Electric vehicles are quick, less noisy and environmentally friendly. Their use has continued to rise due to their reliability and convenience plus a unique touch of style that gives you a feel similar to that of a modern sports car.
If you are considering buying an electric vehicle or already own one, a significant issue of concern, which is often overlooked, is where to find the ideal EV charge point. Initially, car owners had to recharge their cars from various designated charging stations. However, recent technological advancements have made it possible for you to charge your EV from the comfort of your home. With the idea of home charging in mind, several questions arise;
What will I use for charging? There are several EV chargers in the market for you to choose from as per your needs.
How will I charge my car? Charging your EV is as simple as charging a smartphone. You only need to plug in a charging cable to your car battery, and you are all done.
When should I charge my EV car? The time and frequency of charging depend on your power needs, schedule and frequency of use.
Now that you know what the EV home charging entails, let’s discuss some of the features you should look out for when choosing an EV charger.
7 Factors to consider when choosing an EV charger
If you want to boast of a convenient and reliable EV charging system, then here are the factors to consider when getting your charger:
EV chargers have different prices, mainly depending on their model, charging capacity, speed and utility features. The UK EV charger market is flooded with hundreds of chargers, and you should therefore take your time to study them and settle for that which meets your needs and still favours your pocket.
Type 1 or Type 2 EV charger
The type of charger that you choose largely depends on your vehicle model and your location. Type 1 chargers are mostly limited for use in Asian and American vehicles. Type 2 charger, on the other hand, is compatible with European vehicles. However, SAE J1772, a universal connector solution, has been invented and is compatible with all the EVs in the market. Additionally, most EVs today have at least two different cables to charge from different power outlets.
You can also choose a type 1 or 2 charger depending o your estimated travel distance, charging time and electricity costs. Type 1 chargers use less voltage, kilowatts, and amperage but take more time to charge your car fully. Their charge contributes to 4 miles RPH (Range per hour). Due to their slow charging speed, they are not ideal for commercial use. On the other hand, type 2 chargers have a high charging speed with their charge supply lasting about 16-20 miles RPH. They are ideal for both domestic and business use. Most car owners prefer buying the type 2 chargers that are more reliable and convenient.
Most EV charging stations operate using a level 2 charging system which operates at between 208-240V. The charging speed depends on:
The charger’s amperage (16, 30, 32 and 40 Amps)
The acceptance rate of the car in kW
The maximum power output you can get from different chargers under level 2 charging is:
3.84 kW from 16 Amps charger
7.2 kW from 30Amps charger
7.7 kW from 32 Amps charger
9.6 kW from 40 Amps charger
Most EVs in use today have a maximum power absorption capacity of 7.2 kW. Therefore, even with a 32 or 40 Amps charger, your car won’t charge any faster but will only absorb the amount of power it needs. However, charging with a high amperage charger will not cause any damages to your vehicle.
Additional smart features
Nothing excites one more than being able to monitor or control systems from the palm of your hands using a smartphone. You can consider installing a smart charging station, commonly known as connected or Wifi enabled station. The smart charging features do not increase the charging capacity or output, but only gives you control over your charger and provides important data. The smart features include:
Remote control: Works well for charging stations installed outdoors. It notifies you when a car connects to it and you can either grant or deny access remotely.
Data monitor: Gives all the data related to your charging habits, including power costs.
Some EVs come with a smart feature application, and it is, therefore, important to check your vehicle first before installing it to avoid paying for the same service twice. You can get a wifi-enabled charging station from Podpoint.
Tethered and Untethered
Charging cables can either be tethered, with a fixed connection to the charger or untethered, where they come with a type 1 or 2 sockets for attachment purposes. The tethered model is much secure, less flexible and suitable for solo domestic users. It also allows for efficient programming of your charging cycle. Recently, myenergi zappi, a tethered connector that uses solar energy to power your EV, has been introduced into the market. It is a good source of low-cost green energy. Additionally, it comes with smart features for remote control and monitoring.
On the other hand, untethered charging cables are more versatile in that they can be used anywhere as long as there is a socket plug. If you travel a lot or share your station with others, then this is your best deal.
Location of Installation
Most EV charging stations are made for indoor and outdoor use. They have uniquely designed features to withstand temperatures ranging between -30°C to 50°C or even harsh conditions such as snow and ice. EVBox is one of the manufactures whose products are known to withstand the harshest weather conditions. EVBox charging stations are ideal for outdoor use.
Cable length is another important feature that you should not overlook. It determines how and where you are going to park your car for charging purposes. The length of most cables ranges between 12-25ft. With a 25ft feet cable, you can comfortably charge your vehicle from any parking position, either forward or backwards. Also, go for charging stations with flexible cables. The more flexible the cable is, the easier it is for you to roll it up even during winter.
When buying an EV charger, choose one that not only looks into your present needs but one that is flexible enough to accommodate any future changes or upgrades. Get a charger that fits into your budget and lifestyle.
With the above features in mind, it will be easier for you to make a sound home charging system purchase decision. You can now comfortably compare the different options available in the market and settle for the best as per your needs.
Written by Joost Gerrits
Joost is a real EV enthusiast. He shares all his findings, news, tips and tricks through fun and informative blogs. In addition, you can find him every now and then on the 50five YouTube channel with cool videos!