Domestic electric vehicle (EV) chargers are the easy, convenient way to charge your electric car and ensure that you can stay topped up in the most affordable way.
Although still commonly misunderstood, EV chargers are tackling the compounding issue of our excess greenhouse gas emissions by replacing polluting fossil fuels with clean, green electricity.
With an increasing market for EV chargers, it can be hard to know which to choose. Read on to explore our comprehensive guide to EV chargers and find answers to all of your questions.
What are electric vehicle charge points?
Charging your EV is just as simple as charging any other electrical device.
The electric car is connected to the socket or EV charger via a cable. The EV charger then pulls electrical current from the grid, which then passes into the car where it is stored in the car’s main and 12-volt batteries.
It is just the same as charging your smartphone, for example.
As with your electric car, your smartphone will need a specific charger and connection wire to enable you to charge it.
When your phone battery is low, you plug in your phone to the nearest electrical socket using the specific charger and cable and recharge it.
Your electric car will likely come with a standard 3-pin charging cable that can connect to your home’s electrical sockets, but most people choose to buy a specific Type 1 or Type 2 cable, that connects to an EV charge point.
3-pin domestic sockets can charge an EV but are designed for smaller electrical items. As such, charging your car this way is:
- much slower
- can overload the system.
EV charging cables are specifically designed to manage charges, charge faster, and also lower the cost, making them the better choice.
Which EV charging cable do you need?
Early into researching EV chargers, you will likely have come across many terms that describe different types of cables.
Different electric cars will feature different charging options, so it’s very important you choose the correct cable for your needs.
Tethered cables are connected to the main charging unit. You should consider if the cable is long enough to reach the car from your charging unit, particularly on days when your driveway use may be different, for example, on bin day or when you have overnight guests.
Untethered, or universal cables
Untethered, or universal cables, are not attached to a specific charging unit and can be taken with you to attach your car to other domestic or public charging stations. This may give you greater flexibility but does mean that lost or damaged cables will need to be replaced by you, which is an extra cost to consider.
Type 1 cables
Type 1 cables have 5 pins and a latch that stop them from being accidentally dislodged from the charger. This type is more common in Asia, Japan, and America.
Type 2 cables
Type 2 cables have 7 pins and a separate locking pin to stop them from coming away from the socket. This type is most popular in Europe and the UK.
Type 1 and 2 cables can be both tethered or untethered.
Which is best – home or public charging?
When comparing home and public charging points there are many factors to be aware of, including price, convenience, and ease of use.
Not all of these benefits and downsides are relevant to your situation. But being aware of them can help you make the most informed decision.
Benefits of home EV chargers and public EV chargers
|Home EV charger||Public EV charger|
|· Most convenient as you can charge while you sleep.
· Costs can be lessened by using electricity on a lower rate tariff or connecting to home solar panels.
· Much cheaper per kWh than public EV chargers.
· Your charger will always be available to you.
· Installation could be partially or completely covered by an OZEV/ charge point grant.
· Your house value will increase by at least 13%.
|· There are over 8,471 charging locations across the UK now, more than the number of petrol stations.
· 20% of these are free to use, totalling around 1,694 EV chargers.
· Frequent users can purchase subscription cards to make charging cheaper.
· You do not need to install a charger on your property, which may be better for those who rent their house.
Negatives of home EV chargers and public EV chargers.
|Home EV charger||Public EV charger|
|· There are associated costs when installing a home EV charger.
· Installation will take between 2-6 hours, and you will need to turn off your mains electricity for some of this time.
· You may need to install an earth rod to protect users and your home.
|· Free-to-use chargers are likely to become very busy as EV numbers increase.
· Costs per kWh at public chargers can be around £15- £25 more per month higher, even with subscription cards.
· Subscription cards are only accepted by certain charger types.
· You need to remain near your car during charging, which can be a minimum of 30 minutes.
For more support in understanding the difference between home and public EV chargers, read our home vs public EV charger comparison blog.
How much does it cost to charge an Electric Vehicle?
As with all electrical devices, the cost of the electricity needed to power them will differ.
Common factors that influence the cost of a charge include:
- The distance and duration you drive for.
- The battery size and capacity.
- The charging location, be it at home, in a public place, or at work.
- The type of charger you use, either slow, fast, or rapid.
- If you need a full recharge or just a top-up.
- The electricity tariff the charger is on.
While every case will be different, according to data from the RAC, to fully charge an electric car at home it costs on average between £5- £8.50 for a full charge from a flat battery. This would allow most people enough range to cover 100-300 miles.
Charging an EV for half an hour at a public rapid charger could cost anywhere from £7 to £10, with some providers such as Ecotricity charging a £3 connection fee on top.
