Choosing and installing a charging station

Whether you already drive an electric vehicle (EV) or are thinking of getting one, charging plays a critical role in driving an EV. Learn more about the available charging options and get help with choosing and installing the right charging station for your home.

There are three types of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs): Level 1, Level 2 and Direct Current (DC).

Level 1 charging station

Good for: Plug-in hybrid, such as the Kia Niro
Miles/charge time: 5 miles per hour of charge
Voltage: 110V

Level 2 charging station

Good for: Battery EVs, such as the Tesla Model 3
Miles/charge time: 13 to 25 miles per hour of charge
Voltage: 240V

DC fast-charging station

Good for: Most battery EVs. Check your manufacturer details.
Miles/charge time: 10 to 30 minutes for a full charge
Voltage: 480V-500V

Level 1 Charging Station

Every new EV is sold with a Level 1 charging station. It can be plugged into a standard household 110-volt grounded wall outlet and usually requires no upgrade to your utility panel. A Level 1 charging station will deliver about 5 miles per hour of charge.

This ready-to-go option might be right if you have a short commute, drive a plug-in hybrid such as the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid, are offered workplace charging, or if you’re able to charge your vehicle for 8 or more hours each night.

Level 2 Charging Station

Level 2 charging stations are four times faster than Level 1 and can provide about 25 miles per hour of charge. Level 2 stations require a professionally installed 240-volt outlet on a dedicated circuit. If you’d like one installed in your home, contact a licensed electrician to get an estimate and to determine if a permit is required.

Level 2 might be the right choice if you drive a battery EV such as a Tesla Model 3, as these cars have larger batteries that require longer charging times. Drivers with longer commutes or who want a faster charge or a longer electric driving range should also consider choosing a Level 2 charging station.

Check-out this video to learn more

Charging on the go

If your vehicle supports them, look for publicly available DC fast chargers when you’re on the road. These high-power stations can charge a battery to 80 percent of capacity in 30 minutes or less. Check with your manufacturer for more information on DC fast charging for your EV.

Finding the right EV charging station for you

Audio description and transcript are available for this video: 

Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 96 KB)

Finding the right EV charging station for you


Audio description and transcript are available for this video: 

Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 96 KB)

On average, the cost of a Level 2 charging station ranges from $500 - $700. A charger may cost more or less depending on key features such as portability, amperage, and WiFi capability.

Understanding EV Charging Stations: Watts, Amps and Volts

Watch the video to learn about EV charging station kilowatts, amps and volts.


Audio description and transcript are available for this video:

Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 119 KB)

Understanding EV Charging Stations: Watts, Amps and Volts


Watch the video to learn about EV charging station kilowatts, amps and volts.


Audio description and transcript are available for this video:

Access an audio descriptive version
Download a transcript (PDF, 119 KB)

Choosing Amps

To determine how much power will flow to your car, multiply the Volts by the Amps and divide by 1,000 (Amps x Volts/1,000). For example, a 240-V Level 2 charging station with a 30-amp rating will supply 7.2 kWs (30 x 240 /1,000). After one hour of charging, your EV will add 7.2kW X 1 hr = 7.2 kWh of energy to your vehicle.

To calculate how long it will take to charge the entire capacity of the battery, refer to the manufacturer documents to determine the battery capacity of your EV.

Example based on an all-electric model:

  • EV battery capacity – 42kWh
  • EV charger energy delivery – 7.2kW
  • Total hours to charge = EV battery capacity / EV charger energy delivery = hours
  • 42kWh / 7.2kW = 5.83 hours

On average, Americans drive 30 miles per day. If you want more than 50 miles of range from overnight charging, you will need a station with at least 16 amps. Level 2 residential chargers range from 16 to 80 amps.

Charging times, range and size of battery vary by vehicle.

The chart above assumes:

  • Chargers are operating on a 240-volt outlet.
  • Your vehicle travels 3.1 miles per kilowatt-hour.

Use PG&E Marketplace to search and compare Level 2 residential charging stations from a range of retailers. You can also read customer reviews and purchase chargers directly from the retailers.

Visit PG&E Marketplace

Consider portability

Decide if you want a hard-wired and permanently-mounted charger, or a portable unit that simply plugs into a 240-volt outlet and will hang on the wall. Portable chargers allow you to take the charger with you if you move.

Cord length

Determine where your charger will be located. Note that the further the charger is from your home's utility panel, the more costly the installation. Measure the distance from where your car will be parked to your charger location to determine the required cable length. Cables range from 12 to 25 feet.

Smart connectivity

Smart chargers connect to your WiFi and allow you to program charging from your phone and monitor your charging habits. However, most EV drivers now have the ability to control charging through their car's own app.

Follow the steps below to guide your EV charger installation.

Get help with choosing and installing the right charging station for your home. View the charger installation checklist (PDF, 277 KB).

The average cost for installing a Level 2 charging station ranges from $400 to $1,200 excluding charger cost.
PLEASE NOTE: Installation costs will vary depending on electrical upgrades, cable length, and other features identified below.

