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EV home chargers – where to start?
I’m sure this must have been covered, so if there is a good thread just point me at it, but we’re considering buying an EV so will need a home charger, we own the house and have a driveway, so no issues there, but what charger should I get and who should install it?
Any pitfalls to be aware of – it all feels like a complete minefield.
I dont think I need more than 7kw charging, but shout if this would be a strategic error…..
Some questions on the installation -if we have any sparks in the house who could chime in, that’d be great.
– How do they connect the charger to the existing house electrics? our consumer unit and elec meter (and main 100amp breaker) is in a cupboard in the middle of the house, the floor of the room its in wont come up easily (I dont think – anyway, the flooring is engineered oak planks on top of floor boards), so how do they get the cable from the charger to it – I dont want external trunking runs through the house to it. The house is a 1930s detached house.
– The existing consumer unit has no spare rcds on it, so do we need a new consumer unit and does that push the cost up?
– are there any grants available for this kind of thing?
I’m already thinking that this elec vehicle lark is looking too expensive, so if the cost of a charger is going to be stupid then I may as well forget it . All the “standard” installation guides seem to assume the elec meter is on a wall outside the house.geubenFree Member
There are no grants for home owners anymore.
You can’t have more than a 7kW charger unless you have 3 phase electricity.
They can split the cables coming out of the electricity meter and avoid changing your existing consumer unit entirely so if the electric meter is in a more accessible position that would be the way to go.
so if the electric meter is in a more accessible position that would be the way to go.
nope the elec meter is right next to the consumer unit in the middle of the house, so its no easier to get to.simon_gFull Member
Yes, as above. You can have a separate mini CU but there still needs to be cable going to where you want the charger. If you’re fussy about appearance then go with a electrician who can offer some creative options on how to run it rather than one of the fixed price merchants.
The chargers all have to be smart these days but the other factors these days are if you’ll be wanting to integrate with solar (look to something like Zappi) or if you want to use smarter tariffs like Octopus Agile or Intelligent (so something like Ohme). Else just get the one you dislike the looks of least.molgripsFree Member
Ohme, from Octopus. It will give you smart charging with most cars on Intelligent Octopus which is the super cheap one.
Absolutely no reason to go with anything else.DrJFull Member
Another vote for Ohme and Intelligent Octopus, and when you set it up refer to this facebook group:
On this subject, I just got a call from Northern Powergrid about “an application to install a charge point”. I said OK but they already installed the charge point. She said, “yes, that happen a lot, but they should get permission first so we have to come to your house to check it’s OK”. So we’ll see what happens !!revs1972Free Member
Our CU is at the front of the house ,in the hallway.
Cable runs up into the corner of the youngest’s bedroom , then is chased into the wall up into the loft , over to the back of the house where it pops out under the eaves and runs down the wall to the charger. Quite a cable run.
Charger is an Andersen A2 which although expensive, looks good when the cable is wound up as you don’t see itchrispofferFull Member
I tend to charge at work but I have a ‘Granny lead’ to charge at home occasionally and a 3 pin plug at the end of my garage. They’re really slow though, think it charges at 2kw an hour. I was empty on Saturday morning (4% remaining, 60kw battery) and wasn’t using the Megane over the weekend so plugged it – was fully charged by lunchtime on Sunday. So just the 27 hours! Usually use it to just top up if I’ve got a big journey the next day so I’m generally charging from 70 or 80%.
Looks somewhat similar to this one but is Renault badged, more expensive and came from the dealer.
Avoid Podpoint. Their chargers are centrally managed so if they ever go under, you’ll lose the ability to control the charger.DaffyFull Member
Zappi for me. 6 years old and still going strong.marksparkFree Member
Installed a few different brands but like the Zappi the best, seems the best option for future integration if that’s something you’re thinking about.
