wired or Plug-In?

Until recently, the only Level 2 home chargers were wall-hung models permanently installed or “hard-wired” directly into the home’s electrical service. Now the industry also makes models that can be plugged into a specified 240-volt wall socket similar to an electric dryer.

Where to Buy Your Charger

Some of the charger manufacturers sell directly to the public via their Web sites. Others list retailers in the regions where they market their products. Additionally, some chargers can be ordered on and eBay. Today you can also find them at Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.