Home chargers for electric cars: Ultimate guideBack to 'Expert guides'
If you’re thinking about leasing your first EV, the chances are you’re also considering how best to charge an electric car at home. The different types of charging units available and how to install them can seem confusing at first.
This guide aims to remove the jargon and help you make the right decision about installing electric vehicle chargers and charging an EV at home.
- What is an electric car home charger?
- How do I get an electric car charging point installed at home?
- How much does it cost to install an electric car charger?
- How can I save money on EV home chargers?
- How do I pick the right EV charger for me?
- Do all EV chargers use the same plug?
- Leasing an EV
What is an electric car home charger?
Home chargers for electric cars are special units that are designed to safely charge your electric car at home. Home chargers are usually compact weatherproof units that are mounted to a wall close to where you intend to charge your EV, such as your driveway or garage.
Standard three-pin plugs are not the most efficient way of charging an electric car at home and therefore generally aren’t recommend. Professionally installed home chargers deliver faster charging speeds and have in-built safety features that protect your home and car. The most popular charging units are also able to reduce the cost of charging by calculating the cheapest time of day to charge your car, protect your home’s fuse by reducing power if you’re using too much at once and can be activated and adjusted through facial recognition and Alexa voice commands.
To increase the savings when you charge at home, a smart charger can be linked with your specific electricity tariff to charge your electric car only during off peak hours (usually overnight). If your electricity supply takes advantage of solar panels, some chargers can link directly to the panels to use cheaper electricity when you are generating excess energy.
How do I get an electric car charging point installed at home?
Electric vehicle chargers are installed by government-approved installers. Installers are approved by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, OZEV (previously OLEV), who are the same body that administer the £350 electric vehicle homecharge scheme (EVHS) grant that is available to help with the cost of installation. We’ve partnered with Rightcharge – an EV charger comparison website – to help you find out which chargers are compatible with your electric car. After selecting your make and model of car, you’re able to compare all the features of the different chargers to understand which one is right for you. As well as providing information on the installation cost of different chargers in your local area, Rightcharge also shows user reviews so you can see how others have got on with a home charger you might be considering. To find and compare eligible chargers and get a quote, simply click on the link below.
How much does it cost to install an electric car charger?
The cost of EV charging units, including standard installation, starts from around £900. However, if you’re eligible for the £350 OZEV charger grant, this will bring the costs down to £550.
Exact charger costs will depend on the specification and sophistication of the charging unit that you choose. The latest high-end chargers cost up to £1,500, including a standard installation. Compatible chargers will vary depending on the brand and model of electric car that you are looking to lease, so do your research in advance to understand likely costs. For example, most Telsa owners tend to opt for the Tesla wall charger, but this does tend to come at a higher price point than other home charging points. So if you are looking to reduce the overall cost of charging at home then comparing other chargers on the market can be useful.
The cost of your charging unit will also depend on the complexity of the installation that you need. For example, if extra cabling is needed to reach your fuse box, or if you would like the installer to run the cable underground, instead of along the bottom of your wall, this will also increase costs. Occasionally, there may be other electrical equipment that needs upgrading in your home in order to install the charger in line with the latest safety regulations. Any extra costs will be included in the quote from your chosen installer.
After installation of the charger, you pay for the electricity you use to charge your car. The typical electricity rate in the UK is 16p per kWh (kilowatt-hour) according to the Energy Saving Trust. A typical electric car battery is 60kWh and will take around 8 hours and £9.60 for a full charge from empty-to-full, depending on the strength of the charging point you are using.
However, this can greatly vary based on the electricity tariff you are on. With some EV-friendly tariffs offering as low as 4.5p per kWh at off peak times meaning a full charge could cost only £2.70. This can offer a significant saving per charge and make a big difference in the long term. Rightcharge also compare EV tariffs so you can get the most out of your home charger and electricity tariff at the same time.
How can I save money on EV home chargers?
We’ve partnered with Rightcharge to help you make the process of finding the best deals on home chargers for electric vehicles as easy as possible.
