Electric Vehicles (EV) are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and having your own electric car charger installed at home adds an extra layer of convenience.
In this guide, we’ve broken down what you need to know before installing your own electric car charger, and what alternatives are available for those who can’t.
Legal requirements to install an electric car charger
Before you set your heart on a new EV complete with at-home charging, you need to make sure your home can legally meet the requirements to have a charger installed.
In order to install an electric car charging point you’ll need:
This can be in a garage, driveway or carport.
Permission from the property owner
If you own your home, great! If not you’ll need written permission from your landlord.
Your own Wi-Fi connection
All new EV chargers must be smart chargers, so you’ll need to be able to connect to a private Wi-Fi network.
You don’t need planning permission to install an EV charger.
How much does installing an electric car charger cost?
According to the RAC, the average cost to install an EV charging point is around £800.
If you own a flat or rent your home, or if you’re a landlord, you may be able to apply for a grant of up to £350 or 75% of the cost of a charging point, whichever is lower. You’ll need to meet the eligibility criteria though, which include the brand of charger you’ll be installing and the model of your electric car.
How to choose the right kind of EV charging point
When choosing your EV charger make sure to consider the power of the charging point and whether you want a tethered or untethered charger.
The power rate for EV chargers ranges from 3kW to over 100kW, but for a home charger in the UK you should look at power rates between 3.6kW and 7.4 kW.
A lower power charger will be cheaper but charge your vehicle more slowly than a higher power option.
While higher power chargers are available, most cars will not accept charge via AC at this power level, which is the current used for home electricity supply. Vehicles that accept a higher charging rate of up to 22kW can access it from a DC public charging point.
100kW chargers are used for rapid or ultra-fast public charging. These aren’t compatible with all vehicles, and shouldn’t be used as a primary charging method to protect the vehicle’s battery life.
A tethered charger features a permanent cable connected to the national grid. This provides a permanent access point for your car to charge – provided you keep driving a compatible model.
Tethered chargers are simpler to use as the cable is ready and waiting for you, you don’t have to grab it out the boot and set it up.
Tethered chargers are usually around 20% more expensive than untethered equivalent because you’re also paying for the cost of the cable. As most EVs come with a compatible charging cable, this could be an extra expense that’s not needed.
You’ll also have to hang or wrap the charging cable on the wall of your garage or home, rather than stashing it on your car.
An untethered charger is a socket installed in your wall that you can connect your own charging cable too. You can usually use the same cable that you would use at a public charging point.
An untethered charger may charge more slowly than a tethered option depending on the quality of the cable you’re choosing. One big advantage, however, is that you can upgrade the charging cable at any time without installing a whole new electric car charger.
Another advantage is that, without a permanent cable, an untethered charger is smaller and less obtrusive in your home or garage.
Alternatives to installing your own electric car charger
If you aren’t able to install your own electric car charger it doesn’t mean you can’t drive an electric vehicle. The UK has more than 42,000 thousand public EV chargers, with more than 3,500 of them being free to use.
According to Zapmap the best regions to find free car charging are Scotland, the South East and Greater London. You’re most likely to find free charging at a car park, a car dealership or outside a hotel or other accommodation.
Electricity bills when you charge your EV
Switching to an electric vehicle is a great way to save on the cost of fuel, as well as reducing your environmental impact.
The average UK driver spends £1,153 on fuel every year, while electric car owners spend an average of £309.65 every year charging their vehicle – less than one-third as much.
However, particularly if you install a home charger, you are vulnerable to changes in the cost of electricity. Between October 2021 and October 2022, energy bills for customers on variable tariffs nearly doubled. Electric car owners who charged their vehicles at home saw both their home and car expenses skyrocket.
With further disruption of the energy market expected, a fixed rate tariff is a good option for electric car owners looking to protect themselves from a sudden cost increase.
Economy 7 tariffs – which charge a lower rate for electricity off-peak (usually late-night to early morning) – can help electric car owners save more on their vehicle costs. However, these tariffs are currently very rarely – if ever – available as energy providers recover from the UK energy crisis. You also need to have an economy 7 meter installed in your home before you can take advantage of the dual-rate tariff.
Overall, the process of having an electric car charger installed is very straightforward, provided you opt for an established brand and professional fitter. Once in place, driving your electric car can save you hundreds of pounds a year in fuel costs.
However, to get protection from sudden jumps in the cost of electricity you should consider switching to a fixed-rate energy tariff. For advice on energy switching, and how to save on all your home utilities, book a free call with Please Connect Me today.
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- What happens when you switch energy suppliers?
- Dawn of the AI estate agent
- The best Help to Buy alternatives in 2023