EV Charging Guide

Car Charging Basics

For most drivers, charging an electric car is as simple as charging a cell phone. In fact, it usually takes only around 5 seconds of your time to “refuel” your electric car. Why? Because most charging (over 85%, according to EV driver polling) happens at home, overnight, while the driver sleeps. You just plug in your car when you get home and it’s typically re-charged back to full before you even wake up the next morning. It’s the car that “refuels” while you sleep! There are three levels of charging rate to choose from, depending upon your needs and lifestyle.

Level 1 Charging

REGULAR SPEED
EX: Overnight Charging at Home

  • Uses a standard outlet (the same type of outlet you charge your phone with!)
  • No “charging station” needed! Take a few seconds to plug your car in each night. By the next morning you’re ready to go!
  • Works best for plug-in hybrid electrics (PHEVs) with small batteries, and/or people who do not drive much each day.
  • Adds a range of between 3 and 6 miles per hour of charging, or up to around 50 miles overnight.

Level 2 Charging

PLUS SPEED
EX: Home, Workplace, Destination Charging

  • Uses a round outlet called a NEMA 14-50 (like the outlet you’d plug an electric stove or clothes dryer into).
  • Wired to an electrical panel or hard-wired to a wall-mounted EV charging station.
  • Most common type of charging (private and public) and adds up to 70 miles of range per hour. Get a full charge overnight!
  • Level 2 charging equipment can be purchased for as little as $200. The installation may only require minor work by an electrician or may require some upgrades to your panel or wiring.

Level 3 Charging

PREMIUM SPEED
EX: Highway Rest Stop, Community Hub Charging

  • Also known as public DC Fast Charging, Quick charging, and Supercharging.
  • Level 3 adds hundreds of miles of range per hour of charging. Charge in around 30 minutes (or less with upcoming Level 3 stations!), or while you grab some lunch on a fun road-trip!
  • Many new fast charging sites are being added every year.

Public Charging Equipment & Networks

Charging in public can be a positive experience with a little bit of research and preparation in advance. There are many brands and models of public charging units, as well many different charging networks both nationally and regionally. There are basically two types of stations:

Smart charging stations, also known as networked charging stations or connected stations. This typically require either membership, a card, or an app to access. They may or may not have a fee. The two most common EV charging network providers are Chargepoint and EVgo.

Non-networked charging stations do not require any membership to activate, and usually are free and just connect when you plug in, or may require an access code.

Finding out in advance (for example by using PlugShare or another online resource or app) can help you explore what public charging is near you and get any advance set up out of the way from the comfort of home.

Charging Equipment

Every EV comes with a charging adapter that connects to a standard home outlet (also known as Level 1 charging). This is typically used overnight while you sleep and adds up to 50 miles of range in 12 hours, more than most people drive on a typical day. For some drivers, this may be adequate, especially if the vehicle is not driven much daily or is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

Though not required, in order to get the most out of any plug-in car’s electric mileage benefits, it is typically recommended to purchase a Level 2 home charging station. This will recharge your EV two to six times faster than Level 1, and allow even ones with large batteries to always fully charge overnight.

The best time to get a Level 2 is just before receiving taking delivery of your vehicle, so the equipment can be already installed and ready for charging the moment you receive your electric car. ENE recommends choosing ENERGY STAR Certified Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). To find and compare products, visit the ENERGY STAR website.

Shop for Charging Stations

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Charging Equipment Installation

How do I go about having a charger installed at my home?

If you don’t already have one, an electrician will need to wire a 240 volt circuit, including a 50-amp circuit breaker, from your house panel to a 240 volt NEMA 14-50 outlet or a hard-wired wall-mounted charging station in a location that is convenient for charging your car and the required length of cord. If the station needs to be hard-wired, the electrician will wire it in when they are wiring the 240 volt circuit from your house panel. Be sure to check with your local municipality about getting any required permit for installation.

The installation can range from only a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the location of the house panel and the location of the charging outlet.

The station will come with a cord and charger head that plugs into your EV, and since the unit by default is in a low power standby mode when not in use, so it is fine leave it always plugged in and connected to power (“on”).

We recommend using QMerit, a free service that will help you find certified installers near you that are experienced, licensed electricians and have been vetted and thoroughly background-checked to ensure you receive a great home installation experience.

Do I want it hard wired or to plug in to a new or existing 240-volt receptacle? What length of cord will I need to charge reach my car(s) from the install location?

The units can be ordered with different cord lengths to suit your needs.

Massachusetts also requires that you get a permit. You may need to go to the town’s building division at town hall, fill out a form, etc. Contact us to find out more information about the completing the process where you live.

Rebates & Incentives

INCENTIVE UPDATE

Taxpayers once again qualify for a 30% Federal tax credit (up to $1,000) on costs associated with the installation of an EV charging station through 12/31/2021.

