Thinking about getting an electric or hybrid car? Or maybe you’ve already purchased one and you’re looking for a more convenient way to re-charge your car, other than stopping at one of the 15k+ charging locations throughout the UK.
If you’re looking for ease, convenience and to save on money while you do your bit to reduce your carbon footprint, the answer you’ve been looking for might just be to charge your car from home.
How can you charge your car at home?
In theory, it’s possible to charge your car at home with a regular electric outlet – your standard three-pin wall socket that you used to charge your laptop, phone, or tablet – that you can plug your electric car charging lead straight into.
However, you’ll probably want to opt for a different charging method, as the small volume of power provided by one of these sockets will mean that your car will take a lot longer to charge, typically around 30-40 hours , depending on what car you have, so this isn’t a valid option for most people, especially those who use their car on a daily basis.
For most though, the best alternative is to invest in an electric vehicle wall charging unit known as an EV charger which cuts the charging time to allow your car to be fully recharged overnight. Depending on what car you own – the time taken to charge your electric/hybrid car will take around 7-10 hours at the most, thanks to the super charging power of the EV charger.
Moreover, homes that have a three-phase electricity connection (a connection that has three live wires compared to the typical one) it’s possible to speed up your car’s charging, if your car is able to receive 11/22 kW of charge. Though most houses in the UK are only connected to the electric network by one wire, you can check if you have a three phase connection by checking if you have three fuses system in your home. If you havn’t got three phase its really not installing as the cost to do so is outweighs any saving you make using the EV charger.
In general, if you want to have an EV charger installed, your home will need to have off-road parking, due to the necessity of having the car close to the unit, but more pressingly because you can’t really have a lead trailing from your house to your car if it’s parked on the street, as your local authorities may take action and ask you to remove the lead.
What types of EV chargers are there?
When it comes to electric vehicle chargers, there are a few things you need to take into account when choosing the right one for your electric car and home.
- You need to know which plug you need for your particular make of car.
Nowadays, most cars need a type 2 plug, in order to be able to connect to your EV charger, as the government made it mandatory for car manufacturers to make type 2 plug-compatible electric cars in 2014.
However, if you own an older electric/hybrid car you may want to opt for a type 1 plug (though type 1 to type 2 plug converters are available, and might be a better option if you plan to swap out your car for a newer electric car model in the future).
- You need to decide whether you want a tethered or untethered charger.
A tethered wall charger has a power lead attached, while the untethered variety makes it necessary to own a separate lead, which you can plug in to both the electric car wall charging unit and the car. The unthethered verson allows those with a type 1 plug compatible car to purchase a type 2 lead without having to purchase a whole new EV charger, they can simply buy a new lead.
While the tethered EV charger is the most convenient choice as you don’t need to keep getting the lead out of the boot, the untethered version could be necessary if you regularly charge your vehicle away from home.
- You should weigh up whether you want a smart EV charger or not.
Smart EV chargers allow you to manage your charging point from wherever you are, keep track of how full your car’s battery is and choose what time you want your car to charge by montitoring the charge using your mobile phone or Ipad. This is helpful to save money in the long term as many homeowners can use their electricity for a lower cost overnight, so by limiting the car to overnight charging, even when plugged in during the day, you can save even more money.
Having said this, smart chargers are slightly more expensive than the standard variety – though, if you want to qualify for the monetary aid offered by the government (created to encourage people to both purchase electric cars, and to charge that car at home – see below) it needs to be a smart charger. So, overall, it’s probably worth opting to go smart.
- You need to decide what rate of power is suitable for you (and your car’s) needs.
When it comes to deciding how powerful a wall charger you want to purchase, you need to be aware of two things: the lower the kW provided by the charger, the cheaper the charger will be. However, a lower kW will also lengthen the time taken to recharge the battery of your electric car.
For ordinary domestic vehicles, anywhere from 4-10 kW will provide enough power to charge your car so that you can use it more than once a week though for people who use their car a lot, and on a daily basis, it’s probably better to opt for a higher kW within this range. 7kW is the most common.
How can charging your electric/hybrid car at home save you money?
In addition to being incredibly convenient – to be able to plug in your car at the end of the day, and leave it to charge while you sleep, rather than having to take it to a public car charging point. Furthermore, as a result of the global initiative to reduce carbon emissions of climate change, there are a number of government grants to reduce the overall cost associated with owning an electric/hybrid car.
Aside from the plug-in car grant (PICG) – which helps car buyers with the cost of buying an electric car in the first place – the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) allows electric car owners in Bath to save on the cost of installing a home EV charger, which enables electric car owners to reduce the cost of their charger and installation by £350 . Choose an approved installer and they will claim this grant on your behalf, instantly reducing the amount you will pay without the bother of filling out forms or having to apply this incentive yourself.
In order to be approved by the scheme you must:
- Have an eligible vehicle, which you can check on the UK government’s online list of vehicles eligible for the EVHS scheme. Most electric vehicles sold in the UK are included.
- Have your wall charging unit installed by an OZEV-approved supplier (Office for Zero Emission Vehicles).
- Have never claimed from the scheme previously, even when it was formerly known as the Domestic Recharge Scheme.
- Be installing EV charger with smart functionality.
- Have a drive where you can park your car.
Moreover, there are also grants available to allow electric car owners to receive monetary aid when installing a wall charging unit at work – which can be claimed by Bath businesses and charities – to similarly acquire up to £350 to reduce the cost of the installation.
How much will an electric car wall charging unit cost?
With the UK government grant applied, you’re looking at paying an additional £400-1200 depending on the kW strength of the charger, the more powerful being the more expensive, the model you choose, Hypervolt , Zappi, Project EV to name a few. It will also depend on how long the cable run is from your fusebox to the area you want to install the EV charger and whether you need to upgrade any of your electrics to accommodate a new circuit.
So, if you’re thinking about getting an electric car – or you have one already but you’ve been using public charging points until now, and you haven’t yet taken the plunge to install a EV charging unit in Bath – then you can find everything you need to know about home electric car charging right here, with even more information available on the UK government website.
Ace Energy in Bath install EV chargers in and around Bath and North East Somerset with a number of manufacturer options to choose from, our fully qualified EV specialist electrician can advise which wall charger will best suit you and guide you through the process effortlessly.
Make an appointment today by calling 01225 729005 or email Hello@aceheat.co.uk