Range and charging

Home charging station : purchase and installation

Most electric car owners choose to install a 240 V charging station at home. It's like having your own gas station.

Installation in a single-family residence is a simple operation, comparable to the installation of a stove outlet. On average, it costs $ 1,500 for the terminal and its installation.

Choose a 240 V home charging station

Quebec has several manufacturers of residential charging stations. Other North American models are also available. Prices range from $ 700 to $ 1,300 depending on the models and their options.

Most apparatus are designed to be installed inside a garage or on an exterior wall of the house. If the parking lot is far from the house, the station can be installed on a pedestal. Most terminals operate from -30 ºC to +50 ºC.

Home charging station manufacturers offer warranties ranging from 1 to 4 years. Since this is a heavily loaded device, this is an important factor to consider.

ATTENTION: In all cases, the terminal must bear the seal of a certification body recognized by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (ex. CSA, cUL, cETL).

Power (kW)

The capacity of the “on-board charger” of the vehicle dictates the charging speed, and therefore the choice of power of the charging station. A terminal more powerful than the car's on-board charger will not provide more power or more charging speed.

The usual residential charging station has a power of 7.2 kW (30 A), which allows a 100% electric vehicle to be fully charged in 4 to 8 hours. This charging station power is suitable for most electric vehicles (with an on-board charger of about 7 kW). The terminal will be powered by an independent 40 A circuit.

Household terminals of 3.6 kW (15 amps) exist. They are generally suitable for owners of plug-in hybrid vehicles (most with a 3.3 kW on-board charger). Charging such a vehicle will take between 4 and 6 hours. This terminal is also compatible with 100% electric vehicles, but a full recharge will take between 8 and 16 hours. Such a terminal will be supplied by an independent 20 A circuit.

NOTE: if you choose the 3.6 kW terminal, it is recommended - if possible - to provide for the electrical installation (wiring, conduits, electrical box, etc.) which will allow a more powerful terminal to be installed in the future. Most owners of plug-in hybrids eventually switch to 100% electric after a few years.

9.6 kW (40A) charging stations are also available which allow you to take advantage of the advantages of a more powerful on-board charger on certain models, such as the Tesla, Audi and Porsche (on-board chargers between 9 and 11 kW). Charging time is reduced, but installation can pose additional constraints (and costs). This terminal must be supplied by an independent 60 A circuit.

Choice of the location (indoor or outdoor?)

The choice of location is decisive in the choice of terminal and in the installation. Installation inside a garage offers certain advantages for the winter (recharging speed and initial autonomy). Installation could also be less expensive (depending on the distance from the electrical panel).

On the other hand, it can be restrictive to have to enter the vehicle at each charge ... and even more if a second electric vehicle must also be recharged.

For an outdoor installation, the choice of terminal is essential. Some models are not weatherproof or low temperature resistant. According to Protégez-vous magazine, several models of domestic charging stations are not suitable for our winter conditions. Some tested models refuse to operate at very low temperature (-40 ºC). Cable flexibility is also a factor to consider for winter.

(the specifics of the condo / multi-unit installation are discussed here)

Distance between the terminal and the vehicle

To choose a charging station, it is important to have assessed the distance between the location where the charging station will be installed and the charging port of your electric car. The length of the connection cable can vary between 2.5 meters and 7.5 meters (8 feet and 24 feet).

"Smart and connected" devices

"Smart" devices allow you to share a circuit, which is useful when you have two EVs. Charging can then be shared between two stations to charge two vehicles simultaneously (the two stations can share the same circuit breaker. Charging each vehicle will take longer, however).

If you want to offer sharing of your device to the public or to friends, you may be interested in the remote control and “monitoring” features.

As with the other interactive features included in “smart” stations, your plug-in vehicle's application can perform the same functions.

Protégez-vous magazine recommends: “Before you buy, make sure your car will allow you to track your charging statistics, as well as start and stop charging remotely. If [your vehicle] is missing a feature that you think is essential, check which terminal offers it. "

Where to buy your home charging station

You can buy a charging station by contacting a master electrician certified by the Corporation of Master Electricians of Quebec (CMEQ)

To find a master electrician qualified to install charging stations, consult this list from CMEQ (french only).

It is also possible to shop for a charging station by contacting a specialized distributor in Quebec. Several companies offer advice and services, including the choice of terminals and installation services. A simple Internet search can find and compare them.

The sites of local manufacturers can refer you to a distributor in your region. The following brands are made in Quebec :

Your car dealership can also advise you on purchasing a charging station and recommend an electrician. Some car manufacturers offer a turnkey package to make your life easier. However, make sure that you are guaranteed adequate service in the event of a terminal failure, and that it will be easy to have the warranty honored in the event of a problem.

NOTE: No manufacturer can impose a choice of station by invoking the vehicle warranty.

Protégez-vous Magazine reviews (french only)

The Protégez-vous magazine published in June 2019 an excellent report on domestic charging stations, as well as a comparison of 8 models : https://www.protegez-vous.ca/automobile/bornes-de-recharge/comment-choisir-une-borne-de-recharge-pour-vehicules-electriques.


Installation of a 240V domestic charging station


For the installation of a 240 V terminal, it is necessary to call a certified master electrician. Most often, this is a relatively simple operation, comparable to the installation of a stove socket (see the specifics of multi-unit installation below).

The installation cost varies depending on the context, from $ 400 to $ 1,100 (before taxes). The two main factors that can increase the cost are the distance from the electrical box as well as the addition of power (if the electrical box is full).

During his evaluation, the electrician will check if the electrical panel in your house has sufficient capacity to accommodate a new 240-volt circuit or if an addition needs to be made. In the event that you need to change the electrical distribution panel or bury the wiring, these costs may be higher.

Do not hesitate to request several quotes from contractors in order to obtain the best price.

For more technical details, Hydro-Quebec has produced a complete guide on the subject. : Electric Vehicle Charging Stations – Technical Installation Guide [PDF – 1.9 Mb]

Electrical panel at full capacity

When the electrical panel does not have sufficient capacity to supply a charging station, two options are possible :

  • Install a charge controller: this device allows you to manage the energy available to power the vehicle being charged only when other energy consuming devices in the house are not in use. This solution can allow significant savings.
  • Increase the electricity supply: this is the radical solution, which will increase the overall capacity of your electrical installation. This is an expensive solution, but may be necessary if an increase in power required is anticipated. For example, if you are also planning to switch to electric heating, add a heat pump or buy a swimming pool.

Number of plug-in vehicles

If it is foreseeable that your household will host two electric vehicles, it could be advantageous to immediately plan a place which will allow the recharging of two vehicles side by side, without having to move them.

It may also be advantageous to plan with your electrician the arrangements necessary for the possible installation of a second charging station, as well as the supply strategy, if applicable (smart stations or independent stations).

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