I always use EV ultra cable now, it’s a cat 5 inside a 6mm flex so makes the install easier for the CT clamps too. Loads of ways to get a cable outside, up to the floor above and through the joists, up the airing cupboard and through the loft, basically there’s always a way it’s just a case of how much time you want the electrician doing it
Does your usage mean having a home charger definitely makes sense? You would need a smart meter and tariff to make the most of one. I do a 40 mile daily commute and have done without for 2.5 years.
Loads of ways to get a cable outside, up to the floor above and through the joists, up the airing cupboard and through the loft, basically there’s always a way it’s just a case of how much time you want the electrician doing it
Thanks for that, I just don’t know what a good electrician can do with regard to runni g cables unobtrusively and cost effectively.
Does your usage mean having a home charger definitely makes sense?
That’s a very good point, is there a rule of thumb as to how many miles you do per day when it makes more sense to get a proper EV charger rather than just use a 3 pin plug?doris5000Full Member
Does your usage mean having a home charger definitely makes sense? You would need a smart meter and tariff to make the most of one. I do a 40 mile daily commute and have done without for 2.5 years
How do you charge then? With a 2kw jobby or on public chargers? (And wouldn’t that get expensive?)
Sorry for the silly question, I don’t own an ev, but am considering whether not being (reliably) able to charge at home would be a major barrierDracFull Member
I went with Podpoint just within the grant period. 7Kw is you max as mentioned, it’s fine as I charge overnight so always plenty the next morning. Mine goes out from the meter into the garage and outside.
I work for a company manufacturing EV chargers, so you should buy one of ours!
We retail a 7KW charger for £478 inc UK delivery. Can’t really help you with electricians but the unit can be fitted in about 1/2hour. You need someone qualified:
In terms of installation (as per the above), there will be a cable from the CU (sounds like you will need a larger one, unless there are spare slots or some circuits can be consolidated). This would be on a separate circuit, similar to that of an electric shower. Things that will increase the cost are – length of cable needed + amount of time to make the circuit at the CU and fitting the cable from CU to chargepoint. This could take a few hours.
We have an Easee charger, as it was supplied and installed by Tusker as part of a salary sacrifice lease scheme through work. We are also on intelligent Octopus and it all works seamlessly. It does appear that there is a fair number of charger/car combinations that won’t work with IO. Neighbour has a Peugeot and a PodPoint and cannot access IO.thecaptainFree Member
You need a smart meter for Ohm etc don’t you? That would be a consideration if so.
13A cable out the window will do fine for starters. That’s what we’ve been using up to now, though we did melt a plug recently which gave me pause for thought…faulty fuse I think, hard to be sure.
You need a SMART meter to get the SMART tariffs. The meter sends usage info to the supplier every 30mins, so they can match supply/demand. This usually means cheaper charging overnight, when demand is lower. Our charger will do this – you can set the charge times (it is preset to charge overnight)
An EV charger install should cost no more than £1k all in.
There are several other SMART tariffs which are compatible with a wider range of chargers than just Ohme or Zappi. E.g. Octopus GO which is 9p/kwh overnight instead of 7.5p/kwh for Octopus intelligent
“How do you charge then? With a 2kw jobby or on public chargers? (And wouldn’t that get expensive?)”
Granny charger plugged into the shed. Yes, public charging would definitely be prohibitively expensive. I reckon I can add about 80 miles of range on an overnight charge, car uses 3-3.5 miles per KWh.
The real benefits of the 7Kw charger are they enable you to access the split rate electric for more charge. As Molgrips said, the Ohme Pro makes sense as that will work with Intelligent Octopus no matter what the vehicle.
But you need a Smart Meter installed to make that work, which might not be an option for me (limited o2 signal). Without that, I don’t see any point in having a charger fitted. With, there could be use cases where it might not be cost effective to have a charger – but probably not that many, it would just be the timeframe to recoup your install cost.GreybeardFree Member
It might be worth considering a Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) bidirectional charger, which would allow you to use the car battery to store electricity for the house. I haven’t looked into them as my car doesn’t do reverse charging but I understand it will be be introduced on more cars. I’m not even sure if I’d want one; would I want to use up the battery life on the car, or a stand alone battery which would be cheaper to replace?jsingletFull Member
I have a hypervolt charger which was £900 installed, after the grant which I got just in time.
