Charging my Electric Car at Home
A lot of our customers ask the question - 'How do I charge my electric car at home?' It may seem obvious to some, but here we will cover the various options available to any new EV owner.
What Is Your Situation?
Everyone uses their EVs in different ways. The best way to work out the ideal solution for your home charging needs is to look at how many miles you typically drive your EV each day relative to the size of the battery in your EV.
If your electric car has a large battery and your daily drive is relatively short you may consider only charging your car once or twice per week. In this instance, you may choose a faster home charger for the convenience of only needing to remember to plug your car in every so often.
Alternatively, you may cover many miles each day and have a relatively small battery. If you are using most of your battery on a daily basis you will need to charge it every day. In this case, you may also need a faster home charger to ensure your battery is fully topped up for the next day, especially if you occasionally use the same car in the evenings.
It is possible to charge your car using a 3-pin, standard household plug connection. This is the slowest way to charge, but for some people, it is perfectly adequate. If you are only doing local journeys each day or a few times a week, this slow method of charging may be just right for you and of course will not incur the cost of installing a home charger.
Charging Using a 3-Pin Charge Cable
A 3-pin charge cable like the one in the above image will connect to any standard UK socket to charge your new EV. This one in particular is one of the new-generation cables with adjustable power settings, but a standard first-generation cable will work perfectly fine too.
A charger like this will typically add somewhere in the region of 50 - 70 miles of range to an EV when left on charge for 12 hours or more. A cable like this from our friends at EVOneStop costs in the region of £180 to £270+ depending on the length of the cable and which generation you choose. Quite often we include this charger as standard with our vehicles and if not we will happily provide one. These cables are also great to have in 'emergencies' when there is perhaps no other way to charge.
Installing a home charger
Installing a home charger is now something that many companies up and down the country can easily do. This simple installation involves fitting a box (such as the one above) somewhere on the outside of your home or inside your garage, close to where you park your electric vehicle. You can then connect a cable from the charge point to your vehicle.
The advantage of a charger like this is the much-improved charge speeds compared to using a 3-pin plug. These chargers in a 12-hour period can typically add 200+ miles of range to most EVs (subject to battery size allowing this of course!).
Home chargers can also come with a tethered cable to make life even easier. In this instance the cable is permanently connected to the wall at one end, leaving the free end ready to attach to your car without having to pull out a cable each time.
A home charger similar to those above can cost anywhere from £250 to £1000+, plus installation costs. It is recommended that a home charger is only fitted by a qualified electrician.
Is It Cheaper to Charge at Certain Times of the Day?
The short answer is - it depends on your electricity plan with your provider.
Some providers offer plans specifically for electric vehicles with one of the most popular being the Octopus Go tariff. If you enrol on this plan you can get much cheaper electricity through the night during the times of lowest demand on the national electricity network. For example, at the time of writing, Octopus is offering rates of 7.5p per kWh between 12.30 am and 4.30 am. This is several times cheaper than at other times during the day. To enrol on a plan like this you typically need a smart meter fitted to your home along with a compatible home charger. Check out the Octopus website for more information.
For most people, the convenience of an installed home charger will be the best option. This provides the quickest charge speeds and will 'future-proof' your home for an electric future. Many home chargers feature 'smart' options which allow you to set charge times and see exactly how much electricity you are using in your car. A great way to see those fuel savings stack up!
Let us know in the poll below how you charge your EV!