Electric cars or vehicles (EVs) have been increasing in popularity and we are seeing more and more of them on the road due to people’s concerns regarding pollution, the environment and global warming as well as supplies of diesel and petrol coming to an end. They are also quieter to run than traditionally fuelled cars and require less maintenance. With government plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars as well as hybrids in the next 20 years; the country will see a huge surge in the purchase of electric cars, so it makes sense (whether you are planning on making a future or imminent purchase) to think about the things you need to consider regarding how will charge your electrical car.
Here, we offer some advice on what to consider when looking at electric car charging point installation.
How do you charge your electric car?
Most of us have seen the commercial charging points situated in public car parks and other places, but for convenience and cost-effectiveness, you will want to consider charging your electric car at home. In order to do this, you will need an electric car charging point installation where you park and/or use an EVSE (electrical vehicle supply equipment) supply cable to fit a standard plug socket. The latter, however, should really only be used as an occasional back up. The majority of drivers will, therefore, choose to have a dedicated home charging point installation because it delivers a faster charge and has additional built-in safety features. An EVSE supply cable would only really be indicated as adequate for an electric vehicle if it was hardly driven.
Electric car charging point installation
It goes without saying that it is recommended to have the installation carried out be a qualified electrician because this will ensure the ultimate safety of your charging point and here are 7 things in general to consider for an electric car charging point installation.
Consider/determine your charging needs
An ESVE supply cable for a standard household plug is known as a level one charging station, but as explained above, this is only suitable for occasional back up use or if the car will hardly be used. An ESVE supply cable, although great in an emergency, is much slower than a dedicated home charge point installation and could involve running charging cables from the inside of your home (extension cables should not be used for safety reasons).
If you will be using your vehicle for normal or daily use then a level two installation is recommended. This is known as a home charging ESVE or electric car home charging point installation.
Consider/determine your charging rate
With an ever-increasing selection of electric cars available, the length of time taken in order to charge an EV can vary. It is not the charging station that charges your car per se, but the conversion of your household electricity supply into the charge held in the battery cells of your vehicle. The length of time therefore depends on how many kW the charging station can deliver and how many the individual EV can accept. Obviously – the higher the wattage the faster the charge will be.
There are currently two home rates available, which are 3 kW and 7-22 kW. The slowest is the cheapest to use and ideal when your EV is parked for a longer stretch, such as overnight or during working hours. The faster charge is suited for vehicles that need charging in just a few hours.
Consider etiquette and style
Registered electricians and local councils will not approve the installation of home charging stations where the public could trip over cables etc, and if your property has shared access with your neighbor, then it is only polite to check with them first regarding the location of your installation.
EV charges come in all shapes and sizes so you will need to consider the dimensions and style of the charging point to ensure it fits in with the general surroundings. If the charging point will be located on your drive – will it be small enough so you can still easily get to and past your car?
Consider the cost and also make use of the government grant
The government is currently offering a grant capped at £500 and a maximum of 75% of the cost of qualifying car charging stations but the plug could literally be pulled at any time or the grant reduced so it makes sense to make the most of it as quickly as possible.
Consider quality and additional features
Linked to the point above, all chargers that are installed under the government OLEV scheme need to be smart chargers, which have a basic level of functionality such as charge scheduling to encourage EV owners to make the most of off peak electricity prices. However, many chargers also have additional features with more sophisticated functions and higher quality components available in more expensive chargers. You usually get what you pay for, so consider the longevity of your choice and also the warranty that comes with it.
Consider getting a smart meter
When you decide to have an electric car charging point installation at your home, then it can be well worth getting a smart energy meter due to you using a lot more electricity. Finding the cheapest tariff available will become more important and a smart meter will help you to do this because you will be able to supply accurate real-time usage readings to prospective suppliers.
Have your home charging point installed by a qualified electrician
Finally, consider who is installing your charge point carefully. A highly trained, experienced electrician understands electric vehicles AND home charging and will be able to answer any questions you have before and during installation, making it the safest and most cost effective, professional option. They will also be able to foresee any potential problems and advise you/tailor-make your installation accordingly your vehicle is quickly up and running, and can be charged from the comfort of your own home.