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Hi,

I'm planning to join the Volt club with a 2017. I'm doing research, and have scheduled an electrician to give me a free assessment of the electrical configuration in my garage to make sure it is adequate. I read the other thread titled "Safety of charging with a standard 120v outlet", and thought it would be better to start a new thread.

Electricians I've talked to are not familiar with the specific electrical requirements for the Volt. My question: what questions should I ask about my electrical layout? I read in that other thread about max amps, continuous draw, and whatnot. I plan to plug into a regular 120v outlet. I once tripped the breaker when I was using a power tool in the outlet I'm planning for the Volt, when my wife had a hair dryer going in our bathroom above the garage at the same time.

Am I looking at needing an outlet that has its own 20-amp breaker? I'd like to charge as quickly as possible with the 120v, and it sounds like that means the EVSE will want 12 amps, which requires a 20-amp feed. Apologies if I don't make complete sense; I know only enough about electrical stuff to know I shouldn't be touching it myself.
 

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A dedicated 20 amp circuit would be great. Have him use a commercial quality 20 amp GFCI, use the screw terminals instead of the back stabs, and you will be all set. A 15 amp circuit would also be fine per the 80% rule, but the difference in cost between it and a 20 amp circuit is negligible.

But frankly, if you are willing to have him run a new circuit, run a 240v with a NEMA 14-30 or 14-50 receptacle instead.
 

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I'd say that if you are running a new 20A circuit, be it 120V or 240V, you'd be wise to have the electrician run at least #10 gauge wire so that it will support up to 30 amps with nothing more than a receptacle and breaker swap. That way, you'll be substantially more "future-proof" for virtually the same cost. Breakers and receptacle are cheap, wire and the labor to install it are far more significant.
 

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I'd say that if you are running a new 20A circuit, be it 120V or 240V, you'd be wise to have the electrician run at least #10 gauge wire so that it will support up to 30 amps with nothing more than a receptacle and breaker swap. That way, you'll be substantially more "future-proof" for virtually the same cost. Breakers and receptacle are cheap, wire and the labor to install it are far more significant.
If you're running a new 240 Volt circuit, if you use a dual 50 Amp breaker, 6 gauge wire, and a NEMA 14-50 outlet, you will be REALLY future proofing things. This won't help with the Volt (because it can only charge at 3.3 or 3.6 kW (depending on which generation it is)). But, it will help if you get another EV that draws more juice.
 

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I second the above suggestion of getting a 240v circuit installed. And then a DIY to make your own 240v pigtail

Gen2 Volt EVSE conversion to L2/L1 combo, DONE!
http://www.gm-volt.com/forum/showpost.php?p=3252313#/forumsite/20571/topics/218442?page=30&postid=3252313

If you are like me, very soon you will start to hate the slow charging rate at 110v, even with 12amp settings.
240v is the way to go.
After reading Chris TX's post, I helped my son install a 240 line using 10 gauge wire in order for him to charge in ~5.5 hours in stead of ~11 hours. To the OP: have your electrician install a 240 circuit and make the dongle for you, or you can buy the dongle from Chris TX.
 

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I'd say that if you are running a new 20A circuit, be it 120V or 240V, you'd be wise to have the electrician run at least #10 gauge wire so that it will support up to 30 amps with nothing more than a receptacle and breaker swap. That way, you'll be substantially more "future-proof" for virtually the same cost. Breakers and receptacle are cheap, wire and the labor to install it are far more significant.
+1

I wish I had done that when I had my 240V/20amp line installed. And I bought a hard wired CC LCS-25 whish I had had a NEMA 14-30 or 14-50 receptacle installed as well. That setup would allow me to easily charge a Tesla.
 

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Minimum: 20-amp dedicated 120v circuit
Maximum: 50-amp 240v circuit

Needed: Whatever your situation requires. Use the nominal charge time to determine the most cost-effective and convenient solution for YOU.

RE: 'future proofing'. A full-on EV will charge a similar range per night as a Volt with the same setup. Therefore, a high-power high-amp circuit is not needed for normal day-to-day driving for most <40mi per day commuters.

My recommendation: install a 40-amp 240v EVSE using a generic wall plug.
 

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As you suspect, it will be necessary to have a new circuit put in place due to the wide distribution of the existing garage circuit (shared with another room where your wife was using the hair dryer -- WTF were they thinking?!).

I would point out that you can get by just fine with a 15-amp dedicated 120v circuit and still charge the Volt at 12 amps. I have been doing that since 2011. In fact, that same 15-amp garage circuit also powers two garage door openers and the breaker never trips even when both garage door openers are operated simultaneously while charging the Volt at 12 amps.

However, since in your case you have to go to the trouble and expense of adding a dedicated circuit, you may as well make it 20 amps and go to overkill on the wire gauge, as others have suggested. The labor is the same and the increase in material costs is negligible.
 

