A Brief Guide to
Electric Vehicle Charging Points
1. What are Electric Vehicle Charging Points?
Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points are dedicated terminals where you can plug in your EV to charge it up. The charging time for EVs is reducing all the time with continuous advancements in technology – the latest public ‘rapid’ chargers can now fully charge your vehicle in under an hour.
With the number of EVs on the roads in the UK increasing each year, the charging infrastructure is being built out accordingly. There are now more than 30,000 charging points in over 11,000 locations across the UK. Some public charging points can be expensive to use, so it makes sense to have a charging point installed at your home to control your driving costs.
If you decide to have a solar PV system installed, the seller may also give you the option of having a charging point installed as well. A popular model is the Zappi charger, which allows you to divert excess solar energy from the PV panels to charge the battery of your car. If your car is regularly at home during the day time then this allows you to make even better use of the energy produced from your solar panels.
There are two standard connectors that different models of EV use for home charging: Type 1 and Type 2. The market is moving to moving Type 2 as standard but charge points are available in either format. There are also Type 1 to Type 2 adaptor cables, in case your car is Type 1 and your charging point is Type 2.
The power ratings of home EV chargers range from 3.6kW to 7.4kW. Most modern EVs can receive power at 7.2 to 7.4 kW, though some older models are restricted to less than 7 kW. To be future proof, ask your installer to put in a charging point rated at 7 kW or more.
It is possible to charge your EV using a normal domestic 13-amp socket. However, this method takes the longest time to fully charge your vehicle (up to 12 hours) and may not be the safest if the electrics in your home haven’t been inspected or upgraded recently.
The use of a dedicated charging point is a much safer option and will reduce the charging time to around 2-4 hours for plug-in hybrids (e.g. Mitsubishi Outlander, Prius PHEV, Golf GTE).
All-electric cars, known as BEVs, have much larger batteries than plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). For example, the latest Tesla Model S – with an official range of over 400 miles – would take about 13 hours to fully charge at a charge rate of 7.4 kW. Another way of looking at it: every hour of charging at 7.4 kW will add 25-30 miles of range, depending on how efficient your car’s battery technology is.
The number of electric vehicles on the roads will greatly increase over the next decade, with the sale of new petrol and diesel cars being banned from 2030. The ability to charge your car at home in a safe and secure manner will help accommodate the rise in electric vehicles and ensure people have mobility when they need it. Home charging also saves you a lot of money, especially if you charge at a cheap, off-peak rate.
3. Property Suitability
There are some considerations to bear in mind before installing an EV charging point at your home. For most cases, where you have off-street parking, the charging points are classed as permitted development and will therefore not require planning permission.
If only on-street parking is available at your home, then you will need to seek permission before installing a charging point.
Your EV charger installer should carefully inspect your electrical wiring to ensure that you don’t blow your main fuse. In very rare occasions, you may need to install a less powerful 3.6 kW charger rather than a 7.4 kW one.
The installation of the charging point will normally only take about half a day. Sometimes the installation company will ask you to take photos, and/or use an app on your phone, in order to work out in advance where the cables will be run and how much the installation will cost.
4. Typical Cost
The typical cost to have an EV charging point installed at home is in the range of £350 to £1,000. This cost can increase though if there is additional groundwork required, or if the cable run is greater than 15m.
There is government funding available to help with this cost, provided you use an Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) accredited installer (previously known as ‘OLEV’). The charging point itself also needs to be on the OZEV approved list.
It is also possible for you to charge other people to use your EV charge point, allowing you to recover some of the costs involved. The rate you set is up to you.