Whether you already have an electric vehicle (EV) or you’re looking to get one for the first time, home charging is an important factor to consider.
Some people prefer to test an EV for a while before installing a charge point at home, while others go the whole hog from the off. Whichever category you fall into, most people in the UK do more than 90% of their EV charging at home, so it’s a key issue.
If you’re thinking about getting an electric car charger, home installation doesn’t have to be scary or complicated, and it certainly doesn’t need to be expensive either.
How much is a home charger for an electric car?
According to the RAC, a home charge point typically costs around £800. They can cost significantly more or less, depending on the type you go for. This may seem like a lot, but the UK government is currently offering a grant of up to 75% of a new charge point’s cost, with a maximum contribution of £350.
Therefore, you could pay less than £100 to install a home charge point, with the average being in the region of £450. When you think you could save around £1,400 a year on fuel by switching from petrol to electric if you cover 10,000 miles per annum, the cost of your new charger could be covered in just a few months.
How much power does an electric car charger use?
The power used by EVs is measured in kilowatts, which is the same unit your electricity is measured in. Electric car batteries have a capacity which typically ranges from around 17kWh, like you’ll see in the Smart ForTwo EQ, all the way up to 100kWh and beyond, as with the Tesla Model S Ludicrous Performance.
To work out how long it takes to charge an EV from zero to 100%, all you have to do is divide the battery capacity by the speed of charging. Home charge points typically offer speeds of 7kW, although it’s possible to get slower and faster ones. This gives you the amount of power a full charge consumes.
To work out the cost of a full charge, all you have to do is multiply how much you pay for electricity by the capacity of your car’s battery. Plenty of energy companies offer tariffs aimed at EV drivers which cost just 5p per kW at off-peak times, while more and more are able to deliver renewable energy to your home.
To give you an idea of how long and how much it costs to charge different electric cars, we’ve put together a handy table below:
Full charge time
Cost of full charge
Real world range
|38kWh||5 hours 26 mins||£1.90||
|40kWh||5 hours 43 mins||£2.00||
|64kWh||9 hours 9 mins||£3.20||
|80kWh||11 hours 26 mins||£4.00||
|100kWh||14 hours 17 mins||£5.00||
*cost of full charge based on an energy price of 5p per kW
Can I charge my car through a regular plug socket?
It is possible to charge an EV by using a regular 3-pin plug, and most new vehicles will come with a cable for you to do this. It’s best to keep this option as a back-up though, rather than as your main method of charging.
This is because charging your car like this is slow at 2.3kW and puts strain on a regular electric circuit, as it runs close to its 3kW maximum for a long time. For example, it’ll take more than 17 hours to fully charge a 40kW battery like the one in the popular Nissan Leaf. A 64kW Kia E-Niro, meanwhile, will take almost 28 hours to charge from empty to full.
How to get electric car charger at home
Arranging installation of a home charger is easy, and you can do it through either your energy provider or a specialist company. You can use Zap Map to find a charge point installer near you by entering your postcode and the brand of charger you’d like. If you lease an electric car with us, this is something we can help you arrange.
What’s the best home charger to get?
Home charge points are available in 3kW and 7kW forms, but 7kW chargers are most common. They come in a lot of different styles, whether you’re after a futuristic design to be a feature of your driveway, or a small, subtle covering to hide your charge point inside something like a wood-effect box.
There are plenty of different brands you can choose between, while you should look out for the type of connector your car has and the features on offer with different chargers, such as compatibility with apps and other energy-saving devices in your home. You can also choose between different cable lengths to suit your needs, while companies like ChargePoint also offer 24/7 support.
What is a smart charger?
The UK government is looking to introduce regulations which ensure all EV charge points sold or installed in the country have smart charging functionality, while only smart chargers qualify for the government contribution towards installation of a home charge point.
They allow you to charge up at times of the day when the demand for energy is low, meaning there’s less strain on the electricity grid. You can program your charger to come on overnight to take advantage of the lower energy prices you get on your tariff, while their safe, fast and easy nature makes them win-win all round.
What is Vehicle-to-Grid charging?
Vehicle-to-Grid, or V2G charging is where electric cars effectively act as power banks, returning energy to the electricity grid during peak times. Whereas smart charging helps the grid by managing the demand placed on it, V2G technology goes a step further by taking energy from car batteries to power both your home and the country’s electricity network.
The concept is almost like having a huge decentralised power station across the UK. This will rely on renewable energy where cars are charged by a supplier offering it, while your car will still be fully charged when you need it to be. V2G technology is improving all the time and will become more accessible over the coming years.
Collecting data from a range of energy suppliers on how people charge up is crucial to development. Electric Nation has recently launched a large V2G trial across the Midlands, South West and South Wales, offering Nissan EV drivers free installation of smart chargers worth £5,500 for the duration of the project. These can be kept at the end of the trial for just £250, so it could be a great idea to sign up for the trial if you meet the criteria.