Learn More >

Charging Incentives by Electric Utility

The following municipal utilities are offering incentives to residents who agree to charge their electric vehicle overnight or during non-peak times, and some also offer a rebate towards the purchase and installation of Level 2 charging equipment.

BRAINTREE ELECTRIC LIGHT DEPARTMENT

Braintree residents may enroll to get the equivalent of around 175 FREE MILES* of charging per month for only charging their EV overnight and on weekends. BELD is offering EV owners a rebate of $250 to help offset the cost of installing some or all components of a Level 2 system for higher speed charging of an electric vehicle at your home if they first enroll in the free miles program. Learn More >

CONCORD MUNICIPAL LIGHT PLANT

CMLP’s EV Miles participants program their electric vehicles to charge off-peak and receive a monthly bill credit for their participation. CMLP’s EV Level 2 Program offers electric vehicle (EV) owners a rebate of $250 to help offset the cost of installing some or all components of a Level 2 system for higher speed charging of an electric vehicle at your home. 

DANVERS ELECTRIC DIVISION

Offers resident EV owners $300 for installing some or all components of a Level 2 charger system that enables higher speed charging of an EV at their home. Learn More >

GEORGETOWN MUNICIPAL LIGHT DEPARTMENT

Residents may enroll in a program to achieve a $1 gallon equivalent for electric charging their EV overnight or on weekends. GMLD is also offering EV owners a rebate of $300 to help offset the cost of installing a Wi-Fi capable Level 2 charging unit. Learn More >

HINGHAM MUNICIPAL LIGHTING PLANT

Residents may enroll in a program to achieve a $1 gallon equivalent for electric charging their EV overnight or on weekends. There is also a limited time $50 sign up bonus for this program. HMLP is also offering EV owners a rebate of $300 to help offset the cost of installing some or all components of a Wi-Fi capable Level 2 system for higher speed charging of an electric vehicle at their home if they first enroll in HMLP’s “Dollar a Gallon” EV rewards program described above. Learn More >

HOLYOKE GAS & ELECTRIC

Customers who own an Electric Vehicle can receive a free Level 2 Charger or a $450 bill credit, and save $10 per month by enrolling in HG&E’s Connected Homes – EV Charger Program! Through this program, customers are rewarded for using less energy during peak periods, when energy prices are the highest. Learn More >

HUDSON LIGHT & POWER DEPARTMENT

Hudson and Stowe residents may enroll in a program to achieve a $1 gallon equivalent for electric charging their EV overnight or on weekends. HLPD is also offering EV owners a rebate of $500 to help offset the cost of installing some or all components of a Smart, WiFi capable Level 2 system for higher speed charging of an electric vehicle at their home if they are currently charging at Level 1. Customers will then be eligible to enroll in HLPD’s “Dollar a Gallon” EV rewards program described above. Learn More >

MIDDLEBORO GAS & ELECTRIC DEPARTMENT

According to EPA power plant data for New England electricity generation, driving electric already reduces carbon emissions by at least 70% versus driving a comparable gasoline only vehicle. Emissions impacts have also been assessed independently as significantly lower by several prominent institutions. To estimate the emissions equivalent of an EV charged where you live, try out this “How Clean is Your Electric Vehicle” tool provided by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Learn More >

MIDDLETON ELECTRIC LIGHT DEPARTMENT
MELD is currently not offering any local charging rebates or incentives, but is happy to answer any of your EV related questions, and help customers with their EV journeys. Learn More >
NORWOOD MUNICIPAL LIGHT DEPARTMENT

Norwood residents may enroll to get the equivalent of around 175 FREE MILES* of charging per month for only charging their EV overnight and on weekends. NMLD is offering EV owners a rebate of $1000 to help offset the cost of installing some or all components of a Level 2 system for higher speed charging of an electric vehicle at your home if they first enroll in the free miles program. Learn More >

ROWLEY MUNICIPAL LIGHTING PLANT
RMLP is currently not offering any local charging rebates or incentives, but is happy to answer any of your EV related questions, and help customers with their EV journeys. Learn More >
TAUNTON MUNICIPAL LIGHTING PLANT

Residents may enroll in a program to achieve a 90 cents gallon equivalent for electric charging of their EV overnight or on weekends. TMLP is also offering EV owners a rebate of up to $300 to help offset the cost of installing some or all components of a Level 2 system for higher speed charging of an electric vehicle at their home if they first enroll in the rewards program described above. Learn More >

WELLESLEY MUNICIPAL LIGHTING PLANT

Wellesley residents may enroll to get up to 250* miles of free EV driving each month—or up to 3,000 miles per year—per vehicle by agreeing to charge up your EV only overnight and on weekends. Learn More >

*Free EV miles by way of an $8 monthly credit on your residential electric account

WESTFIELD GAS + ELECTRIC

Save with WG+E’s “Dollar a Gallon” EV Rewards! (Off-peak Charging Program) and/or get up to $400 back with the Level 2 Charging Rebate Program. Learn More >