EV Charger Guide

EV Charger Guide Matty July 13, 2022

Electric Vehicle Chargers

A complete guide to EV chargers

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WarmZilla van getting charged up with an EV charger
image of a Zappi Ev charger
EV CHARGING GUIDE

Everything you could ever need to know about EV chargers

Electric cars are the future of transport. Currently, millions of people around the world already drive electric cars, and the number is expected to rise to a whopping 145 million by 2030. Electric cars are becoming more affordable and their share of sales continues to grow. This is mainly because of their advanced technology, efficiency, sleek designs and of course their green credentials over the lifespan of the car.

Introduction

Electric cars are the future of transport. Currently, millions of people around the world already drive electric cars, and the number is expected to rise to a whopping 145 million by 2030. Electric cars are becoming more affordable and their share of sales continues to grow. This is mainly because of their advanced technology, efficiency, sleek designs and of course their green credentials over the lifespan of the car.

Electric cars are better for the environment because they produce fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants than petrol or diesel cars – taking into consideration the production and electricity generation needed to keep them running. In fact, the typical electric car today produces just half of the greenhouse gas emissions of the average European passenger car

According to EDF Energy, electric cars contribute to improving the air quality in towns and cities as they produce no carbon dioxide emissions when on the roads. Put simply, just one electric car on the road can save an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2. That’s almost the same as a round trip from London to Perth, Australia!

It’s estimated that 80% of electric vehicle charging happens at home, mostly due to the charging cost and convenience. Electric car drivers are therefore keen to install home charging points at their properties. It’s pretty appealing to imagine coming home after a long day, plugging in the car, and waking up in the morning to a fully charged battery – all while skipping the queue at the petrol station!

While shopping around for a new EV home charging unit might not be as exciting as shopping around for a new car, it’s still part of the process. At WarmZilla, our mission is to provide you with all the home charging products, installation services and knowledge you’ll need to buy the best charging point for your home. We’re also here to help you navigate through the dizzying array of choices out there…

Choosing the right EV charger

A. EV Charger levels

 

EV Chargers come in 3 “levels”; 1, 2 and 3. The higher the level, the higher the power output, and the faster it will charge. Now let’s get to the technical part!

All you’ll really need to know is that there are two types of electrical currents that are important: alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC)

We promise this isn’t a blog for classic rock fans…but let’s just get into AC/DC for a minute and explain what the difference is.

AC or alternating current is the power that comes from the grid and is the electricity supply you’ll always find from your sockets in your home or office. It’s called “alternating” because of the way the current flows, changing direction frequently, causing the current to alternate. As alternating current can be transported over long distances quite efficiently, it’s the dominant standard we’ve all become familiar with and use daily to power everything from microwave ovens to smartphones and hair straighteners.

DC or direct current is the power you’ll find stored in batteries or used in the actual circuitry of electrical devices – and like AC, the name refers to the way in which the current flows. DC electricity travels or flows in a straight line and directly powers the device in question. An easy way to understand this is; an electrically-powered device plugged into a socket will always receive AC power, while battery-powered tech will store direct current, so the conversion happens inside the device.

So how does this relate to electric cars? Essentially, the AC power from the grid is converted inside the vehicle via an onboard converter, and stored as DC in the car’s battery, which keeps you on the move! How this works in practice depends on which level of charger your EV uses – 1, 2 or 3.

Level 1 and Level 2 charging vehicles use the onboard converter as above to convert AC from the grid into DC power to “store” that power in the battery. In contrast, Level 3 charging sends the DC power straight to the battery – with the conversion taking place outside the vehicle itself. This is far more efficient, bypasses the time-consuming conversion process and for that reason is sometimes known as “fast charging”. These Level 3 chargers are therefore more suitable for quick “top-up” or on the go charging, for example for the short amounts of time spent at service stations on the motorway – able to charge some EV vehicle batteries in as little as 15 minutes.

B. Tethered or untethered home charging points


What’s the difference?