I don’t use any of the smart features, Intelligent Octopus talks straight to the car, so if I was doing it again I’d get a cheaper charger.
The other thing to consider is what it looks like, and does it have a way of keeping the cable tidy.
just use a 3 pin plug?
Long term this is a bad idea, as is using an extension lead – you’ll almost certainly cause thermal damage to the socket and the extension lead. A decent granny charger will monitor the temperature of the plug and limit current if it gets too high, but that can’t account for anything in between or the wiring to the socket.
The electrical work in my own house was top notch but the previous owners still managed to melt the socket by the front door charging their Mini with an extension cable.dantsw13Full Member
I bought a cable tidy bracket for £10 from eBay, for my Ohme as I needed untethered 10m cable.stingmeredFull Member
Easee One. It’s the standard charger in Norway (from a Norwegian company) and they are WAY ahead of us on the EV front. Brilliant, simple, compact charger, with a great app interface. Untethered but got the right length cable and bracket for an extra 120.steviousFull Member
I did some rough calcs on how long it would take to pay back the cost of an Ohme on Intelligent Octopus vs just charging via the granny cable and IIRC it was 18-24 months. What actually swung it for us was the fact that IO optimises the charging to make use of lower CO2 electricity and part of the motivation for getting an EV was to reduce emissions.
The process with Octopus was pretty good. We completed a bit of a self-survey then the electrician came around the day before the install to check our assumptions were right (they weren’t). Rest assured yours will not be the most complex install they’ve done.mattcartlidgeFull Member
Quite a few people at work who have Tusker EV’s use Octopus and mix of chargers but they all use/recommend Costelloes for the actual install of the charger, looks like they are north west and north Wales so depends where you are.
Granted, the Easee look good, but having seen inside them, our FastAmps charger has better design and build quality – much more durable.wboFree Member
‘Long term this is a bad idea, as is using an extension lead – you’ll almost certainly cause thermal damage to the socket and the extension lead. A decent granny charger will monitor the temperature of the plug and limit current if it gets too high, but that can’t account for anything in between or the wiring to the socket.’
Is this actually true? I fitted a pretty heavy duty ring out to the garage so I could run tumble driers, big tools, and so it’s rated for well over my granny charger? So……? It doesn’t seem to have happened to anyone I know doing thisdbFull Member
Zappi in our house. Fitted a new mini consumer unit next to meter and charger is on the wall next to the meter box. We wanted the solar integration (this summer our car was almost exclusively charged from the sun!).
Only issue we have found is it occasionally needs a reset (turn it on and off) seems to be every 4-6 months. I can live with that.
Is this actually true?
The melted socket I removed says “yes”.
I think you won’t particularly trouble modern wiring but the connection between the plug and the socket isn’t guaranteed.
Alternatives are sockets rated to the new “EV” standard which apparently are tested to a higher standard, or swap the end with the 13A plug to a 16A commando socket.
But then you’re into the joy of PEN fault protection which a decent charger takes care of for you.WorldClassAccidentFree Member
I have a knackered old Leaf with about a 35 mile range that I use to go to the train station, local shops, bottle bank run etc. It is charged from a 3 pin socket in my garage. The electrics in my garage are on their own ‘box split from the main house supply at source. There is a seperate circuit for the hot tub, sauna, sockets I use for the welder, car socket and then the lights and other sockets. I suspect this is neither normal car use or normal electrics but all works fine for me.
I would think about how you really use the car. I assumed that a 35 mile range would make the car almost unusable for much other than the station and back but it was cheap and I was curious so I went for it. Throughout lock down it was pretty much the only car we used. You unplug it, drive it, park back home and plug it in and it is normally charged enough for the next quick trip. This has lessened since then as we do more frequent trips during the day but I was stunned by how useable it actually was. If you can leave your car on charge overnight and charge up from time to time during the day then you might not need to get the charger from day one.
