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Charging Your Electric Car At Home: What You Need To Know

As an EV owner, you're going to want to consider installing an electric car charger at home. 

Making your garage or driveway fit for EV charging takes away a lot of the hassle of regularly visiting a public charging point or wasting time hanging around one while your car charges.

With a fast EV charger, you can easily charge your car overnight or when you're not using it, and this guide will detail all you need to know about EV charging at home and how BOXT can make the process as quick and convenient for you as possible.

How To Charge Your Electric Car At Home

You can charge your electric car at home via either 3-pin plug charging (this is only recommended to use in an emergency) or a fast charger. It's recommended that electric car owners to invest in a fast charger for use at home (which is also available as a smart charger) as 3-pin plug charging isn’t designed to support this level and duration of charging on a regular basis. Your electric car will lose charge when parked, so it's important to keep it charged.

What is 3-pin plug charging?

All electric cars come with 3-pin plug charging capabilities. You can plug your electric vehicle directly into a standard UK 3-pin plug point and charge using your domestic electricity supply.

This is currently the slowest means of charging your electric car, and with EV battery capacity constantly increasing, it is only destined to get slower. Using this method can sometimes take 10 to 14 hours or more to charge your electric car and therefore it’s only recommended to be used in emergencies or on rare occasions when you have no other option.

What is a home EV charger?

A home EV charger is a charging point that’s typically installed in your garage or driveway at home and connected directly to your domestic electricity. It works the same as public electric car charging points and comes in 'smart' and 'fast charging' options.

A home EV charger allows you to charge your EV overnight without driving to a designated public charging point. You can only get a home charger if you have space in your garage or driveway, as they cannot be installed next to a public footpath or road. You need offstreet parking to install an EV charger at home.

What wattage wall charger should I buy?

The recommended wattage of your wall charger depends on how powerful you want your charger to be and how fast you need your EV to charge. Generally, we'd recommend a home charger with a wattage of at least 7kW.

What Is A Smart Charger?

A Smart Charger is the same as any other home EV charger charger, except it can connect to an EV charging app on your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Having a smart charger allows you to keep an eye on the charging process when you're not around and start or stop your car charging as and when required.

Do I need a Smart Charger?

From June 30th 2022, all EV chargers that are sold will be required to have smart capability, allowing the charging of an electric vehicle when there is less demand on the grid, or when more renewable electricity is available.

It can be damaging to charge your battery to 100% every time you recharge. Regularly charging your electric car battery to its capacity can cause the battery cells to overheat, impacting the component's durability.

Having a dedicated EV charging app installed can allow you to monitor the charging process of your EV and stop it once it reaches 80%.

How Can You Get An Electric Car Charging Point Installed At Home?

To install a home electric car charger, you'll need to hire a professional engineer. You cannot install an EV charger at home yourself.

When purchasing an EV charger from BOXT, the installation process follows these steps:

  • A professional BOXT engineer will fit the charger in your desired location at your property.
  • The charger will be connected to your main power supply.
  • Unlike some other companies, we test every installation to make sure you won't have any issues once the job is done.

Factors to consider when choosing a place for your charge point

  • You need to pick a location where you can conveniently fit your parked car. Think about the position of your car's charging port and the physicality of lining that up with your charging point.

  • You need to pick a position where the charger can easily connect to your home's electric circuit. If your chosen position is far away from your fuse box, some level of rewiring may need to take place to ensure that electricity can reach the installed charger.

  • If you're installing a Smart Charger, you need to pick a location that can easily connect to your Wi-Fi and can get a GPRS signal.

  • Think about how the charge point will look once installed and how this may impact your available space in your garage or driveway. It's important also to consider potential trip hazards that the cables may cause.

Do I need permission to install a car charging point?

As long as you are installing the car charging point in an off-street position, you don't need planning permission to get one installed.

You may require permission if your house is a listed building or if your charger is over 0.2 cubic metres. If the main fuse is not adequate, authorisation from the Domestic Network Operator (DNO) may be required. Make sure you check all EV charger requirements before installing one.

How Fast Can You Charge An Electric Car At Home?

