Do you get a free charger with an electric car?

When purchasing a new electric vehicle, one of the first questions that comes to mind is “Do I get a free charger with the car?” The short answer is usually yes, most electric car manufacturers include a free Level 1 or Level 2 charger with the purchase of a new EV. However, the specific charger and charging capabilities can vary greatly depending on the make and model. Here’s a more in-depth look at what to expect when it comes to getting a free charger with an electric car purchase.

What are the different levels of electric vehicle chargers?

There are three main levels of electric vehicle charging:

  • Level 1: Provides charging through a standard 120V household outlet. Delivers 2-5 miles of range per hour of charging.
  • Level 2: Requires a 240V outlet, like those used for large appliances such as dryers. Delivers 10-20 miles of range per hour of charging.
  • Level 3: Also known as DC Fast Charging, provides very rapid charging by delivering direct current straight to the battery. Can add 60-100 miles of range in 20 minutes of charging.

Level 1 and Level 2 chargers are the most commonly included chargers with new electric vehicle purchases. Level 3 chargers require special high-powered equipment and are not typically provided for home charging.

Do all electric cars come with a free charger?

The vast majority of electric cars do come with some sort of standard charging equipment included. This is to ensure new owners can easily charge their vehicle at home right away. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Tesla – Tesla includes a Mobile Connector with new vehicle purchases, which only provides Level 1 charging. For faster Level 2 charging, buyers have to purchase the Wall Connector separately.
  • Porsche Taycan – Comes standard with no charger. All chargers have to be purchased separately.
  • Hyundai Kona Electric – In early 2019 models, Level 1 charger was optional, but is now standard.
  • Kia Niro EV – In early 2019 models, Level 1 charger was optional, but is now standard.

So while the vast majority of EVs do come with a basic Level 1 charger, there are some exceptions from certain manufacturers where all chargers have to be purchased separately.

What kind of charger comes with the most popular electric cars?

Here is a breakdown of the chargers included with some of today’s most popular electric vehicle models:


  • Mobile Connector – Provides Level 1 charging only
  • Wall Connector not included, $500 upgrade for Level 2 charging

Ford Mustang Mach E

  • Ford Mobile Charger – Level 1/Level 2 charging capable

Volkswagen ID.4

  • 5.0 kW onboard charger for Level 2 charging
  • Optional $400 upgrade for 11.5 kW charger

Nissan Leaf

  • Portable “trickle” charge cable for Level 1
  • Optional upgrade to Level 2 charging package

Chevy Bolt

  • 120V portable charge cord for Level 1
  • Optional $520 upgrade for Level 2 charger

Hyundai Kona Electric

  • 120V portable charge cable for Level 1
  • Optional upgrade for Level 2 charging

As you can see, most electric cars come standard with a basic Level 1 charger at minimum. Upgrading to a Level 2 charger for faster charging typically costs $400-$500 in most cases when not included.

Should you rely only on the included charger?

The portable Level 1 or Level 2 charger that comes with most EVs provides enough charging capability for daily commuting and basic home charging needs. However, there are some limitations to only using the standard included charger:

  • Slow charging times – Using just a Level 1 charger can mean very long charging sessions, which may not fully recharge your battery overnight.
  • Fixed location – The included charger needs to be plugged into a specific outlet, which limits where you can conveniently charge your EV at home.
  • Public charging – Most public charging stations provide faster Level 2 charging, so your Level 1 charger won’t be compatible.

While the included charger gets the job done for basic charging, upgrading to a faster Level 2 home charging station can provide more convenience and flexibility:

  • Faster charge times to quickly top up your EV battery as needed.
  • Hardwired installation for charging anywhere in your garage.
  • Smart charging capabilities to optimize charging times and track usage.
  • Future-proof for possible battery upgrades or next EV.

What are the best electric car charger upgrades?

Here are some of the most popular home electric vehicle charger upgrades for faster, more convenient charging:

Tesla Wall Connector

  • 11.5 kW charging capacity
  • Compatible only with Tesla vehicles
  • Hardwired installation
  • WiFi connected for over-the-air updates
  • Price: $500

Chargepoint Home Flex

  • 7.2 kW or 9.6 kW capacity
  • Compatible with all EVs
  • Can be plugged into outlet or hardwired
  • WiFi connectivity and scheduling
  • Price: $650

JuiceBox 40

  • 9.6 kW capacity
  • Compatible with all EVs
  • Hardwired installation
  • Smart charging capabilities
  • Price: $549

Grizzl-E Classic

  • 8.8 kW capacity
  • Compatible with all EVs
  • Hardwired installation
  • Rugged, weatherproof construction
  • Price: $599

Investing in a robust Level 2 charger like these can provide faster charging, smart charging capabilities to minimize energy costs, and flexibility on where you can charge your EV at home.

Where can you get EV charger installation?

Once you select an upgraded Level 2 EV charger, you’ll need to have it professionally installed for safe and proper operation. Some top options for charger installation include:

  • Certified electricians – Look for an electrician experienced in EV charger installation to safely handle electrical work.
  • Charging provider installers – Many charging equipment companies like Chargepoint offer professional installation services.
  • Tesla – Tesla offers installation services for the Tesla Wall Connector.

When looking for an installer, be sure to ask about their specific EV charging experience, licenses and certifications, insured and bonded status, and any warranties or guarantees on their installation work.

How much does EV charger installation cost?

Installation costs for Level 2 home EV chargers typically range from $600-$1200 depending on your situation. Some factors impacting the cost include:

  • Location – Running wiring from the electrical panel to the garage or driveway can increase costs.
  • Electrical work needed – Upgrading your electrical panel or adding a dedicated circuit line will add expenses.
  • Wall mounting – Installing the charger on a wall rather than stand adds labor.
  • Permits – Your city may require electrical or building permits that add cost.

Many electric utilities and state/federal incentive programs also offer rebates on EV charger installation costs to help reduce the total price. Shopping around and getting multiple quotes can help you find the best deal.

Are there free public EV charging options?

While most public electric vehicle charging stations do require a fee to use, there are some locations that offer free public EV charging as an amenity or incentive for drivers:

  • Retail Stores – Some stores like Target offer free chargers to attract customers.
  • Municipal Lots – City governments sometimes provide free public charging spots.
  • Workplaces – Employers are increasingly adding free EV charging benefits for employees.
  • Hotels – Guests staying at the hotel can often charge for free.
  • Tesla Superchargers – Only useful for Tesla owners but charging is currently free.

Apps like PlugShare and Chargeway can be helpful for finding these free public electric car charging stations. While availability is still limited, the number of free public charging locations is growing.

Should you buy or lease your EV charger?

EV owners have two main options when it comes to charger ownership – buy the charger outright or lease it over time:

  • Buying: Higher upfront cost but you fully own the charger. Tax credits and rebates can help lower purchase price. Ongoing costs are minimal.
  • Leasing: Typically little to no money down but you pay a monthly fee over a set contract term. The charger remains the property of the leasing company.

Buying your own EV charger is usually the better option if you can afford the higher initial payment. Tax incentives plus long-term ownership often make buying more cost effective unless you only plan to stay in your home for a short period.


The majority of electric cars do come with some sort of basic charger included to get started with home charging. However, upgrading to a faster and more powerful Level 2 charger can provide significantly quicker charge times and more flexibility. Investing in professional installation for your upgraded charger is highly recommended for safety and reliability. While buying a charger has a higher upfront cost, it usually pays off in the long run compared to leasing. With the right charging equipment and some research on available public charging options, EV owners can enjoy access to convenient and affordable charging.

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