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To upgrade panel from 100 to 200 amps or not.

pikachu

Member
Feb 15, 2016
66
103
SF East Bay, CA
Hi folks, I configured in the batch of invites that went out on Feb 22 and I'm finally getting around to figuring out the charging solution at home. Got the first quote from a Tesla recommended electrician here in the Bay Area and looks like our electrical load is 69.5 Amps out of the available 100. That leaves us with about 30 Amps. Breaker would be installed in the panel in the garage. Wiring should be pretty straight forward and doesn't have to travel very far to the install spot. Quote below:

1. Install a NEMA 14-30 receptacle on a 30 Amp circuit. Provides 24 amps for charging. Electrician says the car would charge at ~ 22 miles an hour.
Estimated cost - $ 1240

2. Install Tesla wall connector on a 30 Amp circuit. Same charging rate as above.
Estimated cost - $ 1940

Permits and fees - Additional $550

Firstly, the cost seems excessive for what would seem to be a simple install if we go with Option 1. I'm chalking this up to 'Tesla recommended' premium and will get more quotes.

I commute 70 miles a day and although the 30 Amps would be enough to wake up to a full battery based on the charge rate above, I would like to take advantage of the car's higher charging capacity. But what surprises me is that he didn't recommend we upgrade our panel to 200 Amps at all. Does it make any sense to max out current panel in terms of load close to a 100%? Should we even consider not upgrading the panel? (Would make the husband happy :p) Would appreciate any input. TIA!
 
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Graffi

Member
Apr 30, 2017
713
710
San Diego, CA
Since you are having an electrician install this for you, if it were me, I would have the install be "future proof" in that I would go ahead and get the 200a panel and install wires for 100a circuit. For now you can install a 14-50 outlet on a 50a circuit.

Anyway, I am one to DYI, so go with the experts. However, for those amounts I would like to see detail of the hour estimates with hourly rate, and material cost, not just a fixed Dollar amount. Remember, you are paying so you are the bos!

I bought the wire, conduit, and 14-50 outlet for only a few dollars from Home Depot. The 50a breaker in my box was there from when we had a Hot Tub on the back patio (it is now an enclosed patio room). The outlet is less than 6 feet from the panel.
 

pikachu

Member
Feb 15, 2016
66
103
SF East Bay, CA
I know the 30 Amps should be more than sufficient for my use. I'm more so concerned about maxing out the panel load by adding the 30 Amps than by the charging rate. But I'm not sure if its a valid concern.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
7,743
6,275
Austin, TX
I know the 30 Amps should be more than sufficient for my use. I'm more so concerned about maxing out the panel load by adding the 30 Amps than by the charging rate. But I'm not sure if its a valid concern.
I would not be worried about it. One, it is within the ratings. Two, the charging is 24 amps due to continuous load rating. Three, your not likely to ever have all the loads running at the same time for any duration.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
7,743
6,275
Austin, TX
I didn't think about that. That makes me feel better about considering to stick with the current panel!
I’ll add...

Four, if you do exceed the panel ratings, there is a breaker there to protect it.
Can you share your cost for the 14-30?

I initially put in my own 14-50 immediately next to my panel for under $75 in parts. My panel is outside and I used an RV plug box from Home Depot.

Ultimately, due to a pilot EV charging rate available here, I had a HPWC installed, with its own seperate meter pan and a blade style disconnect. It was about 2 ft away from panel, but through stone wall. Cost was $1200. Including HPWC and inspection.
 
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seabie

Member
Mar 13, 2017
63
170
Columbus, OH
FWIW I paid ~$3k for my charger installation. This did not include the cost of the Tesla Wall Connector, but it did include a full service upgrade from 100A->200A, new panel, new buried 100A circuit run to detached garage (30ft run) and rewiring/removal of existing garage electrical. I made this decision based for mutiple reasons:

- With my detached garage in the back of my lot it the minimal 30A install was already a fair amount of work ($$)
- My existing electrical panel was from the 1950’s and completely full. Some of the quotes I received said they could squeeze in a 30A run to the existing panel though
- I anticipate having 2 EV’s while living in the house (trying to line my wife up for the Model Y...)

I had what I called the minimal install (keep panel, no service upgrade, 30A run) and the full install (what I ended up going with). It is a pain but the key is to get multiple quotes!! Solicit friends and coworkers for recommendations. I had a very wide spread in quotes. In my case:

- $4k quote for the minimal install. Wouldn’t do the concrete work to bury the new line. Wouldn’t even quote the full install. This was one of the Tesla-recommended electricians
- $2.5k quote for minimal install. Again Tesla recommended electrician. Included concrete work for burying new run.
- $5k full install quote. Neighbor recommended electrician. Said it was for an electric vehicle never mentioned Tesla.
- $3k full install. Co-worker recommended electrician. Again no mention of Tesla. Turns out this guy had never heard of Tesla :)

On whether or not to get the wall connector: I wanted to keep the mobile connector in the car all the time. This is more of a piece of mind thing for me as I’ve only ever used it twice. So since I was going to buy a second cable anyway I went with the wall connector.
 
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Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
2,913
2,209
SoCal
OP, you said the wiring doesn't have to travel very far from the panel. What is "not very far"? The price you listed seems like you are going 100' out or more. Also if you are getting more quote, don't tell them it is for a Tesla. When I installed our NEMA 14-50, I told them it was for an EV car. My outlet is a few feet from panel and I paid $300 in SoCal, no permit needed for such short distance in my city.

Also make sure you know which way is UP for the outlet plug. When my electrician asked, I just told him either way is fine. Now my mobile connector box is hanging Upward. :p
 
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mblakele

beep! beep! 💉
Mar 7, 2016
1,724
5,550
SF Bay Area
Can you share your cost for the 14-30? Bay area reference points would be very helpful!

The numbers may not be comparable because I had a more difficult situation, but my quotes ranged from $600-1800. I tried a mix of electricians from yelp and craigslist. Some of the cheaper quotes seemed a little shady. In the end I went with an electrician I'd worked with before, who also happened to have the third-cheapest quote. I don't have the records handy, but I believe it was about $1000.

In case you haven't heard these tips already.... Try not to mention that you're installing an EV charger, and avoid mentioning Tesla. You'll probably get cheaper quotes if you say it's for something else, like a shop circuit or a dryer. If you get a quote you like but you'd rather work with a different electrician, ask if they can match it.
 
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davewill

Active Member
Feb 5, 2014
1,825
1,975
San Diego, CA, US
As long as your panel is in good shape there should be no safety issues. I would go with the 30a circuit unless you have future plans that would require a panel upgrade.

BTW, If you wanted to add solar or some big load like air conditioning or a spa, It might pay to bundle the whole thing together into one job.
 
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miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,263
5,891
Los Altos, CA
As long as your panel is in good shape there should be no safety issues. I would go with the 30a circuit unless you have future plans that would require a panel upgrade.

BTW, If you wanted to add solar or some big load like air conditioning or a spa, It might pay to bundle the whole thing together into one job.
Especially if you get solar, you can get the 30% tax credit on the panel upgrade done at the same time as the solar install.
 

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