How long it takes to charge your electric car will depend on the make and model of your EV. A Nissan Leaf, for example, could be charged on a 7kW charger within 6 hours.

You could upgrade your charger to a three-phase power supply for faster home charging. Three-phase charging means that your EV is charged through 3 conductors instead of the standard conductor. This would allow you to charge your car at 22kW.

How to check if you have a three-phase connection?

Most homes have a single-phase electricity supply, but you can refer to your electricity supply meter to state which level of electricity your home can supply. If you want to switch to three-phase power, you'll need to get it installed by a professional. If you've recently had the likes of an air-source heat pump installed, you may already have a three-phase connection.

Types Of EV Charging Cables

There are two types of electric car charger: an untethered or tethered charger. 

Your EV will typically come with an untethered charging cable, which you can find in your boot or bonnet, however you may find that any home charger you have installed is terthered. This just means that the cable remains connected to the charger.

Tethered

A tethered charger cable is permanently attached to your home charging unit, i.e. your wallbox unit. This tethered cable will be compatible with either a Type 1 or a Type 2 connector. This charging cable type is most beneficial to someone who does not require a charging unit with multi-vehicle compatibility.

Tethered cables are arguably more convenient, as you only need to connect one end of the cable each time you need to charge.

Untethered

An untethered cable is not permanently attached to your home charging station and therefore needs to be connected every time you use it. When charging with an untethered cable, you need to plug one end of the cable into your EV and the other into your charger.

The Benefits Of A Dedicated Electric Car Home Charger

Here’s why you should have an EV charger installed at home rather than rely on public chargers:

They’re Faster - If you have a three-phase connection, your home electric car charging station will charge your vehicle quicker than public charging stations. Even without the three-phase connection, having a dedicated EV charging station at your home will provide a much faster charge than 3-pin charging. 

They’re Cheaper - Once you've covered the installation cost, your dedicated electric home charger will be more affordable than the cost to charge an electric car at public charging points. 

They’re Much Safer - Having your own electric car charging point means keeping your car on your property when it charges rather than having to leave it at a public charging station, making this a safer option for electric vehicles. 

They’re Easy to use - Home electric car chargers allow you to charge up whenever you need it. Public chargers often require you to wait for availability and bring your own charging cable.

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Dedicated Home Charger?

Installation

The cost for the installation of a home charger varies depending on the power capabilities of the charger.

Prices get gradually more expensive the higher the kW, with the priciest being 22kW. It's important to note that the cost can be higher if significant changes need to be made to your household wiring system.

Electricity tariff

Again, the electricity tariff will depend on the charging speed and how frequently you use your dedicated home charger.

How To Save Money On Charging An Electric Car At Home

EV energy tariffs

Energy time on use tariffs can offer you a discounted energy rate for night-time usage. This means that you can charge your vehicle whenever electricity is cheapest, saving you money.

Get a Smart Charger

Easily control when your electric car is charging via an app.

Don't waste electricity

Always unplug laptop and phone chargers when they are not in use. These 'phantom charges' are still using a significant amount of electricity, which could instead be used to add extra miles to your electric vehicle daily.

FAQs

Can any electrician install an electric car charger?

A qualified electrician should be capable of installing a home electric car charger. However, at BOXT, installation comes as standard with all our fixed priced packages.

Can you own an electric car without a home charger in the UK?

Owning a home charger is not a requirement, but it is recommended. There are a number of charging points you can use as an alternative, such as public and at-work charging stations.

Do you need a special plug to charge an electric car?

You don't need a special plug to charge an electric car, as you could use a standard 3-pin plug. However, this is the slowest means of charging electric vehicles and is not recommended as your only means of charging.

How long does it take to fit a car charging point?

An electric car charging point can be installed within a matter of hours. However, this estimated time may be longer if your home electric circuit requires modifications.

Final Thoughts

Installing a home charger for your EV is highly recommended for all, as it saves you the time and money lost using a public charging station. Plus, it keeps your EV secure and means you can safely charge your vehicle overnight. A wallbox installation is quick and easy, and the charging unit can fit right into your home's electric circuit.

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