Questions to ask before getting a home EV charger

Posted in: Electric Vehicles

Posted on: 09.09.2021

If you’re planning to get an electric car, where and how to charge is one of the most important things to work out. Fortunately, unlike a petrol or diesel car, you can power up without even leaving the driveway (and without driving up carbon emissions).  

It’s not quite as simple as just plugging your car into the nearest socket, though. Installing a purpose-built EV charger is the best way to charge up quickly and safely. Ask yourself the following questions to help find the right type of charger. 

Do I need off-street parking? 

Charging cables tend to be 5-10 metres long. So if you want to install a charger, it needs to be located where you park your car. It’s also worth bearing in mind that off-street parking is a condition for receiving an Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) grant towards the cost of your charger. 

If you can’t install a charge point at home, it doesn’t have to be the end of your EV journey. Services such as Zap-Map and Zap-Pay make it simple to find and pay for public charging, all through one app. 

Person with grey hair plugging an electric car into a charger outside their house.

How fast will I be able to charge? 

A big benefit of installing a dedicated EV charger is being able to charge more quickly than you would by plugging into a standard plug socket. Because three-pin sockets can only draw up to 3kW of power, it could take as long as 13 hours to fully charge a car with a 40kWh battery. And with more EV models with higher capacity batteries and expanding mileage ranges hitting the market, it makes sense to have a charger installed.  

The most common options include: 

  • 7kW charger – this is the standard for home EV chargers, capable of fully charging a car with a 40kWh battery in around 5-6 hours. Ideal for making the most of the 5- or 7- hour off-peak charging period offered by the Good Energy Green Driver tariff. 
  • 22kW charger – a fast charger that requires a three-phase electricity supply. A 22kW charger may not be necessary for EVs with lower capacity batteries. But it could be something to consider if you’re getting a high performance or longer-range model such as the Tesla Model S 100D, which has an 85kWh battery. 

Is it better to get a tethered or untethered charger? 

There are two main charger designs available: tethered chargers which have a charging cable attached; and untethered which do not have a cable. Which one you opt for is largely down to personal preference, but there are some benefits and drawbacks to each style. 

  • Tethered chargers mean you won’t need to find your cable every time you want to charge, making them more convenient. However, if you upgrade your EV to a model with a different connection type (such as rapid charging), you’ll have to upgrade your charge unit as well. 
  • Untethered chargers mean you can’t just park up and plug in immediately. However, they’re slightly more flexible – if you upgrade to an EV with a different connection type you can just upgrade the plug configuration rather than replace the whole unit.

Do I need planning permission to install a charger? 

In most cases, no. You may need permission if you live in a listed building, the installation will be over 1.6m in height, or within two metres of a highway.

Is there any financial support available?

Person's hand plugging a charger into an electric car.

Yes – the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) is a grant that will cover 75% of the cost of buying and installing one charge point, up to a maximum contribution of £350 including VAT. To get the grant, you must have dedicated off-street parking and already own or lease an EV (or have one on order).  

Registered EVHS installers such as Good Energy’s recommended installer, Crystal EV Charging, will check whether you qualify for the grant and then apply on your behalf. If you’re approved for the grant, it will be paid directly to the installer, who will deduct the amount from your bill. 

Will I be able to charge my car from my solar panels? 

Some charge points are set up to enable you to divert unused electricity from your solar panels to your EV instead of exporting it to the grid. Chargers that allow solar charging are flexible enough to allow you to charge at a lower power rate when your solar panels are generating, and a higher power rate at other times, such as overnight. 

Solar panels on a rooftop.

 Can I install a charger myself? 

Unless you’re an electrician, the short answer is no. And even if you are an electrician, it will probably be less hassle to leave it to a dedicated installer. 

Because charging an EV will add a higher electricity demand to your home’s supply, EV charge points are installed on their own circuit with specific safety measures. The installer may also need to apply for permission from the local electricity network operator.  

Experienced EV charger installers such as Good Energy’s recommended installer, Crystal EV Charging, can take care of the whole process for you. 

We hope this has given you some helpful pointers about getting a home EV charger installed. If you have any other questions about EVs and how Good Energy supports EV drivers, check out the blogs linked below.  

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