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I don't have much room in my electrical box and want to run 50 amps/220v (40 usable) to my garage to hook up an EV charger. The EV charger has no neutral, just two positives and a ground.

The GE electrical box is rated for 200 amps and based on what will be running at one time, I have enough amperage but not enough space. I do look like I have a single pole I can put in a 50 amp breaker. Is there any downside to using a single-pole breaker instead of a double? Something like this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-Q-Line-50-Amp-1-in-Single-Pole-Circuit-Breaker-THQL1150/100167462

One other question is whether 6/2 wire is sufficient since I don't need the neutral?

I'd appreciate any help on this. If 50 amps on a single pole sounds like too much, I probably could get by on 40 amps.

Thanks!

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    USA/Canada electrical systems: Single pole is 120V. To Neutral. Single Pole without Neutral is useless, unless it's half of a Double-Pole providing 240V. There are no "positives" on your EV charger, it takes Alternating Current Input, not Direct Current. The life not lost and the house not burned down could be yours.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 1:32
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    You need two adjacent spaces for 240v. A Picture of your panel with door open and picture of the factory panel schedule could help the contributors here detail how to configure breakers in a workable arrangement. Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 1:41
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    If you only have a single-pole breaker, and you're not hooking any wires to neutral, where is the other wire in your 6/2 going to go?
    – brhans
    Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 1:56
  • Can you post a photo of your panel please? This may be possible with "double stuff" breakers, but we'd need to see how your panel's loaded to be sure Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 5:18
  • If your panel is full, you will probably need to add a sub panel beside/close to it and transfer some circuits to the new panel.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 10:16

2 Answers 2

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There is no way to get 220 (really 240) on a single pole breaker. You could get a tandem breaker (depending upon the brand of panel), move a circuit to it so you could remove the original breaker to make space for a proper 240 breaker. You didn't provide a lot of information, pictures of the panel with the cover installed and with the cover removed would help a lot to get you better advice. 6/2 w/ground would be fine, but you'll need to get a proper 240v breaker to make your plan work.

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First, you don't get to "spin your own" way of determining whether you have enough amps in reserve*. There is a proper procedure called a Load Calculation, outlined in Article 220 of NEC (though you would be better off using third party sites or books to calculate it, as NEC isn't really set up for learning). The main thing is, don't bother tallying up anything that plugs into a 120V circuit. Those get taken care of in "catch-all” parts of the calculation. However, let's presume that you did a proper Load Calc and you have lots of room.

Also, most panels are rated 200/225A. However what matters is the service size, which is indicated by the size of the main breaker (if everyone did their jobs).

EVSE's and cars aren't really designed for it

The EVSE is the module that sits on the wall. The charger is inside the car.

Nothing in the EV specification prohibits using 50A @ 120V. The problem is, it's weird. And since it is weird, nobody supports it. Meaning, they just aren't thinking about it when they design their products, and don't include it in their testing.

  • Hard-wired wall-mount Level 2 EVSE's aren't designed for a 120V circuit, and their electronics may not work on a 120V circuit. The builders just assumed "Level 2 = 240V surely".

  • Portable "lump in the cord" type EVSEs have no way of knowing the supply ampacity. When they see 120V, they infer they are on a 15A circuit and draw no more than 12A.

  • For instance, small travel trailers use a TT30 - 120V/30A. EV owners have tried using them and have had very mixed results, typically getting 12A charging.

  • Or the internal charger module within the EV may self-limit to 12A or 16A when it sees 120V, as a safety measure.

Check your breaker panel closely.

Generally, there are ways to squeeze an extra circuit or two out of a nearly full panel. We can certainly have that conversation with you.

Even if that's not possible, it is certainly possible to install a "sub-panel", or another electrical panel fed from the first one - to free up space and provide more space. (and this happens to be a great time to have a conversation about generator backup, or probably something more modern than a generator LOL).

Note that GE panels do "double-stuffing breakers" in a fairly innovative way. As such, an experienced person may spot a way to do it. Your best bet is to post a photo of the breaker panel showing handles and load labeling, as well as a photo of the large sticker with the diagrams, list of allowed breakers and many other items of data. The large sticker is sometimes behind the screw-on deadfront; be cautious messing with that and don't exceed your personal minimums.

6/2 cable is expensive stuff

We have alternatives that may work better and save a bunch of money. Talk to us about your cable run, and what other applications you might have, such as an RV, welder, etc.

Harper's Law. Buy the wire LAST so your choice is informed by everything you learn on the way.

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