The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) also offers two grants to help you save money. One grant towards the purchase price of a qualifying electric vehicle (up to £2,500) and a second grant towards the purchase price of an EV charger (up to £350) provided the charger is installed by an OZEV approved installer and will be used to charge a qualifying electric vehicle. Further information on the eligibility criteria for OZEV grants can be found here.
If you live in Scotland, not only can you take advantage of the £350 OZEV grant, but you may also be eligible for up to an additional £250 from the Energy Saving Trust (EST). To be eligible for this EST grant, you will need to request approval from the EST before the installation of your charger is carried out. More information on the EST grant can be found here. Any installer that you connect with via our partner, Rightcharge, will be EST approved.
How do I pick the right EV home charger for me?
The electric car charger that’s right for you will depend on a number of factors, including:
The make, model and year of production of your EV: some cars will only be compatible with certain types of chargers whereas the latest EVs can be used with high-end chargers featuring the latest technology. This is usually determined by the car’s socket type (more on that below),
A tethered or untethered charger: basically, whether you want your charger to come with a charging cable (tethered) or whether you want the flexibility to charge cars with different socket types (Type 1 and Type 2) from the same charger using different cables, in which case untethered may be the best option for you.
Most chargers are now ‘smart’ chargers as these are the chargers that qualify for the OZEV grant. Smart chargers can optimise the time they charge your car to make the most of off-peak rates and save you money. Smart chargers will also monitor the carbon intensity of the electricity grid and, if you want it to, charge your car when the cleanest electricity is being produced giving you that environmental feel-good factor.
The features you want included: the level of sophistication offered by chargers continues to increase. For example, if you have solar panels at your home, certain chargers can communicate with your solar system enabling you to direct any an excess solar energy to your charger to charge your car. Other chargers offer fuse protection (also known as load balancing) which will manage the rate at which your car is charged to ensure that your home doesn’t use too much power and blow your electrical fuses. These chargers are also useful if you think you may install a second charger in the future.
Aesthetics: if you’ve got the latest electric car sat on your drive you don’t want to let the side down with an ugly charger. There are some great examples of well-designed chargers that come with a cabinet to hide the charging cable and generally keep your property looking tidy. Some chargers also come with facial recognition to activate them and Alexa voice command control, as well as locks to prevent chargers being used while you’re away from home.
Price: your available budget and the price that you want to pay for your new charger will of course be an important factor. The cost of chargers ranges between £400-£1,600 including the £350 OZEV grant, and £750-£1,950 without the grant.
Do all electric cars use the same plug?
In short, no. Electric vehicles will use what is referred to as a Type 1 or Type 2 plug. Broadly speaking, Type 1 plugs were used on older electric vehicles. As technology has moved on, Type 2 plugs are now more commonly used on all new models.
Popular EVs that use a Type 1 plug:
- Nissan Leaf (to 2017 model)
- Toyota Prius
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Kia Soul
Popular EVs that use a Type 2 plug:
- Tesla Range
- Audi e-tron
- Nissan Leaf (2018 onwards)
- BMW i3
An untethered charger (one that doesn’t come with a prefixed cable) is recommended if you already have an EV that uses a Type 1 plug, as your next car is likely to have a Type 2 plug and it will save you having to replace your entire charger.
An untethered charger is also recommended if your car has a Type 2 plug because of the increased flexibility of those chargers.
Leasing an EV
Following the Government’s announcement that it will ban the sale of pure petrol and diesel engine new cars from 2030, the choice and availability of electric vehicles has rapidly grown. So too has consumer demand for EVs, and leasing is the perfect funding method to enable motorists to test out the very latest EV technology without long-term ownership commitments. In fact, demand for electric new cars on Leasing.com is outstripping EV demand in the overall new car market because of the flexibility consumers have in choosing the advance payment, term and mileage that suits their circumstances. Here’s the top 10 most popular electric cars (based on sales enquiry volumes) in 2021. Start your search for your next electric car here.
- Hyundai Ioniq
- Tesla Model 3
- Volkswagen ID.3
- Hyundai Kona
- Nissan Leaf
- Renault Zoe
- MG ZS
- Seat Mii
- Vauxhall Corsa-e
- Kia e-Niro