  • Tethered: The charging unit has a charging power lead/cable which is attached to the unit.
  • Untethered: The charging unit has a charging power lead that is not attached to the unit.

The pros and cons of tethered or untethered home charging point:

Tethered home charging point

Untethered home charging point

Pros

  • Convenientyou can just pull up the power charging lead and plug in
  • More secure – the cable is part of the unit so it’s not possible to remove it
  • Cable included – you don’t need to buy a charging cable separately

Pros

  • Sleek look (subjective)
  • Flexibility – should work with all EV cars
  • Future proof –  it allows you to swap leads without changing units if you were to buy a new EV car with a different plug requirement
  • Most EVs come with a cable included in the purchase price, but you’ll spend around £100 for a replacement

Cons

  • Bulky – might not go with your home aesthetic.
  • Restricted to charging Type 1 or Type 2 vehicles only which means it won’t work with every EV car.
  • Limited cable-length choices.
  • You could be left with an outdated home charging point should the industry eventually move away from Type 1 to Type 2 sockets.

Cons

  • Not as convenient as the tethered home charging point, as you’ll have to carry a cable in the boot of your EV car.
C. The best electric car chargers


The best EV charger brands are; Pod Point, Andersen, Ohme, zappi, Rolec, Wallbox, and Hypervolt.

D. EV Homecharge Features

 

These features can make an EV home charge station a more attractive choice! Here are some of the features that you might want to look out for:

 

  • Locking
    Concerned that someone might plug their car into your charger without your permission? Then opt for a home charger with a locking feature. Some options have a traditional key lock, but more modern ones have a charger app that includes coded entry and facial recognition locks.
  • Tracking 
    You can easily monitor and track your charging activities using an app that can be installed on your smart devices like smartphones, tablets, and even wearable devices.
  • Control
    Chargers can be controlled remotely from where you are. Smart apps provide for the programming of schedules, and charging can be activated by buttons or touch screens, and by waving your hand.
  • Earthing
    Most chargers require an earthing rod to be sunk into the ground for safety reasons, though some have inbuilt earthing technology to prevent overload or electric shock.
  • RFID
    If you’ll be sharing your home charging point with family members (or neighbours), separate RFIDs would be a cool feature to have. Each RFID card can activate charging and record each session, so power usage can be tracked.
Photo of customer at ev charger install

Do I need an EV charging cable?

In a nutshell, if you want to charge your vehicle from a chargepoint that doesn’t have a cable attached to it, then you’ll need to have an EV charging cable. 

You might make the most out of the EV charging cable, but in some cases, it might not be needed as much. If you’ve chosen to get a tethered home charging point, while also using rapid chargers and public AC units, then you wouldn’t use an EV charging cable because tethered cables are already attached to the unit.

Do electric cars come with a charging cable?

Different manufacturers supply different types of charging cables. You should, at least, get a 3-pin electric car charger when you buy a new electric vehicle.

Currently, more manufacturers are including Type 1 or Type 2 cables for faster charging.

Things to consider when choosing an EV charging cable

If you decided to buy a charging cable instead of the basic 3-pin charger that came with your car, or if you’ve lost or damaged your current charger, here is a list of things you’ll need to keep in mind when shopping around for a new cable.

  1. Choose the right connector for your car – Check if your car is a Type 1 or a Type 2 and make sure to get a universal Type 2 charger plug connector.
  2. Pick the right cable length – You should balance between the ease of use and ease of storage, that’s why it’s recommended to get a cable length of 7.5 meters.
  3. Choose the right current rating for your car – Ideally, try to match your car’s maximum AC charge rate. If you decided to buy a higher rated cable, this may allow you to charge another car at a higher rate (If you decided to buy a new car).

EV home charger installation process

Who can install a home electric charge point?

 

The installation of an EV charging point should be carried out by an experienced and certified installer who specialises in electric vehicles and chargers, as some EV charging points will lose their warranty, if not installed by a certified electrician.

