Plugging In Your New Electric Car Isn't As Simple As It May Sound

Actually it is, but you need to get your home wiring right from the start.

Published: 13-Jan-2014

Most observers of the electric vehicle phenomenon are under the general impression that you can just "plug in" your electric car into any power outlet and things are good. Well, to coin a phrase, it ain't that simple, Jack.

Somewhere in the area of 100,000 people bought a plug-in electric car last year. Many of those buyers were quickly introduced to the often confusing world of home charging stations, a mixed bag of standards and compliance, and probably more than a little red tape and hoop jumping. These are the growing pains of the EV industry that fall mainly onto the consumers who are adopting these vehicles. I noticed in the forums that one new LEAF owner had a question about his EVSE installation and whether it had been done right, since the electrician involved had apparently not bothered to ask for permits from the city/county. A discussion ensued in which I realized that to someone on the outside looking in, a lot of this terminology might be confusing.

For example, what is "EVSE?" And why did this LEAF owner need an electrician or permits; don't charging stations just plug into the wall? Wait, someone said the Tesla charger is different? 30A has to be upgraded; huh?


Nissan LEAF at public charger in Netherlands.

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Electric smartED being charged at public charger in Austin. Car is part of cities car2go carshare program.

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Ecotality Blink chargers in parking garage

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