A range of 100-300 miles in petrol or diesel is likely to set you back around £767.82- £2,303.46 for a petrol car and around £831.01- £2,493.03 in a diesel vehicle. (Fuel prices correct as of Monday 5th September 2022)
Some smart electric vehicle chargers can also schedule your charge to coincide with when utility prices are lowest in the day, so you are always paying the least possible amount.
So not only are you potentially saving hundreds of pounds, but the energy you use will be better for the environment, as over 45% of electricity generated in the UK is renewable, a figure that is only set to increase.
To read up on this subject in more detail, find our costs of EV charging blog here.
How to save money when installing an EV charger
With electricity prices fluctuating all the time, you may be wondering if you can save money when installing your EV charger at home.
Below are a few ways you can easily save money, which when combined with the money you will save on petrol or diesel, will add up to quite a reduction.
- Apply for an EV ChargePoint grant
- Choose a trusted, quality installer
- Choose the right EV charger
- Install home solar panels
For more information about how to save money when installing your EV charger, read our blog about it.
The EV ChargePoint grant
The UK government and the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles introduced an Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) in September 2014.
As of April 2022, the grant eligibility has changed and is now named the EV ChargePoint grant.
To be able to access it, people must live in a flat or be in another form of privately rented, single-use accommodation.
You must also have:
- Dedicated off-street parking to install an EV charger into.
- Own, lease, or have use of an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle eligible for the grant- check eligibility here.
- Have not used previous EV ChargePoint grants.
- Permission from the landlord or land owner to carry out the installation.
If you are eligible, you will receive a 75% contribution to the cost of one ChargePoint and its installation, up to the value of £350 (including VAT). This will be taken from the billed total, once given to you by an approved installer.
This is an excellent way for you to save some money when installing an EV charger of your own.
To explore the EV ChargePoint grant in more detail, read about it here in our blog.
Choose a trusted installer
A trusted, quality installer can reduce the risk of future problems.
It can be tempting to reduce installation costs by using a friend of a friend but installing an EV charger involves providing an access point to the main electrical system of your house and may also require the proper installation of an earth rod.
Going cheap at this stage can result in at worst, very severe accidents, and at best faulty equipment that loses its warranty as it has not been installed by a suitably qualified engineer.
For a list of qualified, experienced installers, you can contact EV charger salespeople as they often have a list of approved installation companies. Similarly, you could speak to installers from the government’s approved installer list, which is used as part of the EV ChargePoint grant.
Choose the right EV charger
Choosing an EV charger that utilises smart technology can help you monitor your energy consumption and schedule charging for when electricity is on a lower rate tariff, for example, the EO mini pro 2 charger.
Alternatively, you can choose an EV charger that charges at the speed that you need.
For example, purchasing a fast EV charger when you will generally be charging your EV overnight while you sleep will be an unnecessarily costly purchase. At this point, a standard charger would be perfectly sufficient to meet your needs and paying the increased cost of a fast charger is not necessary.
Install home solar panels
The UK government are also currently running an Eco 4 scheme, designed to improve the energy efficiency of homes, which can include the installation of solar panels.
These solar panels can help you to generate your own electricity which can be stored in energy storage units. These can then be used as a source of electricity, bringing your energy prices down further.
Which EV charger is right for me?
Choosing the right EV charger for your needs is essential for success on your electric journey.
There are many factors to consider when shopping for an EV charger of your own and these include:
- If your vehicle is hybrid or fully electric?
- Chargers with a built-in earth rod
- The appearance of your charger
- Where to install your charger?
- Smart technology
- Do you need a fast charger?
As such, it is important to consider what is most important to you when choosing your EV charger, so you do not overspend on things you don’t need.
Hybrid or full EV?
If your car is a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, it is worth testing if you could get by without charging at home.
Hybrid vehicles do not need to be charged as the electric battery is charged while driving around and kicks in to improve fuel economy.
Plug-in hybrids can power the vehicle from the electric battery but can function without being plugged in to charge, as with a hybrid, if the driver prefers.
Owners of these types of EVs may find that the purchase of an EV charger is unnecessary to run their vehicle, so may choose not to install an EV charger on their property.
For more tips on choosing the right EV charger for you, find our blog here.
Do you need an earth rod?
Fitting an earth rod used to be essential when installing an EV charger.
Designed to stop potential electric shocks caused by degraded or corroded connections further up the electricity supply chain, referred to as neutral failure, if the EV charger does not contain an in-built earthing, then a rod must be installed to allow electricity to pass into the ground and dissipate.
