July 27, 2023
Home charging
What options do I have for charging at home?
Home charging
Table of contents

What options do I have for charging at home?

  1. Using a Standard Plug (Three-Pin Plug): You can use a standard UK three-pin plug with an Electric Vehicle Supply Cable. This method is often referred to as "trickle charging" because it delivers electricity at a slower rate. It's a convenient option because it doesn't require special equipment installation, but it's also the slowest way to charge. If your car's battery is nearly empty, it could take more than 24 hours to fully charge it using a standard plug. This might be suitable if you use your car infrequently or usually only for short trips.
  2. Using a Home Charging Station (Wall Box): A home charging station, also known as a wall box, is a device that's installed in your home (usually on an exterior wall or in your garage) and is connected to your home's electricity supply. This is a much faster way to charge your electric vehicle than using a standard plug. Depending on the power of the charging station and the specific electric vehicle, it could take as little as 3-4 hours to fully charge your car's battery from nearly empty. Most people find this the most convenient way to charge, as they can simply plug their car in overnight and it will be fully charged in the morning.
Both methods are safe and come with inbuilt safety features. However, because of the significantly faster charging times, many people find it worthwhile to have a home charging station installed if they use their electric vehicle regularly.

How long will it take to charge my car?

The time it takes to fully charge your electric vehicle (EV) at home using a home charging station, also known as a wall box, can vary depending on several factors:
  • Battery Capacity: Different EVs have different battery sizes, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). The larger the battery, the longer it will take to charge.
  • Battery Charge Level: If your battery is nearly empty, it will take longer to charge than if it's half full. Most of the time, you'll be topping up rather than charging from empty.
  • Charging Power: Home charging stations in the UK typically deliver power at 3.6 kW, 7 kW, or 22 kW. Most home chargers are either 3.6 kW or 7 kW. The higher the power, the faster your car will charge. Note that not all cars can accept 22 kW, and those that can may require a three-phase power supply, which is not available in all homes.
As a general guide:
  • A 7 kW home charging station can charge a typical electric car with a 60 kWh battery (e.g. Nissan Leaf Plus) from empty to full in about 8-9 hours.
  • A 3.6 kW home charging station would take about 16-17 hours to do the same.
Most people plug in their EV when they get home and let it charge overnight, so it's ready to go in the morning. If your daily driving distance is less than your car's range, your car will spend much less time charging each night.

How long does it take to get a charging station installed?

The installation of a home charging station, or wall box, for an electric vehicle (EV) typically takes between 2 to 4 hours, but it can sometimes take longer depending on the specific circumstances of your property.
Here's a general overview of the process:
  • Survey: Before the installation, the company might conduct a survey of your property, either virtually or in person. They will check your electrical panel to make sure it can handle the extra load and find a suitable location for the charger. This could be in your garage, on an exterior wall, or somewhere else convenient where your car will be parked.
  • Installation Day: On the day of the installation, the installer will mount the charging station in the chosen location, run a cable from it to your electrical panel, and connect it to the electrical system. They will then test it to make sure it's working properly.
  • Certification: After the installation, you should receive certification that the installation has been done correctly and meets all the necessary standards.
Waiting times: Typically, the process which includes an initial survey (which might be done virtually), scheduling the installation, and then the installation itself can be completed within a few weeks, but this is highly variable.
Remember, it's important to use a qualified and experienced installer to ensure that the work is done safely and correctly. In the UK, you might be able to get a grant from the government to help cover the cost of the installation. The installer can usually help you with the process of applying for this.

How expensive are the charging stations?

The cost of a home charging station (also known as a wall box) and the cost of installation can vary based on several factors, including the brand and model of the charging station, local labour rates, and the specifics of your home's electrical system.
  • Cost of the Charging Station: At the time of writing, a typical 7 kW home charging station in the UK would cost between £400 and £800. However, more advanced models with additional features like smart charging capabilities, which allow you to control the charging via a smartphone app, may cost more.
  • Electric Vehicle Charge Point Grant: The EV chargepoint grant provides funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle smart charge points at domestic properties across the UK. It replaced the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) on 1 April 2022. The grant is available for people who live in a rented property or own a flat with dedicated off-street parking. For full eligibility criteria you can find more information here.
  • Installation Costs: Installation costs can also vary widely. On average, you might expect to pay between £200 and £500 for a standard installation. However, if your home requires upgrades to its electrical system, or if the charger needs to be installed a long distance from your electrical panel, the installation could cost more.

Who’s providing the charge points?