Live with the car for a few months and see what you actually need perhaps?B.A.NanaFree Member
I had a dumb untethered ev charger installed in 2018, quite a few months before I got an ev. Then in Jan 2020 I bought a smart Ohme cable to convert the dumb charger into a smart charger. I went down the route of ev cars that included public charging in the monthly price, so never used the home charger option I’d invested in. I think I’d still go down the Ohme charger route even tho I’ve fallen out with them over them cancelling my SIM card after 3 yrs (I suspect they did this due to it not being used) and they’re now wanting to charge me to upgrade it (ie replace the SIM card they probably cancelled). There are others supporting Agile Octopus now like the Simpson and Partners charger. You defo need to look at ev specific electric tariffs and then look at ev chargers that support it. Altho one of my pals who has a big house and doesn’t do many miles in his ev decided an ev specific electric tariff was more expensive, so do your maths first.. I use about 2000kwh in the home and 4000kwh of the car so an ev orientated electric tariff will be best for me when I buy an ev and have to charge at home. I believe someone is now doing a cheaper EV tariff than Octopus (OVO and/or British Gas??) but Octopus were long ago first to market with a number of ev tariff options, so maybe they should be supported if there’s not much in it. look into Agile Octopus, Octopus Go, Intelligent Octopus etc and OVO and British Gas. Then choose a home charger that will best support the smart tariffs.FuzzyWuzzyFull Member
I have a Hypervolt, mostly based on a quick google at the time suggesting it was highly rated + looked decent and fitted in the small amount of wall space I had available. The app is decent and reliable, you can remote lock it to (prevent the charger from working rather than securing the cable) although I’ve never felt the need. I think it was around £1200 installed (post-grant)
That said, if I was planning to switch to Octopus, it makes sense to get a charger they support/supply (I haven’t switched to them as when I last looked, for the little amount of EV charging I did, the added cost to all my other electricity usage meant it would be more expensive – that might have changed now though).
It seems impossible to get a ist of what chargers/cars are compatible with octopus go…they keep pushing me (following various links on their website) to get an ohme charger fitted by them, but there seems to be no definitive list of compatible cars or chargers. I must be missing something – can anyone point me at such a list?clubbyFull Member
I seem to be the odd one out but I’m on OVO charge anytime. All electricity charged at their standard price then the following month you get a credit for the ev part. EV charge now down to 7p. EV usage comes from a smart charger or some cars work with a dumb charger. They still want a smart meter though. I went with an untethered Ohme as I needed a 10m cable. Installed by Charged EV with a £70 OVO discount.pedladFull Member
I’ve got a dumb charger from being an early adopter with a plugin hybrid and got a grant. It is generally fine but the car’s onboard charging scheduler sw (full EV now) is a bit flaky so makes you distrust it to start when the low rate starts at 12-5 (BG EV tariff). Ideally I’d replace it with a smart charger for this and also to move from 3.2Kw to 7 in order to maximise low tariff time, but can’t quite bring myself to spend ~£900 and completely wipe out any savings for a couple of years.
For Octopus Go, you just need a SMART meter and a charger with the ability to preset a charging period (0130-0530 I think). Octopus intelligent is the tariff where you need a specific charger (ohme/zappi). On that tariff, octopus will control the charging.
Note that these chargers are about £800+ and you only save 1.5p/kWh.
^^^ appreciate that you work for a charger supplier :
finephillyFree MemberI work for a company manufacturing EV chargers, so you should buy one of ours!
so may have a bit of bias. Re your above comment re Octopus Intelligent, it is not limited to those 2 chargers at all, there is a long list of car makes and models it will work with, with a variety of other chargers..
I use IO with an Easee charger and a BMW i4. I pay 7.5p/kWh, compared to 32p/kWh on most standard tariffs.
This has been a very useful thread, I’m actually wondering whether for our typical use its just more cost effective all round to use a 3 pin plug charger, it’s only when I would do back to back 60+ mile days where I wouldnt have enough time to be able to replace the charge witha 3 pin plug, and 60+ mile days are few and far between.
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