Electric vehicles are becoming a very real option for many people as the available range of cars and their performance increases. Along with the warm feeling of doing your bit for the environment, there’s also no road tax or congestion charges to pay, and you’re entitled to free parking in numerous Pay & Display areas. Maintenance costs are generally a lot lower with electric vehicles too, as they have a fraction of the moving parts a traditional engine has. But the best bit has to be avoiding the steeply rising cost of petrol and diesel.
An electric vehicle is powered by a battery. This means there’s no engine burning fossil fuels, cutting an estimated 2 to 3 tonnes of carbon emissions per car per year. Hybrid cars, that use both a petrol or diesel engine and a rechargeable battery, still have lower carbon footprints than normal cars, despite the increased emissions created during their production.
How will I charge my electric car?
Before you make the decision to buy an electric vehicle, one thing you need to be clear on is how you’re going to charge it. The term ‘range anxiety’ has been coined to describe the fear of running out of power without being able to find a charging station, and is said to be experienced by around 50% of potential electric car drivers.
In reality, there are three main ways to charge your car: a charging station, where points are set up for communal use; on-street charging, using a point your local council has paid to install for residents; and installing a charger at your home.
What are the options for charging my electric car at home?
The easiest solution for charging your car is installing an electric vehicle charge point at home. But you can only do this if you own the property, or have permission from the landlord, plus you must have off-street parking as trailing a cable across the pavement poses a genuine tripping hazard for pedestrians.
You could charge your electric vehicle via a regular 13A socket in your home, but it takes up to 3 times as long compared to a purpose-fit charge point. By installing a dedicated charger at home, you’ll be able to charge your car much more quickly and efficiently, with less chance of overloading your circuits.
BS7671 Wiring Regulations state that a charge point must be installed on a new, dedicated circuit, and it must be individually protected by an RCD (type A).
Which electric car charger is right for me?
There are a few things to consider when choosing your charger:
- Power: 7kW is the most common power, but you can also get 3kW and 22kW.
- Cost: According to the RAC, the average charger costs around £800 to install – but you could be eligible for a grant from the government worth up to £500 towards installation, available until April 2022.
- Cable: You’ll need to decide if you want a tethered charger (with a cable) or an untethered one (without a cable). Tethered is less fussy, but untethered has the bonus of being able to connect to pretty much any electric car.
- Design: Your charger will be visible on the outside of your house, so it’s important to choose something that looks good and isn’t an eyesore.
- Go smart: Consider installing a smart electric car charger, as they can help you work out the cheapest, most energy-efficient times to charge your car.
How much will it cost to charge my car at home?
The cost will depend on the car you have. Vehicles with smaller batteries, and therefore shorter ranges, will be much cheaper to charge than those with big batteries that can travel for hundreds of kilometres without recharging.
The cost will also depend on what electricity tariff you are on. Most manufacturers recommend you switch to an Economy 7 tariff, meaning you pay much less for electricity during the night, which is when most of us would be charging our cars.
But as a rough estimate, Which? states the average driver will use between £450 and £750 a year of additional electricity charging their electric car.
Where to install my home charger and how long will it take?
Electric vehicle chargers are usually installed on an exterior wall in your driveway, or an interior wall in your garage, so they can connect to the mains electricity, while also being close to where you park your car. It takes 2-3 hours on average, but more complicated installations will take a bit longer.
Who can install a home charger for me?
We can! Get in touch via our contact form on www.heatelec.uk for a free quote.