Buying and owning an electric car comes with a host of benefits, but the most under-appreciated element is being able to get a full tank of juice from the comfort of your own home. Gone are the days of detouring to a petrol station for an expensive refuel. Park it up, plug it in and let it charge. Blissful.
Using an electric car charging point at your home will drastically reduce the time it takes to charge your electric car when compared to using a 3-pin charging plug. The domestic wall socket will limit the charging rate to just 2.3kW, whereas a wall box can charge at three times that rate, at 7kW.
For example, a Tesla Model 3 will take 33 hours to fully charge using a 3 pin plug or just 11 hours using a wall box. The latter is therefore ideal for overnight charging.
One perceived hidden expense when buying a home charger is the cost and installation of a home charger. Are they expensive? How are they installed? And are there any subsidies available? Read on to find out just how affordable and simple getting a ‘wall box’ fitted to your home really is.
The truth is, there really isn’t much to worry about. Read on to find out more...
Is it expensive to install a charging point at home?
A domestic wall charger or ‘wall box’ will start from roughly £450, increasing in price depending on which features you would like and the maximum achievable charging rate. Leading charging point producer, ‘Pod Point’, offer 3.6kW, 7kW and 22kW wall boxes. These all vary in price from around £500, £900 and $1,500 respectively.
Buyers can also expect to pay more for charging stations that have ‘smart’ features. Smart features connect via the home wifi network to your mobile phone via the dedicated charging app. This allows functionality such as scheduled charging, so you can time your car charging to match off-peak electricity rates, helping you save even more money.
You’ll also need to decide whether you want a tethered or untethered charge point. A tethered charge point has the cable fixed to the body of the wall box, so you simply pull up and plug your car in.
An untethered charge point doesn’t have a cable fixed to the body, so you’ll need to provide your own. These cables typically cost around £100, however, every electric car will come with a cable and it is typically stored in the boot. People with tethered wall chargers will leave their cable in the boot and only use it when they use an untethered charging point out in public.
The final expense, if you’re thinking about getting a wall box to charge an electric vehicle at home, is the cost of electricity. A wall box uses electricity at the same rate as a 3 pin plug, so that’s roughly 14 pence per kWh on average across the UK. Find the size of your car battery and multiply it by 14 pence to find out just how much a full charge will cost.
How to install a car charging point at home?
If you’re concerned about your sub-par DIY skills hindering the installation of an electric car charging point at your home, then worry no more. When you buy an electric car charging point from a leading provider in the UK, the installation is provided and typically included in the cost.
To get an electric vehicle installed you must, first of all, have off-street parking available, whether that is a driveway or a garage. Sadly it isn’t yet possible to have a home charger attached to the perimeter of a premise if the vehicle is being parked on the roadside.
You must also either be the owner of the property or have the permission of the landlord prior to installation. Lastly, you must have a suitable exterior wall and wifi connection.
That’s pretty much it.
Is there a Government grant for car chargers?
Yes, there is! Right now you can apply for a grant from the Office of Zero-Emission Vehicles, or OZEV for short. The OZEV have introduced the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) which is a grant that offers an additional incentive to owning an electric car.
The government will give you up to £350 towards the cost of purchasing and installing a home charge point at your address. You can claim one grant per charger and two grants per household on eligible vehicles. Also, the charge point itself must be OZEV approved and it must also be installed by an OZEV approved installer.
So are you eligible? Here are the qualifying criteria:
- You must have bought a qualifying electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle since the 1st of October 2016.
- The home charger must be installed next to off-street parking such as a driveway, or inside a garage.
- You must also be able to evidence that you own (or are the owner of the lease) the vehicle that you are claiming the grant against or evidence that you have it on order.
- The OZEV application must be completed at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the installation.
- And lastly, the installation must not be 4 months prior to you getting access to the electric vehicle.
How do I apply for the OZEV car charger grant?
Don’t worry about negotiating a mountain of paperwork to apply for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme grant, the retailer will do that for you. All you have to do when buying your home charger is answer a few compliance questions and then they will deal with the paperwork and claim the money back themselves.
It is also worth noting that people in Scotland are also able to claim an additional £250 grant through the Scottish Government under the Energy Saving Trust Scotland, and the supplier of the home charger will assist Scottish customers with this too.