Below is a list of some but not all UK charge point providers:
  • BP Chargemaster: BP Chargemaster is one of the largest providers of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK and offers a range of home charging points.
  • Pod Point: Pod Point is another well-known provider of home charging solutions in the UK. They offer smart chargers that can be managed through a mobile app.
  • EO Charging: EO Charging provides simple, smart home chargers that are small and compact.
  • Rolec EV: Rolec EV is one of the world's leading manufacturers of electric vehicle charging points and offers a variety of options for home charging.
  • Andersen EV: Andersen EV offers high-end, stylish charging points that can be customised to blend in with your home exterior.
  • Tesla: In addition to its Supercharger network, Tesla also provides home charging solutions, but these are specifically designed for Tesla vehicles.
Remember, when choosing a charging point provider, consider not just the upfront cost of the charger, but also factors like its power output, whether it has smart charging features (which can allow you to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates), the length of the warranty, and reviews from other users.

What is smart charging?

In short, smart charging gives you more control over your EV charging, can help save you money, and can be better for the environment by making more efficient use of renewable energy and reducing peak demand on the electrical grid.
  • Flexible Charging Schedules: With smart charging, you can set your EV to charge at certain times, like during off-peak hours when electricity may be cheaper. This can save you money and also helps to balance demand on the electrical grid.
  • Integration with Renewable Energy: If you have a home renewable energy system, like solar panels, smart charging can coordinate charging with times of high solar production, helping you to maximise the use of your renewable energy.
  • Load Balancing: Smart charging can also manage the power demand of your home. For instance, if you're using a lot of electricity for other things, the system might slow down charging to avoid overloading your home's electrical system.
  • Remote Management: Smart chargers usually come with a mobile app, which allows you to control and monitor your charging remotely. This can be handy for managing your charging schedule, checking on your charging status, and keeping track of your electricity usage.
  • Software Updates: Smart chargers can often receive software updates over the internet, which can provide new features or improvements over time.

How much does it cost to charge?

The cost to charge an electric vehicle (EV) at home will depend on a few factors:
  • Cost of Electricity: The cost of electricity varies based on your location and your electricity provider's rates. In the UK, at the time of writing, the average cost of electricity is 32-34 pence per kWh (kilowatt-hour). This value changes regularly and can be influenced by events going on around the world as well as government policy.
  • Battery Capacity: The battery capacity of your EV is measured in kWh. An EV with a larger battery will use more electricity to charge from empty to full.
  • Efficiency of the Vehicle: Not all of the electricity that you use to charge your EV gets stored in the battery. Some of it is lost in the charging process, especially when the battery is nearly full. On average, you might expect about 85% of the electricity you use to go into the battery, but this can vary based on the vehicle and the charger.
As an example, let's say you have an electric vehicle with a 60 kWh battery. If you charge it from completely empty to full, and the cost of electricity is 32 pence per kWh, it would cost 60 kWh * 32 p/kWh = £19.20.
This is just a rough estimate. Your actual costs can vary based on the factors I mentioned above. Also, you typically won't drain your battery completely before charging, so often your actual costs will be less.
Some EV owners also take advantage of lower off-peak electricity rates by charging their vehicles overnight, which can further reduce the cost. If your charging station has smart charging features, it can automatically schedule charging to take advantage of these lower rates.
Remember to check with your local utility company for the most accurate and current electricity rates.

Do I need to have a home charger?

While having a home charger is not absolutely necessary for owning an electric vehicle (EV), it can make the charging process significantly more convenient. Here are some considerations:

Benefits of Home Charging

  • Convenience: Charging at home is typically done overnight, just like charging your mobile phone. You wake up to a fully charged vehicle, ready for the day ahead. This eliminates the need to wait at public charging stations.
  • Cost-effective: Charging at home is usually cheaper than public charging, especially if you have a home energy tariff that offers cheaper electricity rates during off-peak hours.
  • Predictability: You don't have to rely on the availability of public charging stations or worry about them being out of service or occupied.

Alternatives to Home Charging

That said, if you can't install a home charger due to living in an apartment, rented accommodation, or not having off-street parking, there are alternatives:
  • Street Parking Charging Cable Gully: If you have a home charger but do not have off-street parking or a driveway, services like KerboCharge can install pavement cable gullies allowing you to connect your EV to your home charger.
  • Public Charging Stations: There are an increasing number of public charging stations at places like shopping centres, car parks, and on streets.
  • Workplace Charging: Some employers provide charging stations for employees. This can be a very convenient way to charge your car whilst at work.
  • Destination Charging: Hotels, restaurants, and similar businesses are increasingly offering charging for customers.
  • Lamp Post Chargers: In some urban areas, lamp posts are being fitted with charging points, providing a solution for those without access to off-street parking.
  • Community Charging Schemes: Some local councils or community groups are developing shared charging solutions for residents.
Remember, the best charging solution for you depends on your personal circumstances, including where you live, where you work, and how you use your vehicle. It's worth considering all your options before deciding what will work best for you.
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