With so many car manufacturers transitioning to producing only electric vehicles (EVs), along with the upcoming 2030 ban on fossil-fuel-powered cars, it seems inevitable that we’ll all be driving around in these battery-operated machines in the not-so-distant future. But how much do you really know about electric vehicle home charging?
Many members of the UK public have already swapped to battery-powered transport. This transition comes with a few changes in day-to-day car routines.
One of the biggest questions currently asked by UK electric car owners is, is it worth installing an electric home charging unit?
This guide uncovers how it’s possible to charge your vehicle at home, what kind of chargers are available, the cost to have one installed, and much more.
Can you charge an electric vehicle at home?
Yes, it is possible to charge your EV at home. It is recommended to have a home charge point installed. To have one installed, however, you’ll have to meet the following criteria:
- Firstly, if you don’t own the property you live on, you’ll require permission from the homeowner or landlord. This is important as it’s against the law to have work like this completed if you are not the legal owner and you haven’t gotten permission.
- Secondly, you’ll need a dedicated off-road parking space, on your property. You won’t be able to charge an EV on the street outside your house, as that’ll entail running a cable across the pavement or road. The local authorities may have a problem with this as it is a potential trip hazard.
- Thirdly, you’ll require a WI-FI connection or a 3G or 4G SIM router. This will be necessary if you have a Pod Point home charger installed.
Can you charge an electric vehicle using a regular outlet?
Yes, you can charge an electric vehicle using a regular 2.4kW three-pin wall socket, however, you probably don’t want to take this route, as this is the slowest – and usually the more costly – way to charge your EV. Recharging your battery via a traditional wall socket will take anywhere from a full day (24 hours) to a day and a half (36 hours) to charge.
Should I get a wallbox charger?
Installing an electric vehicle wall charging unit (wallbox) is a far more effective and time-efficient way to recharge your EV’s battery. Depending on your location, this addition could even increase the value of your home.
To ensure you have the correct wallbox installed for your EV’s needs, you need to consider the following:
- Do I require a tethered or an untethered wallbox?
- What rate of power is needed?
- What type of plug is required?
- Do I want a traditional or smart charger installed?
What is a tethered and an untethered charger?
It’s always worth checking what type of connecter your EV has before installing a wallbox.
A tethered wallbox is a charging unit with a power lead attached. This easy-to-use option only requires you to pull the lead to your EV and plug it in.
An untethered wallbox is a charging unit that does not feature an attached power lead. This means retrieving the lead whenever you need to charge your EV. On the positive side, this allows you to switch between and use either a Type 1 or a Type 2 lead at any time.
Are all electric vehicle charger plugs the same?
No, not all electric vehicle charger plugs are the same.
Two types of connectors are used for EV home charging – Type 1 and Type 2. Most modern EVs will have the Type 2 socket. The European Union (EU) mandated that all plug-in cars produced from 2014 onward feature this socket type.
Consequently, only some EVs in Europe – usually produced before 2014 – will require the Type 1 connecters.
What power electric vehicle home charger do I need?
The general rule of EV home chargers is – the greater the power output, the faster the charge. You should ensure the power output is within your EV’s maximum charge rate, or you could damage your battery.
The least powerful option is the 3.6kW charger. You’ll save money buying this cost-effective version; however, your charging times will be far slower than the more powerful alternatives.
The most popular choice for the average UK home is the 7.4kW power option. Many EV car owners do, however, opt for the slightly faster 11kW option.
There is also a much faster 22kW option. It’s not always possible, however, for EV cars to receive a 22kW charge from a regular AC domestic wall charger.
Please take note of the following:
- Despite being faster to charge your EV using a 22kW wallbox, the less powerful options will be gentler on your battery.
- 3 – 7kW chargers are the most used wallboxes in the UK. However, there are homes fitted with single-phase (AC) electricity supplies designed to support an extra 7kW of capacity.
- UK homes fitted with three-phase (AC) power supplies can support wallboxes with up to 22kw of charging capacity. You should ensure your fuse board can handle the extra capacity required to support a home charging station before you select and install your wallbox.
- Even if your car has a 22kW AC charging capacity, and you have installed a wallbox with 22kWs of charging power, your EV can only charge at the rate of your charging cable. If, for example, your charging cable only allows 7.4kW of charging power, your EV will only charge at 7.4kW.
- Before deciding on a wallbox, remember to check the maximum charging capacity of your EV, along with the connected load of your house. If the connection power available in your home is too low – why pay more for a wallbox with a higher charging capacity?
Can I speed up charging my electric vehicle at home?
You can speed up charging times by using an AC charge of 11 or 22kW. The latter will require a three-phase connection. This type of connection isn’t common in UK homes, despite most of the UK being served by a three-phase network. This is due to most UK homes having a single-phase connection.
