It’s probably the question that we get asked the most by our customers so we’ve tried our best to answer it below – have a read and of course if it doesn’t quite answer your questions please just get in touch and we’ll be happy to talk through with you on the phone… or email if you’re not a phone person.
So, the first thing to remember when choosing a home charger for your car is that all home chargers will charge your car at the same rate. There are one or two exceptions to this but over 95% of our installations are for 7kw chargers using 32amps of current which equates to roughly 30 miles of charge added to your car’s battery for each hour of charge. You might see some chargers for sale that are advertised as ‘3.6kw’ or ‘22kw’ but these are very rarely actually installed and, in the case of the 22kw chargers <1% of domestic properties in the U.K. can support these (plus if you’re charging overnight like most people a 7kw charger will comfortably give you a full battery in the morning).
The second thing to remember is that almost all home chargers work for almost all makes and models of electric vehicle. With the exception of the pre-2018 Nissan Leaf every widely available EV from the little Renault Zoe to the big Tesla Model X uses a Type 2 charging cable and every home charger either has a Type 2 charging cable permanently attached (‘tethered’) or has a Type 2 socket which your vehicle’s charging cable plugs in to (‘un-tethered’).
So, given that they all largely charge at the same rate and are all suitable for nearly all vehicles what is the difference between them? Well we find that for most customers their decision is swayed by a combination of how the charger looks, how much it costs, how suitable it is for their property, whether the charger will work elegantly with the more advanced electricity tariffs such as Octopus Agile and, finally, whether it will play nicely with their Solar PV to allow free and green charge.
How it looks:
If your charger is going to be installed on the front of your property you will likely want it looking neat and unobtrusive. The smallest charger available is the EO Mini-Pro which is 17cm x 13cm x 10cm (about the size of a bag of pasta) for the untethered version. Of course the best looking charger on the market is the Anderson A2 – it comes in a number of different finishes to match your property and it looks like it was designed by an architect (probably because it was…) but those good looks don’t come for free…
An EO Mini-Pro is the smallest home charger available - here's one we recently installed in South London.
How much it costs:
We try to supply and fit a range of chargers at different price points from the Ohme Intelligent Wall Charger at £495.00 through to the Anderson A2 which starts at £1,045 (and we’ll match any equivalent quote on any of our chargers of course). One of the things that can most influence the cost of an install is if the property requires protection against what is known as a PEN fault – this is particularly important when dealing with electricity outside the home e.g. on a driveway. Some of the less expensive chargers such as the Rolec or Ohme do not provide PEN fault protection within the charger and must be fitted with a PEN fault detection device which can add £160 to the price of an install. Why don’t we include this £160 in our advertised price for these units? That’s because if the charger is being installed inside a garage or we can safely install an earth rod then the PEN fault device is not needed.
Is it suitable for your property?
Most properties in the U.K. have either a 60 Amp or 100 Amp main fuse. When having a new home charger fitted the ‘Maximum Demand’ (which is another way of saying ‘the maximum amount of electricity that a property is likely to use at once’) increases by 32 Amps and we therefore recommend customers who have a 60 Amp main fuse have this upgraded before getting their charger installed. This is done free of charge by your electricity network operator. If the customer has a 60 Amp fuse and the Maximum Demand when the charger is installed will be greater than 60 Amps then a charger that has load limiting capability (such as the Zappi) should be installed. These chargers include a CT clamp that measures the amount of electricity being used by the house and the charger combined and slows the charger down if required.
Will it work with my super fancy Electricity tariff?
Every home charger that we supply and install comes with the ability to schedule charging to suit your needs, this is normally done through an iOS or Android App. This means that if you are on a tariff that gives you better electricity rates at certain times (e.g. Economy 7 or some of the other tariffs that work alongside a Smart Meter such as Octopus Go) then you can schedule your car charge to coincide with this.
The exception to this is if you wanted to move to the Octopus Agile tariff which
requires your charger to be able to choose the best/cheapest 30 minute segments that are available for the next time you want to charge. It’s really smart and it will pick and choose the best value 30 minute slots throughout the day/night that will allow you to leave with a full charge the next morning. If you are after one of these tariffs then the Ohme Intelligent Wall Charger is for you.
Will it play nicely with my Solar PV?
If you are lucky enough to have Solar PV on your roof then you will probably be wanting to use this to charge up your car – it’s a great feeling driving around on your own free power! Technically all chargers will run off a solar PV system (just like your kettle) but the myenergi Zappi is definitely the best charger for a solar integration. It will let you prioritise charging for the sun is shining and will also let you ‘trickle’ charge when it’s a little more overcast!
This Zappi we recently installed was set up to prioritise charging when excess Solar PV was being generated.