Electric Car Charging
There are numerous benefits to charging an electric car at home in comparison to filling up a traditional petrol or diesel car such as being more convenient, and almost certainly cheaper, unless you are able to consistently use free charging points.
Charging at Home
You will need off-road parking, such as a driveway or garage, and you will need to be able to get power to the desired location. But, as more and more people invest in electric cars, and with the upcoming ban on petrol and diesel cars in 2030, depending on where you live, having off-road charging ability could even increase the value of your home.
You can charge your vehicle using a regular 2.4kw three-pin wall socket but you could be looking at a charge time in excess of 35 hours depending on the car. Therefore, you will want to have a wall charging unit (wallbox charger) installed to dramatically reduce charging times.
To ensure you get the most suitable wallbox charger installed, there are a number of decisions to make:
Tethered or Untethered
A tethered charging unit has a power lead attached enabling a vehicle to pull up and plug in as opposed to retrieving your car’s own charging lead.
An untethered charging unit has no power lead attached, meaning you must use your car’s own charging lead, but this does enable you to swap out the lead such as Type 1 to Type 2.
Types of Plug
There are two different kinds of connectors:
A Type 1 socket can be found on older vehicles but these are now rare and as such Type 1 to Type 2 converters are available.
A Type 2 socket is used by most vehicles as it was mandated by the EU that all plug-in cars must have a Type 2 socket from 2014.
There is no single power option but typically you will have a choice of up to 7.4kw for a UK home. To save money, you could choose a lower power rate (such as 3.6kw) but this will affect charging speed. It is possible to have an even faster charger, up to 22kw, but unfortunately very few cars can actually receive a 22kw charge from an AC source such as a domestic wall charger.
If your car can receive an AC charge of 11 or 22kw, it is possible to speed up your charging times but you will require a three-phase connection, which your home is unlikely to have as despite the majority of the UK being served by a three-phase network, most UK dwellings are attached to only one of the three live wires. Your electricity is supplied through either a single or three-phase supply with the difference being:
A single-phase network has one live wire.
A three-phase network has three live wires, meaning you could connect to all three for a faster supply.
A smart charger can be accessed remotely and will usually work via an app on your smartphone allowing you to monitor your car’s charging and potentially choose when it charges. This could be particularly useful if you have a time-of-use tariff, such as Economy 7, when the cost of electricity is cheaper during the night so charging your electric car during these cheaper hours would be beneficial.
However, smart chargers are generally more expensive than regular chargers.
The difference in cost is largely down to the amount of power which is supplied with 3.6kw chargers being the most affordable and 22kw chargers the most expensive. A 22kw charger is likely to be in excess of most people’s needs but if you have a three-phase connection it might be considered a good investment for future proofing.