Choosing the best EV charger for your electric car
Before getting into a detailed review, it is essential to explain some terms. EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment), is indeed the right term for what you perceive as an electric vehicle charger or just EV charging station.
However, we have decided to use the term EV charger in this blog for ease of understanding. You will find out that the companies who sell EVSE refer to them as just EV chargers on their websites. Below are the tips to consider to ensure you are buying the ideal electric vehicle charger that suits your demands.
Charging power required by the charger
Some electric vehicles have a higher charging speed than others. Based on your EV’s inbuilt onboard charger, the required power can range between 3.7kW and 22kW. It is worth noting that you can charge a 3.7kW electric vehicle from any charging system for quick charging powers. However, you have to set a maximum charging of 3.7kW. In such a case, your worry needs to be on the maximum charging power.
Tethered or untethered
Your vehicle’s charging cable is either tethered to the charger through a fixed connection or untethered through a type 1 or type 2 socket. The vast majority of new EVs are now using type 2 chargers. Perhaps the reason why car owners opt for this type of charger connection is its longevity and fast speed charging.
An untethered charger is quite flexible as it lets you connect to a type 1 or type 2. A tethered charger, on the other hand, is the ideal option for you if you are planning to only charge one electric car type without the requirement to charge a different type of EV. An untethered charger allows the flexibility to unplug the cable and take it with you or switch between charge cable types with ease.
The EV charger manufacturer
When it comes to picking the best charger type for your electric car, you must opt for the one designed by a top-rated manufacturer. Check for online reviews about the manufacturer from the current and previous customers. What are they saying about the manufacturer? Well, if you find the reviews amazing, go ahead and buy it.
Additionally, the manufacturer must make sure that future replacements, services and updates are readily available to customers. Our top picks would be EV chargers from the likes of EVBox, myenergi and ProjectEV.
Charge cable length
As with any other electrical appliance, EV charger cable length is vital in determining its effectiveness. The longer the cable length, the more fitting it is to you. Presently, 25 feet is the longest cable length you will find in most electric car chargers. There are some vendors out there who sell cables at varying versions and lengths, thus giving you extra functional flexibility.
Your EV charger needs to have a cable hanger or dock. While they are sometimes offered as a standard in with some EV chargers, you may have to buy them as separate accessories when you opt for chargers from some manufacturers.
You can neatly hang the charging cable on the cable hanger while it is not in use. This way, you will not accidentally drive over it while it is lying on the floor.
The charger’s power requirements
EV chargers come in a range of power levels, the most common being around 3.4kW, 7kW and 22kW. You must decide which charge speed best suits your needs. However be aware that higher power chargers such as the 22kW chargers will require a 3-phase connection and thus be much more expensive than their slower counterparts. EV charger manufacturer EVBox currently offer the Elvi which is a modular designed charger with the ability to be upgraded from a 7.4kW unit to a 22kW unit without having to replace the entire unit.
The integrated technological features
Keep in mind that when searching for the best electric vehicle charger, you will certainly come across ordinary and smart chargers. An ordinary charger only charges your vehicle, and that’s it! For some individuals, that’s the only thing they need from these chargers.
A smart charger, on the other hand, is a preference for the tech-savvy car owners. Well, a smart charger effortlessly connects to PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) and Wi-Fi. In the process, it makes it pretty easy for you to monitor the charging process and view statistics from the previous charging systems or even take part in utility demand response applications.
This way, you will precisely see the car’s energy, making it easy to evaluate the amount needed to power the vehicle. What’s more, some smart chargers are innovative such that they allow you to undertake other tasks, such as connecting to Amazon Alexa. With this feature, you can use your voice to control the charging.
Another advantage of smart chargers is that they qualify for Government grant funding through the OZEV grant scheme. Offering up to £350 off the installation of a smart EV charger on any residential or business address.
Ability to delay charging
Based on your utility company, you can take advantage of the cheap off-peak electricity tariffs. In such situations, having a charger that delays charging can save you a lot of money. The good thing is that some EVs let you regulate the charging time through an application or from the car.
If you don’t have a garage, it would be wise for you to opt for a charger that comes with weatherproof features. With these types of chargers, they will last for a prolonged period, in addition to enduring harsh climatic conditions.
The final take
Lastly, make sure the EV charger incorporates a standard inbuilt GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) protection. This feature’s primary goal is to protect you and your family against accidental electric shocks that may happen if the charger lacks grounding protections. Can you imagine you or even your child undergoing a strong shock as you enter your car? Well, to prevent this, ensure the charger is secure.
Now, you have an easy time choosing the best electric charger for your electric vehicle as long as you consider the tips, as mentioned above. While the list of the things to consider is endless, make sure your budget, security and demands come first.