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Get an electrical assessment of your home.

Talk with a qualified electrician to assess whether your electrical panel has capacity for a Level 2 charger.

  • Upgrades and permits at your expense may be necessary.
  • The EV manufacturer may also offer a home assessment as part of your purchase.
  • The electrician can also install a dedicated 240-volt circuit (similar outlet used for electric clothes dryer) to serve the Level 2 charger if your panel does not have the necessary capacity.

Be sure to discuss the following when consulting with an electrician.

  • Upgrades to your electrical panel
  • Desired location of charger
  • Cost of installation
  • Length of charging cord
  • Type of charger you have or want
  • Permitting and inspections (if required by your city)
  • Timeline for job completion
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Determine which electric rate and meter system works for you.

Select the PG&E electric rate that is best for your charging needs. You can enroll in any residential rate. The EV2-A rate is often best for EV owners because electricity costs less when you charge at certain times of day or overnight. The EV-B rate may be useful for people who want to have one electric rate for their whole house and a separate EV rate for their electric car charging.

Find out which rate is the best fit for you here: EV Savings Calculator.

  • Single existing meter: You can enroll in EV2-A, E-1 or E-TOUA or E-TOUB rates.
  • Dual meter: If you want to install a second meter and electric panel for EV charging, you’ll enroll in the EV-B rate.

PLEASE NOTE: A PG&E representative may schedule a visit to determine whether your current electric service can support an EV. You may have to upgrade your service or your panel, or add a second electric panel. Service upgrades are necessary when the service wire to your home doesn't meet your capacity needs. PG&E charges a $100 service fee for a second meter. You’re responsible for the installation costs to support an additional meter. The costs are generally around $2,000, but can be as high as $8,000 or more.

3OF 3

Contact PG&E to start your "change of service" application.

After you determine which EV charging system is right for you, contact PG&E. You must complete an application to notify us of the change of service including the following information:

  • Rate option: Choose the residential rate you'll use to charge your EV.
  • Charging level: Will you use a Level 1 or Level 2 charging station.
  • Charging load: Load amount from your EV supply equipment. This is based on the charging system's voltage and amperage. An electrician can help you determine this information.
  • Panel upgrade: Does the dedicated circuit require a panel upgrade.

Apply online for change of service: "Your Projects"
Apply via phone: 1-877-743-7782. We're available M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Use the free online services listed below to find local EV charging station installers in your area. In addition to providing quotes from local installers, the sites also include customer reviews and helpful installation information. To obtain quotes, you may be asked to provide your installation timeline, property type (house or apartment), ownership rights, EV charger type and installation location, and confirm your dedicated voltage. PG&E is not responsible for the requirements of these online services, which are subject to the terms and conditions of the online service provider.

Online servicesRequires creating an account; free to useProvides quotes based on details you provideAvailable in all PG&E service areasOffers extra guidance on costs and more













*Enter your ZIP Code on the site to determine if your area is served.

Discussing installation with your property manager.

California law requires property owners to allow tenants to install a residential charging station. Tenants cannot be denied a request to install a residential charging station if the tenant pays for the installation, maintenance, insurance and removal of the charging station. However, there are certain residential rental conditions where this law does not apply. For example, if there are already EV charging stations for 10 percent or more of the designated parking spaces for renters, the law does not apply. Review additional California legislative details.

Help your property owner understand options by educating yourself

  • Determine demand. Perform a residential survey to see how many residents have an EV or planning to buy one. Review an example residential survey.
  • Electrical capacity. Talk with an electrician to understand your property’s electrical capacity for adding a charging station.
  • Charger options. Choose a charging station that best meets your specific property’s requirements. This will help show associated costs.
  • Covering costs. Make clear you’ll cover the installation costs and the ongoing costs of electricity.
  • Funding. Research and apply for incentives to install a charging station. Visit Drive Clean to learn about incentives available in your area.
  • Best practices. Find other installed charging stations in your neighborhood to show support of EVs within the community.

Share property benefits of having EV chargers on site

  • Charging stations will help make the property manager a leader in sustainability.
  • As EVs continue to gain popularity, more residents will be interested in charging stations.
  • Charging stations can help the property receive Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) points.
  • Installing charging stations can increase property value and give a competitive advantage for new tenants.

Obtain permission to install an EV charging station

Once you’ve received approval to install a charging station, review our installation checklist for step-by-step information on how to install your EV level 2 charger.

Other helpful information

Get the answers you need

Learn more about EV charging and find answers to other frequently asked questions.

Visit electric vehicle faqs

Enroll in an EV rate plan

Learn more about our residential EV rates and the rate that best fits your needs by using the EV Savings Calculator’s Rate Comparison Tool.

Rate Comparison Tool

Discover other helpful tools for EVs

Use the following tool to learn more about EVs, their incentives and where to charge them:

EV Savings Calculator