Home Improvement

What do you need to charge your electric car at home

Here we will tell you all about electric car charging at home. Making the switch from a diesel or petrol car to an electric vehicle (EV) is great for the environment but involves a few changes for you. Rather than popping along to your local gas station, you’ll have the option to make use of public charging stations or to charge your electric car at home.

This article is for you if:

  • you’re considering buying an electric vehicle and want to know more about electric car charger types;
  • you’re a new EV owner and want to understand more about charging times;
  • you’re considering installing a dedicated home car charging point and want to understand what your options are;

EV Charging connector types

Public access charging points deliver power at higher levels so are faster but since most people have their car at home for long periods, home charging is more convenient and not surprisingly, less expensive. Around 80% of EV charging takes place at home and having the right charging technology for this can make your EV use as painless and efficient as recharging your mobile phone.

Note: The cost of charging an electric car at home is nearly half what you’ll pay at a public charging station.

Electric vehicles have one or two charging points. Nissan, Mitsubishi and a few other Japanese models tend to have two connectors. These are a CHAdeMO connector, used for rapid charging from public access points and a separate connector for home charging. Most other EVs use a combined charging system (CCS). A CCS connector is used at home for slow or fast charging and at public access charging points for rapid charging. The main difference between the two is that the CHAdeMO connector uses an analogue signal and the CSS connector uses a digital signal to communicate with the vehicle.

The separate connector used for home charging or the part of the CCS used for home charging can be a type 1 connector which has 5 pins, (only seen on older vehicles) or a type 2, which has 7 pins and is much more commonly seen in the UK and across Europe,

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How much does it cost to install a home EV charger?

The cost of a home charging point for an electric car can vary. While some car dealers include installation of a dedicated charging station in the cost of a new EV it’s more common for them to supply a basic cable that is plugged into a standard domestic 3 pin socket. This works, but it’s far from ideal. Most dedicated EV owners upgrade to a dedicated wall socket fitted to a driveway or garage wall.

The cost of a home EV charger depends on the type of charger and the power output it’s capable of. The least expensive option is a 3kW charger which is classed as a slow charger. The most commonly requested unit is a 7kW charger which reduces vehicle charging times. If you have a type 2 connector and a 3-phase home electric supply it’s possible to achieve 22kW charging at home which will reduce significantly the charging times.

It’s recommended that you install a smart charger, which uses wi-fi or Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone. This allows you to charge your car when energy is cheapest and to select settings that condition the battery for the longest possible lifespan.

The typical cost of fitting a home EV charger is around £1000. If you choose a smart charger and get the work done by an approved installer you may be eligible for a grant of around £350 from the Office of Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) towards installation costs.

How long would it take for my EV to charge at home?

Charging times depend on the power output of the charger and the capacity of the battery.

3kW charger– At this speed, it will take around 12 hours to charge a Nissan Leaf with a 40kWh battery. A vehicle with a larger battery might require over 24 hours on a 3kW charge to reach an optimum level. It’s recommended that batteries are charged to only 80% of capacity as this extends battery lifespan.

7kW charger– The battery will reach 80% capacity in approximately half the time taken with a 3kW charger. That’s around 6 hours for a 40kW battery and maybe 12 for a 75kw battery.

22kW charger– If you’re able to install a 22kW home charging point, charging times are slashed. At this speed, a 75kW battery will be optimally charged in less than 6 hours.

Can you charge an electric car at home straight from the wall socket?

Well yes, you can. But…

Charging from a wall socket is very slow, many EVs will take more than 24 hours to charge at the rate of power that can be drawn through a domestic socket. Also, as with cookers and other electrical appliances that draw a heavy supply, having a dedicated socket is safer as it eliminates the risk of placing undue strain on your supply. Most EV dealers do supply a portable slow charger but they recommend that this is used only in emergency situations where no other connection is available.

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How can you get a charging point installed at your home?

Getting a car charging point at home isn’t complicated. Fantastic Services works with electric car charger experts who deliver EV charger installation services that meet BS7671 regulations and the IET code of practice for electric car charger installations.

When you get in touch you’ll be asked about your EV and what you’re looking for from your home charging point. You may be able to get an immediate quote for installation. Alternatively, an initial visit may be arranged to discuss your requirements, confirm that your existing electricity supply and wiring is suitable for the system you have in mind and check the location where you’d like the wall charger fitted.

If you’re eligible for an OZEV grant your installer will source and deliver your charger. Otherwise, if you haven’t already bought a charging system the engineer will advise you on where you can purchase a suitable unit.

EV charger installations take around 3 to 5 hours but keep in mind that every job is different and the installation times could vary.

Takeaways

  • It’s possible to charge EVs at home from a 3 pin domestic socket but this is slow and not suitable for regular use.
  • Since the majority of EV charging is done at home, manufacturers recommend that EV owners install a dedicated home charging point.
  • Home charging is less expensive and more convenient than using public chargers and there are grants available to offset installation costs.
  • If you have a home charger, every morning you will have your car fully charged and ready to go.

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Do you own an EV? Where do you do the majority of your vehicle charging? Please tell us about your experiences!

Img Source: Shutterstock/Herr Loeffler

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