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You already have a 120V outlet. It is likely a 15 amp and it is shared with the bathroom. Others have suggested upgrades, but if you want to know the minimum you will need, the 15A 120V can be fine if you keep other loads off the circuit. Or maybe you have another outlet in the garage that does not also serve a necessary outlet elsewhere. Make sure all the outlets on the circuit are wired to the screw terminals. Also, the outlet in use in the garage should be a good one, preferably new and of high quality. This will let you avoid additional wiring. If you don’t mind doing additional wiring, go for any of the recommended upgrades and also keep in mind the tax credit.
 

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As you suspect, it will be necessary to have a new circuit put in place due to the wide distribution of the existing garage circuit (shared with another room where your wife was using the hair dryer -- WTF were they thinking?!).

I would point out that you can get by just fine with a 15-amp dedicated 120v circuit and still charge the Volt at 12 amps. I have been doing that since 2011. In fact, that same 15-amp garage circuit also powers two garage door openers and the breaker never trips even when both garage door openers are operated simultaneously while charging the Volt at 12 amps.

However, since in your case you have to go to the trouble and expense of adding a dedicated circuit, you may as well make it 20 amps and go to overkill on the wire gauge, as others have suggested. The labor is the same and the increase in material costs is negligible.
We moved into a house last summer and, before we added a 240 circuit with a clipper creek evse, we were charging our 2014 with the gm provided evse. And, like the OP, when my wife turned on her curling iron "pop" went the circuit breaker. Confused the heck out of me for 15 minutes.

I guess before gfi's got cheap, it wasn't uncommon to have the garage and bathroom on the same gfi protected circuit.

The More You Know...
 

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Minimum: 20-amp dedicated 120v circuit
Maximum: 50-amp 240v circuit

Needed: Whatever your situation requires. Use the nominal charge time to determine the most cost-effective and convenient solution for YOU.

RE: 'future proofing'. A full-on EV will charge a similar range per night as a Volt with the same setup. Therefore, a high-power high-amp circuit is not needed for normal day-to-day driving for most <40mi per day commuters.

My recommendation: install a 40-amp 240v EVSE using a generic wall plug.
My 2 cents. I'm not sure that is a route that should be considered assuming you mean the three prong outlet like you have in the rest of the house. That breaker is there for your safety and the safety of whatever you plug into it. If you plug something in that is rated to run off of 15-amp 120v it doesn't have that safety net that 15-amp breaker provides should something short or happen to whatever you have plugged into that outlet. Correct me if I'm wrong.
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong.
I'm saying a dedicated 240v 40-amp circuit like for an electric dryer (not a 'regular three prong outlet') along with a decent EVSE that will last through a few cars. Using a generic outlet (rated for 240v not 110v) will allow easy replacement of the EVSE if needed.
 

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I'm saying a dedicated 240v 40-amp circuit like for an electric dryer (not a 'regular three prong outlet') along with a decent EVSE that will last through a few cars. Using a generic outlet (rated for 240v not 110v) will allow easy replacement of the EVSE if needed.
Ah gotcha. Carry on.
 

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I'm almost done installing the new wiring for the Clipper Creek HCS-40P that arrived 2 days ago. I only had one 110v 15A duplex outlet in my double car garage. I decided to run 6/3 w/ground with a 50A breaker for the NEMA 14-50 plug that the Clipper has. I also decided to run two more lines using 12/2 w/ground and wire each up to its own 20A breaker. I installed both 110v outlets side by side in a 4x4 metal electrical box and the 14-50 in a 4x4 metal electrical box. My basement where the breaker box is located is unfinished and I just ran the wires between the joists but since my garage is has finished walls, I needed to use conduit in there so I used PVC 3/4" and 1/2" conduit making sure that I grounded each box. I'll add a pic of the install when I'm finished.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey everyone, thanks for the replies! I actually requested an estimate to get BOTH a new 120v 20a outlet AND a 240v 20a outlet installed, both dedicated circuits. The stickied FAQ at the top of this forum actually answered most of my questions, but I didn't see it until after I posted (my bad).

I did not ask the electrician what gauge wiring he will use, so I will check on that. I'm not sure which NEMA is being used, either. What is the difference between a 240v 20a and 40a outlet?

I'm going with both outlets because I think I might have a second EV in the future....
 

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If you are having a 240 V circuit run, I would recommend getting at least 30 Amps instead of 20 Amps. 20 is fine for a Volt, but you will want more juice than that for your next car. And the extra cost now will be minimal compared to upgrading it later.
 

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If you are having a 240 V circuit run, I would recommend getting at least 30 Amps instead of 20 Amps. 20 is fine for a Volt, but you will want more juice than that for your next car. And the extra cost now will be minimal compared to upgrading it later.
I would agree with this, or at the very least, have the electrician run #10 wire (min.) so that it could be upgraded to 30A later with just a simple receptacle and breaker change. In fact, I would go ahead and have the electrician use #10 for the 120V circuit as well, since it is still relatively easy to wire a 20A receptacle with #10 wire, although it is nearly impossible to do it with anything larger (i.e. 8 or 6). That way, you would also preserve the future upgrade-ability of the 120V circuit over to a 20A (or 30A) 240V as well, since with two EV cars you may ultimately want to do both on L2 charging.

EDIT: I see I gave this some advice to snorth a few weeks ago when he first posted.
 
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