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EV Charger Installation Process Pt 2: Charger Position

Choosing where your EV charge point will be installed is an important decision. Most people don’t realise how many factors there are to consider. Do you want your charger on a post? In your garage? Hidden away out of sight? Keep reading for everything you need to know when choosing your charger position. For more information on charger cable routes, see our other post here.


Where you will park your car


The first thing to consider is where you will park your car. This may seem obvious, but you need to ensure that the charging cable will reach your car’s port! Keep in mind that a standard tethered cable is usually 5.5 metres long. Ask yourself: do you usually back into your spot? Is your charging port at the front or back of the car?


As a quick reference, here are the lengths of the different chargers:


5.5 meters - EO Mini Pro, Ohme Home Pro, Andersen (upgradable)


6.5 meters - Zappi v2


8.5 meters - Andersen (upgraded)


These factors will help you determine both where your charger should go, and whether you need to upgrade to a longer cable. It is possible to upgrade your tethered cables to 10 metres, however, this will cost more. Also, if you might get a second EV car in the future, then you should consider where this will be parked and whether it will be worth investing in a longer lead early on.





Charging away from the charge point


In some cases, the car is parked a good distance away from the house. This might be the case if there is a flower bed or other obstruction between the wall of your house/garage and where you intend to park.


In these circumstances, there are three methods of getting the cable to the vehicle.




Firstly, you can have an Untethered / Universal charge point installed on the house and purchase an extra-long Type 2 cable. These can be bought in lengths up to 15m (but do bear in mind that anything more than 10m is quite bulky and difficult to manage). This extra-long cable can then be used to get from the charge point to where you park your car each time you need a charge. Quite a few of our customers who charge their cars on the street from their house use this approach.





Secondly, you can have a tethered charge point installed on the house and then have a 3rd party extra-long (e.g., 10m) tethered cable attached to the charge point. This is relatively simple and does save plugging both ends of the cable in each time you charge but you will need a hook to keep the cable neatly stowed when not in use.





Finally, the charge point can be mounted on a freestanding post away from the house. Here the cable is typically buried underground between the house and the charger post. Normally this is required if the car park space is away from the house and there is not a suitable wall for the charger to be mounted on. Whilst this is a more involved solution, it is often the best long-term solution, and sometimes the only one available.





Types of post


We typically recommend that the post is either a stainless-steel or treated timber sleeper. When correctly installed these can look very good and last for years.





Stainless steel posts come in either a round or square box section with cable entry holes at the base and the top, along with a mounting plate that is specific to the model of charge point that is being installed. They can be powder coated any colour you wish and can be made with bespoke base plates if required.







Treated timber sleepers are mounted vertically and most charge points can easily be mounted on the face of the timber. Do bear in mind that the cable will be more visible as it runs up the post to power the charge point and ensure that plenty of bitumen is applied to the timber section that is in the ground.


The posts themselves normally require mounting on their own concrete base. Occasionally there is a suitable kerb that a base plate can be mounted to but normally a concrete base is required. The posts can either be buried directly in the concrete base when it is poured or can be mounted with bolts to a base that is already cast. Of course, if the concrete is already set then a route for the cable will need to be provided.






We recommend installing an electrical Hockey stick within the concrete base for the power cable to run through. It makes installation easier and gives you more chance of removing the cable should this ever be required. If the concrete base and post are being installed before the power cable, then a Hockey stick is a necessity otherwise the cable won’t be able to be routed through the concrete!


Trenches: Posts and Detached Buildings


On several of our installations, the power supply to the charger cannot be clipped directly to a wall (or similar) and must be buried where it is crossing a path or some open ground. In these circumstances, it needs burying in a trench. This trench must be 400mm deep when crossing soft or unmade ground such as a lawn or flower bed. It can be slightly shallower than this when mechanical protection is given e.g., by some block paving that is re-laid over the trench. The width of the trench is largely immaterial as the cables are only ~18mm wide and to dig a trench sufficiently deep it will certainly end up wide enough for the cable!


(If you want more information on trenches, see the bottom of this post).*



Charger in the Garage


Many customers want their EV charge points to be installed in their garage. If your garage is attached to your house, then this is usually a simple process. However, if your garage is detached, it can become more complicated.


Quite often, the electricity supply to detached garages doesn’t have sufficient capacity to power car chargers. To solve this, we need to install a new supply cable to your garage. This can be done by either digging a trench across grassy areas or lifting patio slabs. Keep in mind that such a process can be costly, and we will need to talk through the best strategy with you.


Regulations


While you have the freedom to choose where to put your charger, there are some restrictions in place. There are two main restrictions to keep in mind.


Firstly, the charger must be placed in a location where the risk of vehicles hitting it is minimised. This means that it should not be too close to the ground, or directly in front of where cars park.


Secondly, the charger must not be in a location that is liable to flooding. Being open to the rain is fine, though.


Aesthetic


Many people try to conceal their EV charge point so that it can’t be seen. This may keep the outside of the house neat but can cause inconvenience if it is not easy to reach. Don’t forget that you will need to access this regularly! Try to balance the aesthetic appeal with convenience, by placing it somewhere easy to reach.


Many customers also like to keep the cabling around the exterior of the house to a minimum. The cable will run from the meter enclosure or consumer unit to the charge point, often along an external wall (learn more about this process here). The further the distance between your meter enclosure and EV charge point, the longer this cable will be.


Summary


There’s more to think about than you might expect when choosing the location of your EV charge point. However, if you follow the guidance in this post, then you should be able to keep your costs down and find the perfect spot for your charger.


Make sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram accounts for regular updates on our work.



*(Extra Trench Information)

Trenches are dug and left open for the cable to be dropped in during installation and then made good after installation. Alternatively, a duct and drawcord can be put in for the cable to be pulled through. A few rules if you are going down the ducting route:


1) The duct must be a minimum of 38mm internal diameter and must be smooth-walled. Less than this and the cable will not pull through – they might only be 18mm wide, but they do not run perfectly straight!


2) If the duct has any bends in it e.g. if the trench is going around the corner of a house then we recommend going up a size in diameter e.g. to 55mm or higher. You will regret skimping on diameter.

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