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29 Nov 2023

Everything you need to know about charging your electric vehicle (EV) at home

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
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As the world accelerates towards a more sustainable future, electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a prominent solution to reduce carbon emissions, in comparison to traditional gasoline-powered cars. 


But if you’re thinking about investing in an electric vehicle, you may be wondering how and where you can charge your EV vehicle conveniently and cost-effectively at home.


The rise of home EV charging points


Home EV charging points, also known as domestic EV chargers, have gained immense popularity as the go-to solution for powering up electric vehicles. The convenience and accessibility they offer have made them an essential part of the EV ownership experience.


The cheapest EV home charger


When it comes to choosing the cheapest EV home charger, there are several factors to consider. The upfront cost of the charging unit, installation expenses, and ongoing energy costs all play a role in determining the overall affordability.


Upfront cost


The initial cost of an EV home charger varies depending on the brand, model, and features. Basic Level 1 chargers are the most affordable option and typically come standard with most EVs. These chargers use a standard 120-volt household outlet and provide a slow charging rate, suitable for overnight charging.


For faster charging, Level 2 chargers are a popular choice. They operate on 240-volt power, offering significantly quicker charging times compared to Level 1 chargers. Level 2 chargers come in a range of prices, with basic models being relatively affordable.


Alternatively, you can opt for a Level 2 smart charger, which offers additional features such as smartphone connectivity, scheduling, and energy monitoring. While smart chargers tend to be more expensive upfront, they can help you optimise your charging and energy usage, potentially saving money in the long run.


Installation expenses


The cost of installing an EV charging point at home varies based on your electrical setup and the complexity of the installation. On average, installation can range from a few hundred pounds for a basic setup to a few thousand pounds for more complex installations.


Factors that influence installation costs include:


  • Distance from the electrical panel: If your charging location is far from your electrical panel, additional wiring may be required, increasing installation costs.

  • Electrical panel capacity: If your electrical panel does not have sufficient capacity to support the charger, an upgrade may be necessary, adding to the expense.

  • Permitting and inspection fees: Depending on your location, you may need to obtain permits and pay inspection fees, which can contribute to installation costs.


Ongoing energy costs


The ongoing energy costs of charging your EV at home primarily depend on your electricity rates and how frequently you charge. To calculate these costs, you can use your electric vehicle's mileage efficiency and your electricity rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

It's essential to monitor your energy consumption and consider charging during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower. Additionally, some utilities offer special EV charging rates or time-of-use plans to further reduce charging expenses.


Installing an EV charging point at home


Installing an EV charging point at home is a crucial step in making electric vehicle ownership practical and convenient. Here's what you need to know about the installation process:


Determine your charging needs


Before installing a home EV charging point, assess your charging needs. Consider factors such as your daily driving distance, the battery size of your EV, and your desired charging speed. This assessment will help you choose the right charger for your requirements.


Hire a professional


While some EV owners with electrical expertise may attempt to install a home charger themselves, it is generally recommended to hire a qualified electrician for the installation. A professional electrician will ensure that the charger is safely and correctly installed, complying with local electrical codes and regulations.


Location and mounting


Select a suitable location for your EV charging point. It should be easily accessible, well-ventilated, and protected from the elements. Wall-mounted chargers are a common choice for home installations, but some EV owners prefer pedestal-mounted options.


Electrical panel assessment


Your electrician will assess your electrical panel's capacity and make any necessary upgrades to accommodate the charger's power requirements. This may involve adding a dedicated circuit and potentially upgrading the electrical service.


Permits and inspections


Depending on your location, you may need to obtain permits and schedule inspections for the installation. Your electrician can guide you through the permitting process and ensure that the installation passes inspection.


Grant programs


Many regions offer grant programs or incentives to encourage the installation of home EV charging points. These programs can offset installation costs and make it more affordable for EV owners to set up charging infrastructure at home. Be sure to check for available grants and incentives in your area.


Eligibility criteria


The eligibility criteria for home EV charger grants vary by region and program. Typically, these grants are available to homeowners, renters, and businesses, and they may cover a portion of the installation costs.


Application process


To apply for a home EV charger grant, you will need to follow the specific application process outlined by the program in your area. This may include providing documentation such as proof of EV ownership and installation quotes.


Benefits of home EV charger grants


There are several advantages to getting a grant for your home EV charger — they’re a fantastic incentive to encourage the switch to green energy. 


  • Cost savings: Grants can cover a significant portion of the installation costs, making it more affordable for individuals and businesses to invest in EV charging infrastructure.

  • Environmental impact: Encouraging home charging reduces the need for public charging infrastructure, which can lead to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation.

  • Convenience: Having a home charging point eliminates the need to visit public charging stations regularly, providing EV owners with added convenience.


Car charger options for home charging


When it comes to selecting a car charger for home charging, you have several options to consider. The choice depends on your specific needs and budget.


Level 1 chargers


Level 1 chargers are the most basic and affordable option for home charging. They use a standard 120-volt household outlet and are typically included with the purchase of an electric vehicle. While Level 1 chargers are slow, they are suitable for overnight charging and are a convenient choice for those with low daily driving distances.


Level 2 chargers


Level 2 chargers are the most common choice for home EV charging. They operate on 240-volt power, providing faster charging speeds than Level 1 chargers. Level 2 chargers come in various models and features, allowing you to select one that suits your needs and budget.


Smart chargers


Smart chargers, often available as Level 2 chargers, offer advanced features such as smartphone connectivity, scheduling, and energy monitoring. These chargers allow you to optimise your charging sessions, monitor energy consumption, and take advantage of time-of-use electricity rates.


Fast chargers


For those seeking even faster charging speeds at home, fast chargers are an option. These chargers, also known as Level 3 or DC fast chargers, are less common in residential settings due to their high power requirements and cost. They are typically used at public charging stations for rapid charging.


Ongoing maintenance of home EV charging points


Maintaining your home EV charging point is essential to ensure its safety and performance over time. Here are some key maintenance considerations.


Regular inspections


Periodically inspect your home EV charging point for any signs of wear, damage, or loose connections. If you notice any issues, contact a qualified electrician for repairs.


Cleanliness


Keep the charging connector and surrounding area clean to prevent dust, dirt, or debris from interfering with the charging process. Regularly wipe down the charger with a damp cloth.


Software updates


If you own a smart charger, check for firmware updates provided by the manufacturer. Keeping the charger's software up-to-date can enhance its functionality and security.


Cable management


Properly manage the charging cable to avoid kinks or damage. Ensure that the cable is stored neatly and not exposed to extreme temperatures or sunlight.


Safety checks


Regularly test the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) on your charging circuit to ensure it functions correctly. If the GFCI trips frequently, it may indicate an electrical issue that requires attention.


Professional maintenance


If you encounter any technical problems or suspect issues with your home EV charging point, contact a qualified electrician or the manufacturer's customer support for assistance. It's crucial to address any electrical or charging system problems promptly to prevent safety hazards.


Compare home EV charging deals with SpotDif


If you’re thinking about switching to green transport and are wondering how you can charge your electric vehicle, we’ve got you covered at SpotDif. 


Compare hundreds of prices with SpotDif, or get in touch to find the best EV charging deal for you today. 

author
Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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