EV Chargers and how to choose the best device

EV Chargers are big business in the UK. If you’re buying an electric or plug-in hybrid car and you have a driveway or off-street parking adjacent to your property, then you’ll want a home EV charger to top up its battery. This is very much where it all starts and ends when it comes down to making this choice. This is also a key part of choosing the perfect overall EV Charger for your vehicle.

Before buying your first electric car or plug-in hybrid (PHEV), think where you’re going to charge it. Of course, electric cars need to be charged to keep moving. But while PHEVs can run solely on their engine, in order to make the most of their batteries and return maximum efficiency, it’s best to keep them regularly topped up, too. For those with a driveway, garage or any other form of off-street parking, the obvious solution is to charge at home, which most owners currently do. The UK’s public charging network is growing at a rapid pace. The UK government is continuing to provide additional funding for public chargers. With this, experts think most ‘charging events’ will take place at driver’s homes in future.

So, how do you charge an electric car? A regular three-pin plug will draw a maximum charge of 3kW, which is too slow to fully charge most electric cars in a useful amount of time, even if left overnight. However, installing a wallbox charger at home will help you charge much quicker, making electric-car ownership considerably more viable. After all, with EV Chargers, it is now getting more and more popular all the time.

The speeds for different EV Chargers 

The most basic home chargers typically start at 3 to 3.7kW, with more advanced units delivering 7kW and the priciest units achieving as much as 22kW. Naturally, the price of the chargers goes up as you move through the power bands. A 3.7kW wallbox will fully charge the 40kWh battery in a standard Nissan Leaf in around 13 hours – giving you 168 miles of range overnight – while a 7kW system will do so in less than six hours. A 22kW charger would take less than two hours. All of this needs to be remembered when it comes to EV Chargers.

The time it will take to install an EV wallbox

Most charging-point providers will supply and install the home wallbox within a week. Many providers include the installation cost in the purchase price, with the installation done by a qualified technician. However, this isn’t always the case. Certain special circumstances may mean you’ll be charged extra for the installation, but this is unlikely. One company says that 90% of customers have their home wallbox installed free of charge.

Type 1 or Type 2 Chargers – and what you need to know

Your choice depends largely on where you’re based and what model vehicle you’re charging. Type 1 inlets (plug and socket) are still generally limited to American and Asian vehicles. European vehicles are usually Type 2, though there is now a universal connector solution, often known as a J1772™ connector. EVs today tend to be equipped with at least two different cables. This is so that chargers with differing outlets may be used.

Choosing the right EV charger depends on how far you want to travel. Also how long you want to spend charging. There is also the consideration of electricity costs, and how to take advantage of off-peak rates. Initially the choice is between Level 1 or Level 2. Level 1 chargers use less voltage, amperage and kilowatts, but the number of hours required to charge your vehicle is substantially more. If you charge your EV on a smart system, you may be able to access converted solar energy. You may then use charging plans that you can schedule to maximise off-peak savings.

It also depends on whether you’re charging a single domestic vehicle or running a business, where Level 2 chargers will support a network of several vehicles charging simultaneously. The range of travel is a factor too, with Level 1 charging contributing only about four miles RPH (Range Per Hour), while Level 2 charging supplies 12-60 miles RPH.

For a commercial business, Level 1 chargers are generally too slow, as it takes almost a whole day to charge an EV. These work better for domestic use. Level 2 charging allows multiple drivers to be served per day, allowing them to access more customers. Drivers can find networked Level 2 stations through mobile apps, while business owners can take advantage of power-sharing and the latest software updates.

Tethered or Untethered

Car Charging cables are either tethered to the charger by a fixed connection, or untethered, with a Type 1 or 2 socket for attaching them. Most common in recent vehicles is the universal Type 2 cable, which can also be purchased separately and is safer for long-term use. Untethered chargers are more flexible, as you can connect either a Type 1 or 2 vehicle. If you are likely to upgrade your EV or share your capacity with others, untethered is the more versatile choice. It’s also recommended for those who travel far and often, where charging can take place anywhere and you take the cable with you.

If you’re only ever charging one EV type and are unlikely to be sharing your power with other users. A tethered charger is the simplest option. This means that the cable is permanently attached to your charger. This also means you just plug it into the EV to charge up. For sole domestic users this option saves the physical moving of the cable. This also permits smart programming of the charging cycle.

Although you can simply charge your car using a standard domestic three-pin socket, this is a very slow process. Using a household socket, it will take around 26 hours to charge EVs with the biggest battery capacity, such as the E-tron, from 10-80%. Having a dedicated wallbox charging point installed in your garage or on the outside of your house makes charging easier. The market is so much more open ended in this day and age now and with this there are more options for the end user / consumer.

An important thing to think about up front is choosing an approved home charging point from a company that’s on the Government’s approved list. Doing so will enable the installer to apply for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) grant on your behalf. It’s worth up to 75% of the purchase price of a wallbox, with a maximum contribution of £350. All of this should be considered. Remember from a costing point of view in regards to the overall outlay for one of these pods. This is where so many people do tend to forget.

By now, you should know everything you need to about the best home EV chargers on the market. Getting a home EV charger could save you thousands over the lifetime of your electric car. So what are you waiting for? If you are a UK home or business owner looking to install the best EV charger on the market, simply find the right contractors able to work around your needs. All over the UK there are firms able to offer a full installation service. They allow you to run your electric vehicle in a much easier overall manner to your own added benefit. After all, EV Charging is for sure going to be a big part of the future. As we get more environmental in our motoring, these devices will be here to stay.

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