Electric car charging solutions for your home and the costs

There are now more than 223,000 ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV) on UK roads today. With 84% of UK drivers having access to driveways or off street parking outside their home, there has never been a better time to invest in a plug in car and take advantage of grants available.

However, there are still only 25,522 public vehicle charging connection points (as of August 2019). These connectors are only available at 9,486 locations.

‘Range anxiety’ is a real issue for many ULEV owners and those looking to switch to a plug in car. Due to the limited number of charging locations across the country, it fills drivers with fears about what could happen if they run out of charge in their car, especially for long journeys.

We are looking into what solutions are available to you for charging your car both off street and on street, what types of chargers you should be looking for, and tackling the all important question of cost.

Where can I charge my car?

If you have a driveway, then the best place to install a charging point would be there. For those who don’t have a driveway, then it can be trickier to charge your car. Many will rely on on-street charging points for their vehicles, but if your area doesn’t have any available, it is best to enquire with your local council or take a look at ZapMap to find your local charging point.

What types of EV charging points are available?

80% of electric car charging takes place at home; this is because it is the easiest and most stress-free option. Charging at home is cost effective too as it means you have control over what time you charge it, and therefore can charge it at the cheapest time of day.

Although you can utilise any UK three pin socket in your home to charge your car, it is strongly recommended to use a wall mounted charging point. By having a dedicated charger, it is not only safer but it is also quicker to charge your car, and can help reduce the charge time by 30-60% depending on the type of vehicle.

Tethered or untethered

Typically, most wall mounted units offer both a tethered and non-tethered option. Tethered means that the cable is always wired into the charge point and you simply extend the cable out to plug into your car to charge.

Non-tethered means that you can unplug the cable from your charging point when you aren’t using it and take it with you, wherever you go, to charge your car at public charging points. This saves you from having to buy an additional cable to charge in public locations, but does carry some risks, such as theft.

Types of charging point connectors

There are many brands that now sell charging points, including BP Chargemaster, POD Point, EO, Rolec and Myenergi. However, you need to consider the type of connector you require for your car and how fast they will charge your car, which ultimately leads to how much it will cost you per charge.

Most charging points will offer either a Type-1 or Type-2 connector; Type 1 is 3-7kW AV and Type-2 is 3-43kW AC. Type-1 connectors usually are used for slow charging points, or those up a 7kW capacity. Type-2 connectors are more versatile and offer a greater power level, so can accommodate slow, fast and rapid chargers up to 43kW.

If you opt for a slow charger, 3-7kW, it can take 4-8 hours to get full charge. If you opt for a fast charger, 7-22kW, it can take 2-4 hours to get full charge. For home charging, the most common charging points are either slow or fast and these are compatible with most electric vehicles.

Rapid chargers, 43-50kW, can be commonly found at either supermarkets or on motorway service stations, and it can take 30 minutes to get a 80% charge on your car battery. Rapid chargers are not commonly installed in households.

If you are buying your car brand new, it is best to speak to your car manufacturer first as they may have a recommended charging point for your chosen car, and also may be able to assist or at least advise on an installer.

Remember that whatever charging point you install in your home, you should always consider charging your car overnight as you will then get a cheaper night time tariff. It also means that you will wake up to a fully charged car and won’t have to worry if you’ve got enough charge to get you to your location.

What are the costs involved with EV chargers?

Installation and product cost

Costs for a dedicated EV charger and the installation can start from £700 and can go up to £1,500, depending on the power of the charger and the type of point. This cost also does not reflect the OLEV grant scheme which is available to those installing their dedicated charging point on their driveway.

The Government’s OLEV Scheme offers homeowners a grant of up to £500 towards their charging point, in effort to make it more affordable. To utilise the OLEV grant, you must have a “smart” charging point installed and have the installation carried out by an OLEV approved installer. The grant is then deducted from the cost you pay to the installer. Check the OLEV scheme now to see if your home and chosen charging point are eligible for the grant.

If you are buying a brand new electric vehicle, some manufacturers offer a free charging point included in the cost of the car.

If you don’t have access to a driveway, then there are more than 20,000 public charging points across the UK to charge your car at. Prices for charging away from your home do vary, but a rapid charging point at petrol stations reportedly costs £6.50 for a 30 minute charge.

The government have just invested a further £2.5 million into on-street residential EV charge points, as they look to improve access to EV charging for those who are without off-street parking.

With this funding, local authorities can now install more on-street EV charging points, giving more people the opportunity to purchase an EV and help the UK push forward to meet its target of zero emissions by 2050.

Cost of charging your electric vehicle

When you charge your car at home, it is just like plugging in your phone, any electricity you use will be added to your energy bill. Prices of charging vary depending on the type of car you own and the power rating. To find out how much it will cost you to charge your car and how many hours to a full charge, take a look at ZapMap’s home charging calculator.

If you are charging your car on-street or in public spaces, then it is likely you will be required to have a subscription via an app, which will debit the card on file. Some public places, like supermarkets, will also allow you to charge your car for free while you are shopping with them. If you aren’t sure where your closest public EV charging point is, take a look at ZapMap, online or via the app.

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