Imagine a world where you could plug in your car to the charger like a mobile phone and actually wake up to a full charge in the morning, all ready for the day’s drive. Sounds surreal, doesn’t it? Well, in the not so distant past, this would have been a dream that only the top 1% could afford to have. But now, thanks to constant innovation, home charging is well underway to becoming a reality. In fact, with the UK recently committing to banning all sales of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030, new build homes will soon come equipped to charge an electric car, as standard.
The current situation
Currently, EV charging takes the format of a typical fuel station. To get your car juiced up, you have to go to charging ports set up at specific locations and charge from there. This is because most homes today lack the preinstalled infrastructure to deal with charging an electric vehicle at home.
However, with over 500,000 hybrid and electric cars on the roads at the moment, it is clear that more people are gravitating to the cleaner, greener transport alternative. With this in mind, the department of transport made a proposition to make all newly built homes EV ready. This means all new homes will have charging infrastructure installed, and each parking space would have at least one charging device. Of course, the few housing structures without parking spaces, more so in central London, would be exempted from this.
The proposal also specified that the charge points should have a power rating output of at least 7kW and be fitted with a universal (Type 2) socket that can accommodate all types of electric vehicles in the market. They should also meet the appropriate accessibility and safety requirements.
This legislation was the first of its kind worldwide and may very well have been the biggest relief from factors preventing the adoption of electric vehicles EVs.
You see, in a typical scenario, the cost of installing 3-phase power as a retrofit can be several times as much as getting the infrastructure preinstalled during construction. You’ll have to break walls and repair them, use longer conduits and upgrade service panels besides other soft costs like getting permits and inspection and paying constructors. Having these circuits installed during construction is, therefore, the only sustainable and economically-friendly solution. Prior to this change many properties were built with single-phase.
What do these changes mean for EV?
With these new codes, EV charging ports will soon be as standard as having washer and dryer ports in your garage. It will cause a chain effect that will, in turn, end charge anxiety as we know it. We’ll see more potential buyers purchasing electric cars and, if the trend continues, every home would likely come to own at least one electric vehicle.
On execution of the act, the Department of Transport estimates each house should be installed with infrastructure that can charge at least one electric car in the garage overnight. However, this is exclusive of a charging station. The homeowner will have to install that separately, which, unfortunately, is not as cheap.
On the bright side, the provisions would be so that the installation process would be easier on homeowners, thus saving them some fair amount of money.
Naturally, as more EV car owners charge from home, they should expect to see a rise in electricity bills, but it is well worth it with the convenience and savings you get, being much cheaper than petrol or diesel. Statics also show that home charging could save vehicle owners about £1,000 a year compared to those using public charging points.
So what about older homes?
All these foreseeable installations sound good and all, but where does this leave the people not building brand-new houses? Well, unfortunately, if you are dealing with anything outside of a new build, you’ll have to install all these EV gear yourself.
However, the government is running a scheme called the Electric Vehicle Home charge Scheme (OLEV) to assist the owners of older homes install charging stations. With the OLEV grant, you get to save up to £350 on the cost of installing a new EV station at home.
So, if you are an EV enthusiast and are determined to spend a few quid for that eco-friendly machine, there is a way you can jump ahead of the game by preparing your home for EV charging at a discounted price. We shall look at some of the steps below.
How to prepare your home for EV charging
There are two typical charging outlets, via single-phase which is the most common type of outlet capable of supporting up to a 7kW EV charger. The other being the lesser common higher powered 3-phase outlet which allows the user to install up to 22kW chargers.
Single-phase outlets are usually present in most homes, so you don’t need to do any further installations. Charging simply falls to plugging in your single-phase charger and flipping on the switch. However, single-phase chargers can range from as little as 3kW to 7.4kW. On the lower end (3kW) a car such as the Tesla Model S would take 33 hours to reach full charge from empty. Therefore it is strongly advice to install a charger capable of 7kW or more.
3-Phase outlets allow for 22kW chargers to be installed. It is significantly more efficient and for the same Tesla Model S to charge from empty to full, it would only need 6 hours. It is important to keep in mind that the installation process of 3-phase can be expensive and time-consuming. But if you intend to commit, here are a few steps you’ll likely follow.
The low-cost charging alternative you might already have!
If your home already happens to have a 3-Phase outlet, then there is a chance you can save yourself from all the extra expenses. Ideally, you won’t even need to make any extra car charger preparations. Therefore, before you start breaking walls, start by looking for a 22kW compatible EV charger.
Locate your power panel and audit your power
The fuse box or breaker box is the heart of the whole operation. It is the system that sends electricity through your whole house. Usually, the box would display a rating for the maximum current flow, measured in amperes (amps). Most modern systems will have a rating of about 100Amps, which you’ll find this printed on the circuit breaker.
It is important to know how much power your home consumers before trying to install a 3-phase charging system. This is to prevent any overload on the electric distribution panel. Therefore, once you’ve seen your power rating, do an audit of the power consumed. You can find various guides online on how to go about this.
Once done, compare the consumption to your power rating and see if it can handle a circuit drawing more power. For instance, if your panel reads 100 Amps and your audit reveals your current consumption is less than 50Amps, you get headroom of about 50Amps to accommodate the EV charger. You are advised to keep the new circuit from drawing any excess of 30Amps. Ideally, your total consumption should not more than 80% of the total.
Consult an electrician for circuit installation
If the electricity audit shows that you have enough available capacity, you can go ahead and call up a registered electrician to begin the installation. From here you will need to decide where you would like your EV home charger installing as this will dictate much of the cost.
Purchase your recommended type 2 EV charger
The home car charger you buy is mostly determined by the model of your vehicle, as well as the car’s range and battery capacity. For the longer-range vehicles, you want a higher capacity charger to achieve a quicker charge. Also, check that the charger fits the power audit requirements. In most cases, a single-phase 7kW charger will suffice. By charging at about 30 miles range per charging hour, you should be able to reach full charge overnight.
Having an EV charging station at home is one of the fundamental things that every new EV owner should anticipate. With this, you get to save yourself from constant trips to the fuel station while dwelling in the satisfaction of starting each day on a full charge. Hopefully, with our article, you now have a little insight into what you can expect as you venture into the realm of electric cars.
Geschreven door Lynn
Writes blogs about EV charging and climate solutions for 50five.