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Decode the code: Electric vehicle charging on residential properties

Thinking about getting an electric vehicle? Get the 411 on installing a charging port at your home.

aerial view of Loop 1604 and I-10. | Photo via @skylinedronetx

Fun fact: In 2022 there were over 149,000 electric vehicles registered in the state of Texas.

Photo by @skylinedronetx

It’s no secret that electric vehicles (EV) are on the rise — a record 1.2 million electric vehicles were sold in the US in 2023. If you’re thinking about getting around gas prices with a new EV but don’t know where to start, plug into your research with this quick explainer on electric vehicle charging.

Why might I want an electric vehicle?

In addition to the climate impact, electric vehicle drivers save an average of $500-$1,500 per year in refueling costs, in addition to a ~40% reduction in maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle.

While the Texas EV Rebate Program ended in January 2023, drivers can access tax incentives for buying electric vehicles or hybrids from the US Department of Energy.

Charging at home

Level 1 chargers plug into a standard 120-volt (NEMA 5-15) electrical outlet using the cord that comes with the vehicle. While it doesn’t require extra equipment for your home, this method can take up to several days to fully charge the car.

Red and white standing car chargers in a parking lot.

You can find superchargers at the recently-opened Tesla charging stations located in The Rim Shopping Center near Nordstrom Rack and Lowe’s.

Photo by SATXtoday team

Level 2 chargers plug into a 240-volt (NEMA 14-50) receptacle — like the one used for home appliances — and can charge the car in about seven hours. Adding or changing the electrical options in your home fall under the City of San Antonio’s residential electric code (found on page 8). Look for electricians who are both registered + licensed and use the city’s portal to apply for the appropriate permits for your project.

Charging on the go

Direct Current Fast Chargers are typically high-voltage, public charging stations — rather than private residential locations. The super chargers can reduce charging times anywhere from 20 to 75 minutes. If you’re out and about, check out Plugshare to locate a supercharger or Level 2 charger near you.