Choosing a home charge point
The government’s decision to bring forward the ban on new cars that use an internal combustion engine (ICE) by five years to 2030 means that electric vehicles (EVs) are never far from the news.
There is now a much wider choice of EVs for you as a driver to choose from for your next brand-new car. There is also a range of home charging options to look at too, whether you own or rent your home and whether you park it on public roads or not.
New-build houses are obliged to include an EV charging point and grants are available to help with the cost of installing different kinds of chargers, depending on your eligibility.
We’re here to help you explore which of these chargers is the best option for you, if you drive an EV and you’d like to charge it at home.
It’s possible to charge your new EV with a standard three-pin plug, but it’s a long process. Wall-mounted charge boxes offer a much greater degree of usability and efficiency to drivers with off-road parking at home.
Wall boxes come in a range of capacities and incentives for the user. From a simple 3.6kW charger to more powerful devices that can use solar energy, there’s a lot of choice.
Before you begin the process of installing your wall box charger, you’ll need to conduct a site survey to make sure your choice of charger is compatible with your house. Many wall box installers can offer this service as part of a package.
Types of wall box charger
These chargers are only slightly faster at charging than if you were to plug your car into the mains with a three-pin plug. They are perfectly acceptable if your daily mileage is low or your car is a hybrid model which doesn’t take long to charge.
These are the most popular kinds of wall box EV chargers on the market. As the name suggests, they are almost twice as fast as a 3.6kW charger.
The 22kW charger has been introduced to the EV charging market with the intention of being as futureproof as possible.
While it can currently strip hours off the time it would take a 7kW charger to complete its job, the 22kW charger is also in place to be ready for the EVs of tomorrow.
And because it’s the highest-specification charger out there, you need to make sure that your home’s electricity supply is ready for it. You’ll need a three-phase supply to power it, rather than a single-phase. Upgrades are possible but come with additional cost.
It is important to familiarise yourself with your car’s charging capacity and to thoroughly do your research before investing in a dedicated home EV charger as not all hybrids can handle 22kW fast charging.
Tethered versus untethered charging
When selecting your charger, you’ll have the option of tethered or untethered.
A tethered EV charger uses cables which are hard-wired into the wall box.
- Having a built-in cable can make things easier – you don’t need to get the cable from your garage or car boot. Simply drive up and plug in
- There’s no risk of forgetting your cable or losing it
- If you need any maintenance, your cable will need to be repaired
- As the cable is connected, you’ll need to tidy it away when you’re finished using it
- Tethered chargers can be more secure, as the cable cannot easily be removed and stolen.
An untethered charger is a cable that can be connected to a charger, either at your home or in a car park, and then disconnected to be used at another charging location.
- You’ll need to remember your cable to be able to charge
- There’s no cable to tidy away on your driveway, but the cable will require storing
- Untethered chargers offer more flexibility as you’ll be able to use your cable elsewhere
- Untethered cables can be upgraded or switched if you get a new EV that requires a different cable or want to purchase a longer cable.
Wall boxes are a great resource for people who have access to off-road parking, however this excludes a significant proportion of drivers in this country.
This is where the On-street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS) comes in.
It works by adding charging points to street furniture, such as lampposts. This drives down the cost of installing them because the groundwork isn’t as intrusive as it would be if the road had to be dug up.
The work is paid for by local authorities. Over 200 have taken up government funding to install an ORCS, with EV owners then given a smart lead that monitors their usage. The driver pays for their charging to the same local authority.
Similarly, trials are also underway to look at the viability of chargers that ‘pop-up’ from the road and plug into the car.