Things to consider before installing an EV charging point

Before shopping around for an electric car home charging point, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got these requirements covered  

  • Have a Wi-Fi connection 
  • Legally own the property you’ll install the charging point in, or get permission from the landlord. 
  • Have your own off-street parking. Lots of people choose to put their charger in their driveway or garage if they have one. This is convenient because it’ll be easy to connect to the mains electricity, while also being close to where you park your car. Alternatively, if you live in a block of flats, you’ll have to have your own private parking space.

The day before installing the home EV charge point

To prepare for the installation, make sure you do the following; 

  • Ensure the area around the distribution board/electricity supply meter is clear from clutter and easy to access. Don’t forget to clear out the cable run route too.
  • Have your Wi-Fi password ready so your installer. It will be used to connect your new home charging point to the internet.

On the day of installing your electric car charge point

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide on what will usually happen on the day of installation so you’ll know what to expect.

  1. Our installer will arrive at the agreed installation time. 
  2. The installer will help you choose the best position for your EV car charge point and consult with you before moving on to the next step – this is based on the power supply and where you park your car.
  3. The installer will position and fix the charge point to your wall just before turning off the power supply temporarily.
  4. The installer will safely connect the charge point to the power supply, do a safety test, turn the power back on, and make sure your home charging point is ready to use.
  5. They’ll then connect the charge point to your home Wi-Fi.
  6. Last but not least, the installer will demonstrate how to use the charging unit and all its features. They’ll also explain what the different lights mean and how to get in touch if you have any questions later on.

Why connect the home charging point to Wi-Fi?

By connecting your home charger to Wi-Fi, you can unlock these features;

  • Remote diagnostics, remote support issue resolution.
  • “Over the Air” software updates.
  • Energy usage reporting and associated features.
  • Access to new smart features.

How long does it take to install an EV charger?

No, you don’t need to cancel your dinner reservation. Generally speaking, EV charger installations should take between 2-4 hours (assuming everything goes to plan!). 

In the unlikely event that your installation needs more time or additional work, a second visit will be arranged on the spot.

What comes as standard with your home EV charge point installation?

As standard, you’ll get the charging unit, in addition to the installation. This includes the electrical work and the safety testing.

The cost of buying and installing an EV charging point

There are many factors that affect the electric car charging station installation costs such as; 

    • The charger type – Type 1 or Type 2
    • The speed of the charger – slow chargers (3kW -6kW) can take up to 12 hours to charge a long-range electric car, and 6-8 hours to charge a smaller one. Slow charge points cost between (£250-£500 without installation), while fast chargers (7kW-22kW) can charge an electric car in 2-4 hours and can cost anything between (£450-£800 without installation). 
  • The charge point brand of choice – if you’d like to go with an established brand such as Siemens and Bosch or if you’ve chosen a different brand that might not be as well-known such as Juicebox and ClipperCreek, this will affect the final price of the charging station.
  • Other factors – the distance between your fuse box and your parking spot or driveway. The further you park your car, the higher the cost will be. That’s not just down to the greater distance of cabling needed; it’s also because regulations oblige the installer to use higher-diameter cables for longer distances for additional protection, which incurs extra fees.

The cost of installation 

The average cost of installing a home charging point is £1,000. Although it looks expensive at first glance, you’ll need to take into account that there is a Government Grant to help reduce the amount you pay for installation. The grant, which ends on the 31st of March 2022, provides up to £350 off the cost of buying and installing a home charging point.


A breakdown of the cost of installing an EV charging point

We’ve put together a breakdown of the installation cost and what it includes

Fuse box – due to the added pressure on your fuse box and the increase in electricity usage, you may need to upgrade your current fuse box which can cost around £350. 

Isolator switch – during the installation, it’s often required to get a new isolator switch, the cost could vary between (£100-£200)
Rapid charging cable – if you’d like to upgrade your current charging cable to a rapid one, this could cost between (£150-£500)

 

The Cost of Charging your Electric Vehicle 

To calculate the cost of charging your electric vehicle, you need to factor the make and model of your car and your EV charger energy output. You will also need to know how much your electricity costs per kW.