Your home is supplied electricity through either a single-phase or a three-phase electrical system. The main difference between the two is that a single-phase setup is less powerful than a three-phase system. This means a three-phase electricity supply can handle a higher power capacity and charge your EV at a faster rate.
How do I check if I have a 3-phase electricity connection?
If you live in an average UK home – that consumes an average amount of electricity – then the chances are your home has been fitted with a single-phase electricity system as standard. These systems are usually found in homes with gas central heating and with only one electricity meter.
If you inhabit a larger home or own/run a commercial or industrial building that requires a large amount of electricity – or more than one electricity meter – then you’ll need a three-phase electrical system. These systems are also required to run any large electrical motors.
Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to surmise what electrical supply your property has is by looking at the electrical fuse. This is also known as the service head or cut out. Three-phase systems usually have three 100amp fuses, while single-phase systems typically have only one fuse.
Should I get a smart charger?
Smart chargers are another option for UK EV owners. Although these devices are more expensive than regular chargers, they provide many benefits.
Perhaps the best feature of all smart chargers is the built-in software enabling them to connect to the internet. This allows owners to manage and control their EVs’ charging process. It’s even possible to accomplish this remotely using a smartphone app. A WI-FI connection is required.
This software enables the smart charger to gather information and data on your charging station usage and electricity consumption. This means you can see how often your vehicle is being charged, when it’s charging, and how much electricity is being used. This’ll enable you to fine-tune how you charge your EV, thereby assisting you in saving energy and money.
Save money by scheduling charging times
A smart charger allows you to schedule the time and duration of EV charges. You can also manage this through some charging companies’ smartphone app. You can schedule charging during off-peak times when electricity is cheaper. It also means you can charge your EV while you’re away from home and not worry about wasting money through overcharging. Overcharging can also damage your EV’s battery.
Handle problems remotely
The remote access feature of smart charging stations also notifies the owner of any problems that may arise, including malfunctions. This same feature also allows the company that installed the smart station to access the charger remotely to perform repairs. This is a great time and effort-saving feature, especially if the installer is based far away.
Another advantage of an EV smart charging station is that it updates remotely due to its built-in internet connection. This means the automatic downloading of new features and the updating of current features. Security patches are also constantly updated – helping to ensure your data and privacy are always protected.
Smart meters are designed to prevent overloads from occurring. As charging an EV battery can cause a strain on your electrical circuit, you must handle this process correctly through the station’s dynamic load balancing feature.
This feature enables your smart station to monitor how much power the charging process takes from the circuit. The smart charger will then distribute the available capacity accordingly. This will prevent overloads from occurring.
What is the cost to install an electric vehicle home charger?
As there are various wallboxes to select from, the cost of purchasing and installing a home charging station can vary. Contact us to start your enquiry and we can find the best price on the market for you.
The more powerful the charging capacity, the more expensive the wallbox will be.
Although the initial outlay to buy one of these units may seem like a major expense, you’ll gradually save money by not purchasing fuel.
Can I get the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) grant?
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme is a government grant offered to EV owners who buy and install a home wallbox.
This grant covers 75% of the involved costs to a maximum of £350.
Amendments to the EVHS as of April 1st, 2022, must be considered. This grant will no longer be open to homeowners living in single-unit properties, including those with mortgages. This includes detached, semi-detached, or terraced housing. Only those living in flats and other rental accommodations, including single-use properties, can now apply.
The Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is the company that claims the grant on your behalf. If your wallbox grant application is successful, the unit must be installed by an OZEV-approved supplier.
If you are serious about applying for an EVHS grant, you must meet the following criteria:
- You have never claimed an EVHS grant before. (Unless you have two eligible electric vehicles.
- If you haven’t previously claimed for an EVHS grant and you move into a new house fitted with an old wallbox that needs replacing, you could be eligible.
- You can only apply for an EVHS grant if you live on an existing property. New-builds or unoccupied properties will not qualify for grant approval.
- As of July 1st, 2019, all approved EVHS grants will involve fitting wallbox chargers featuring smart functionality.
- If you live in Scotland, the terms and conditions may vary. You can find out more on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.
What is V2G technology?
Vehicle-to-grid technology (V2G) is a state-of-the-art power management form currently trialling in the UK.
Although a smart charging station’s primary function is to charge your EV’s battery, it can also be used to store electricity that can later be fed back into your power grid.
This bidirectional flow of power between your EV’s battery and the electrical circuit means your EV can become a source of energy for your home. You can use this stored energy to power appliances during peak energy times, then recharge your EV during off-peak times.
Furthermore, it’s possible to sell any excess power stored in your EV battery back to the grid. This technology could both save and earn you money. You’ll even be able to monitor this process – including the amount of money you’ve made – via the smartphone app.