Charging at home
Most electric car drivers charge at home, and it’s easy to see why. No more queuing (or paying!) at the petrol station; simply plug in when you’re at home or overnight, to be fully charged in the morning.
A dedicated homecharge unit
If you have off-street parking, installing a dedicated homecharge unit is the fastest and most convenient way to charge your electric car. These compact units make it as easy as possible to charge: simply connect your car, switch on… and that’s it. They will also switch off once the car is fully charged. Some will even tell you how much electricity you’ve used.
You can usually choose between having either a standard Type Two socket fitted to your homecharge unit (which means using your car’s charging cable to connect) or a built-in tethered cable, which you then plug directly into your car. It’s worth remembering that these cables therefore have to be fitted with the right connector for your particular car; if you change your car in the future, you may find that this connector no longer fits.
Homecharge units are wired directly into your fuse board and so are completely safe, and do not place any additional load on other wiring or circuits. They include overload protection circuitry and are fully weatherproof, so can be located outside or wherever is most convenient.
Some manufacturers may provide a homecharge unit free or at a discounted price with their cars. The Government also offers a grant of up to £500 towards the cost of installation, for eligible customers using an accredited supplier. The supplier will look after all the paperwork for the grant, so all you have to do is pay the remaining balance. You can find more information here.
How long does it take to charge at home?
This depends upon two things: the charging capacity of your car and its battery; and the power output of your homecharge unit itself, which is usually either 3.6kW or 7 kW. As a rough guide, a 3.6kW unit charges 60% faster than a standard 13 amp socket, whilst a 7kW homecharge unit is around 3 times faster.
How much does it cost?
Worried about the cost of charging at home? Don’t be. Compared to petrol or diesel, electricity is cheap. Not only is charging at home a lot more convenient than filling up with petrol, it’s also a lot less expensive.
No off-street parking? No problem
We know that not everyone has access to dedicated off-street parking, which can make charging your electric car at home more difficult. However, the growing number of public charging points means that more and more residential streets are becoming part of the public charging network, making it possible for those without a drive or garage to charge their EV at home.
The Government also offers a grant to local authorities to encourage the installation of residential on-street charging points, which covers up to 75% of the cost. Simply check with your local authority whether they are participating in this scheme, or check here for the latest guidance.
How much do home chargers cost?
The Government-funded Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) provides grants for home charge points. The grant is set as a 75% contribution to the cost of one charge point and its installation, currently, £795 and is capped at £500 (incl. VAT) per eligible vehicle. The grant brings the cost of a standard 3 kW unit plus installation to around £295 whilst a faster 7 kW unit would be similar.
To be eligible to apply for the scheme, EV owners must provide evidence of keeper-ship, lease, be named as the primary user of an eligible electric vehicle (bought new or second hand), and have off-street parking facilities suitable for charge point installation.
The charge point must also be installed by an OLEV authorised installer. Choosing a supplier that is not on the list will most likely mean incurring the full cost of the unit and installation. Finally, the date of the installation must not be more than four months ahead of the date of delivery of the vehicle.
For more details on the Homecharge and related schemes, visit the OLEV website.