After a no-obligation site survey from our EV experts, you will find out if you need an earth rod installed alongside your EV charger. Alternatively, you could consider newer generations of EV chargers that feature in-built earthing.
- Pod Point solo home chargers
- ROLEC O-PEN: EV consumer units
For a more substantial look into the importance of earth rods, click here to read the blog.
Style and substance
Every home has its own sense of style and if you are installing an EV charger, you may want to consider how this may impact on the aesthetics of your home.
Other chargers such as the ABB EV charger are much larger and would be difficult to blend in. However, if your charging space was further from your home or you didn’t mind how the charger looked, these may be perfect for you!
Where to install your charger?
Up to a third of homes in the UK do not have a driveway, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get an electric vehicle charger.
There are plenty of options to consider, including:
- Request an on-site residential ChargePoint, which is funded by local authorities and the government.
- Encourage your workplace to sign up for the Workplace charging scheme
- Use public EV chargers with the help of websites such as Zap-Map or CarWow.
- Get permission from your landlord to install a charger on your privately rented off-street parking space.
With government pledges to stop the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, the infrastructure needed to support the EV revolution will continue to grow, especially as more people swap over to electric vehicles.
Growth in this area has already been stratospheric, increasing by 419.3% since 2016, to 33, 996 EV charging points so far in 2022. This, combined with a rapidly approaching and ambitious net-zero target means more EV chargers are needed.
For more information about where you can install an EV charger, read our blog.
Some EV chargers come with smart technology built in. It is worth considering if you require this technology as the more complex the charger, the more they are likely to cost.
This technology can vary and is designed to either:
- Lower costs for charging, for example, allowing for you to monitor electricity consumption and schedule charges for periods when electricity is cheaper, such as with the EO Genius EV charger.
- Connect to domestic Wi-Fi, allowing for managed access, such as with the EO Mini Pro 2 EV charger.
- Access your charging history, as with the Ohme charging station.
- Find local charge points with the Pod Point EV charger.
In a hurry? Try a fast EV charger
Although more often associated with public EV chargers in supermarkets, commercial properties, or motorway service stations, opting for a fast EV charger from the very beginning could save you time and money in the long run.
With EV chargers, the lower the wattage, the slower the charger. This will then increase the number of hours a full charge will take.
Slow chargers commonly charge at 3kW per hour, fast chargers at 7kW per hour, and rapid chargers run at 22kW per hour.
Downtown Electrical stock many fast EV models that you can choose from if the speed of charging is important for your domestic property.
|Zappi||EV Box||Ohme||EO charging station||EO mini pro 2 charger|
|Connects to an app, so there are no messy cables.
Universal or tethered socket.
|Can connect to any EV.
Minimalist black design.
Low maintenance, high-quality option.
|Choose the cheapest charging times.
Optional portable cable for charging on the move.
The Ohme app will show the nearest charging points.
|Compatible with any electric vehicle.
App charging, so no cables to cause trip hazards.
Universal or tethered socket.
|Most discreet charger.
Charges the fastest.
Control charges via your phone.
Fully monitorable, allowing you to keep an eye on consumption.
It is important to consider if you will need a fast or rapid charger however because this increase in wattage will come with a larger ticket price.
For a detailed overview of fast EV chargers, explore our blog.
What to expect when installing your EV charger
Unless you have owned an EV before, knowing what to expect from an installation could be quite difficult.
Every installation is likely to be slightly different, due to the needs of the installation site and the chosen charger, however, there are some broad similarities in what you can expect:
- The customer contacts Downtown Electrical to express interest in an EV charger installation.
- It is best at this point to prepare any paperwork necessary to access the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme discount to ensure that there are no delays.
For more information about the paperwork expected, read our Homecharge scheme blog.
- An installer will come to your house to complete a site survey of the property.
It is at this point that your installer can troubleshoot any potential barriers to installing your charger in your preferred location. You will then be given a quote.
- The customer agrees to the payment and sets an installation date.
You will also need to ensure the installation area is clear, and electricity supply access is unobstructed before your installer arrives to ensure that your installation can run as smoothly as possible.
- On the install date, your installer will come to your home and set up your EV charger in 2-6 hours, on average.
For some of this time, your mains electricity will need to be shut off so the installer can work safely.
- Your EV charger is ready to use.
For an in-depth exploration of what to expect on installation day, read out our blog today.
As the nation continues to switch over to electric cars and home charging points before the 2030 deadline, numbers will continue to increase.
If you’ve already got an electric vehicle and want to save money on charging, a home EV charger can help you do that.
For more information from the experts in home EV chargers, contact the team at Downtown Electrical today to get a personalised quote, by calling 0113 345 6798.