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Electric expert offers top tips on getting your home EV ready
The government is pushing to halt production of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, so there will be increasingly more choices of EV coming onto the market soon.
Thinking of getting your home EV ready?
Well, you won’t be alone. Many Brits want to live more sustainably. Google data reveals an overall increase in EV interest across the UK. From last September to now, the term ‘EV’ has seen a 41% increase in UK Google searches. ‘Electric vehicles’ have seen a 50% increase, whilst ‘electric car’ has seen 77% and ‘car charging’ has seen a huge 104% increase.
Anticipating the right time to make the move to electric can be daunting. To help with a smoother transition, we spoke to Joshua Gardner from Point Electrical who answers pressing questions on EVs and has offered his top tips on getting your home EV ready.
Will EV chargers become the norm? When do we expect to switch to EV being the norm?
“The government has said all new vehicle purchases will be electric by 2030, so yes EVs will become the norm - if not within the next ten years then soon after that. There’s increasing conversation about making EV charging ports standard in all new builds, but this hasn’t passed into law yet.”
Why is it important for home owners or builders to future proof in this way?
“It’s better to be ahead now - you want to meet government legislation when it comes into force, it’ll be the industry standard soon. It will give builders a USP with buyers if they’re ahead of the curve and shows them as being innovative and using their initiative.”
What type of chargers will most homes need? What are the different chargers available, how much do they cost? Could you break down the most common or standard chargers most homes will need?
“In layman's terms it’s an external wall-mounted charging point with either a tethered or socket outlet. Most common connection type is called Type 2. The majority of domestic EV charging stations are rated around 7Kw, (32amps single phase).
“Some of the extra options available are comms-enabled (WiFi/ethernet or SIM card) which would allow external comms for reporting/control etc. There’s also an RFID card which enables you to activate a charger. A basic charger you could buy for £565 plus install.
“I would add that you can find much cheaper offers online, but would warn customers to be wary as they may be using very cheap chargers which wouldn’t have any up-to-date, relevant extra protection and would possibly be very poorly installed. The chargers we use and instal all comply with current IET wiring regulations. Electrical governing bodies in the UK such as the NICEIC and OZEV are currently running a big drive to review and monitor installations more closely as recent reports show a large majority of EV installations are sub-standard and don’t comply with current regulations.
If the cost seems too good to be true - it usually is!”
What are the cost advantages of installing EV capabilities during construction, rather than retrofitting down the line? Which is the better option? Will EV requirements be added into building codes? Are new homes required to be EV ready?
“Whilst there’s conversation about getting homes EV ready, it’s not become law for new builds yet. It will in time however, especially as more of us get electric cars. An EV charger needs dedicated supply back to the main fuse board, and it’s much easier to install this during construction rather than fitting them retroactively.The cost to put infrastructure in place during new build would be half the cost of fitting after completion and would be far neater, with cables being concealed.”
If not going the full charger route, how can we pre-wire our homes to be EV ready?
“Running a dedicated cable from the fuse board to the garage or front of the property - or most suitable location for an EV charging point along with a network cable back to the main router - is what we’re doing at the moment for customers.”
5 Top Tips to Get Your Home EV Ready
1. Do You Have Space?
It sounds obvious, but if you want to install an EV charger at home you’re going to need space! There’s no sense in installing an EV charger if you haven’t got anywhere off the street to charge up. If you’re in a rented property, this is something you’d need to discuss with your landlord.
2. How Fast?
How quickly do you want your car to charge? This is one of the key things to think about. UK power outputs generally range between 3.6kW to 7.4kW, and up to 11kW and 22kW. This is AC, not DC, and it’s DC that is used in rapid chargers. This is the figure you find EV manufacturers will shout about by the way! Whilst a 22kW charger will be quicker, it’s not something most EVs or even most homes will be able to support.
3. Do You Want a Smart Wallbox?
There are different kinds of chargers to consider - a regular charger and more advanced, ‘smart’ charger with which you can do more, i.e. set it to charge at different times (scheduling) to make the most of cheaper energy rates. These smart chargers are generally much more expensive however.
4. To Tether or Untether?
Have you considered whether you want to be tethered or untethered? Tethered means you’ll have a cable permanently attached to the electric charger or whether they want to bring their own cable and plug in every time. Think of it like having a charger by your bed for your phone, or bringing one with you every time instead. Although, untethered enables you to just replace the cable/plug yourself if it gets damaged instead of needing to call out an electrician. Again, you’re looking at convenience vs cost, as tethered will be more expensive.
5. Have You Considered Grants?
The government wants us to go greener, and so there’s a grant called the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme which offers funding up to 75% of the cost of installing an EV charger at home, up to a cost of around £350 including VAT. The grant covers the majority of electric cars so check if you’re eligible. The main requirements are that the customer owns the car and has off- street parking. The wallbox installed has to be smart too.
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