With the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars getting ever closer - just eight years away now - increasing numbers of drivers are considering electric cars.
Although there will still be many internal combustion engine cars on the road in 10 and even 20 years time, the shift to electric is gathering pace.
And therefore, the question of EV charging comes to the fore, with home charging the most common way currently for owners to top-up their car’s battery.
Here we walk you through the basics of home EV charging, including grants available, what is available for home installation, and how it will work with your electric car.
What is a home charge point?
A home charger - also often known as a wallbox - is a dedicated socket with which to recharge an electric vehicle. Although an EV will recharge from any three-pin socket, it’s best to have a properly designed point to plug in to, on grounds of safety and speed.
Charging a Jaguar I-Pace on a three pin-plug will take almost 40 hours for a full charge. Plug in to a slow home wallbox and that time is reduced to around 25 hours. Install a quicker - and more common - fast wallbox and that time s reduced less than 13 hours. The point offers greater protection from the elements for the plug and cable.
Types of home charge point
Broadly speaking there are two key types of home charge point, and each of these is divided into two further specifications. Speed is likely to be rated at either 3.6 kW (16A) or 7.2 kW (32A) - charging from a three-pin plug is usually restricted to 10A which averages 2.3 kW.
For those premises with three-phase supply - typically commercial locations - there is also the possibility to fit 11 kW or 22 kW charge points. Anything rated 7 - 22 kW is considered “fast”.
Tethered and untethered
After speed, there are two other considerations, each with its own benefits and downsides. Charge points can be either tethered or untethered.
A tethered charge point has a cable attached to it, ready to plug in to a nearby EV. This means drivers don’t need to take their cable out of their car, with it ready and waiting, often able to be wound up and stored neatly.
The issus is that it will only charge cars that take that type of attached plug. With almost all EVs now fitted with Type 2 AC inlets, it’s not much of an issue, but not every electric car will be able to charge at the point.
Untethered points are like those found in most public places. It’s a heavy-weight electric plug-socket, which allows the EV driver to plug in to it no matter what type of inlet it has… as long as they have the right cable. But most do.
So wallbox owners need to decide between flexibility and convenience, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
How much does a home EV charge point cost?
Prices for wallboxes will depend on the specification required; faster points will cost more than slower units. Customers can also pick between smart and simple points, which will alter the cost further.
Prices start at around £700-£800 for a fully-installed unit, though there are government grants available to reduce that cost a little - depending on situation.
Certain manufacturers will recommend, discount, or even provide a free charge point with an electric vehicle purchase/lease. It’s always worth shopping around for the best charger, unless the wallbox is provided free with the car - in which case you’re not going to find a better deal.
EV charger grants available
To help encourage the uptake of electric vehicles, the UK Government offers a variety of grants off the cost of both electric vehicles, and the home and workplace units that help charge them.
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) offers up to £350 or 75% off the cost of a fully installed charger, by an authorised installer. The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) offers the same amount per socket for workplaces.