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Charging an electric car at home

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Home charging is usually the cheapest and most convenient way of charging an electric car. We'll guide you through everything you need to know about charging an electric car at home, including how to do it, how much it costs and how long it takes.

Article contents 

  • How to charge an electric car at home
  • Choosing an EV home charging point 
    • Connector types 
    • Tethered vs untethered 
    • Power NI home EV charger 
  • Installing an EV home charging point
    • Who can install an EV charger 
    • EV charger installation costs 
    • EV charger installation process 
  • Using an EV home charging point
    • When to charge an EV
    • How long to charge an EV 
    • Charging multiple EVs 
  • Power NI electric vehicle tariff 

 

How to charge an electric car at home

Electric cars can be charged at home using a standard three-pin plug or, more commonly and more efficiently, a home charging point.

  • Although all electric cars come with a three-pin charger, this should only be used as a last resort. Wall chargers are equipped with built-in safety features designed for the high load of charging an electric car. 
  • Charging with a home charging point is much faster. Most chargers are now rated at 7kW, while a three-pin charger only charges at 2.3kW.
  • Home charging points can be installed in garages or on exterior walls of your property. They should only be installed by specialist installers.
  • Home chargers are available with Type 1 or Type 2 connectors, so you'll need to choose a charger with the right connector for your electric car.


Benefits of charging an electric car at home 
 

Quick Easy Safe Cheaper
Home chargers are quicker than many three-pin chargers — saving you time and money. It’s most convenient to charge your car while it’s parked up for the night. Simply park in your usual spot and charge overnight. Charge somewhere you’re comfortable, and your car isn’t at risk of bumps, scrapes and vandalism. Charging at home lets you take advantage of cheaper, off-peak rates — like Power NI’s EV tariffs — to charge your car.

Choosing a home EV charging point 

When installing a home EV charging point, it's important to choose a charger that meets your needs. There are a couple of key considerations here.

EV connector types
Different electric vehicles have different connector types. Different EV charging points have different connectors, too. Just as you wouldn’t want to buy an Apple charger for your Android phone, you need to make sure you’re getting a home charging point that has the right connection for your vehicle. Most chargers will come with either a Type 1 or Type 2 connector, so check which one works with your car.

Tethered vs untethered
EV home chargers can be either tethered or untethered. With tethered chargers, the cable is attached and supplied as part of the wall unit. Untethered chargers give you the flexibility to change the cable and connector without replacing the full charger. Most home chargers are tethered.

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The key benefit of tethered chargers is that the cable is included in the price and delivery of the charger. They are secure, permanently attached and charging is as simple as plug and go. But the cable length is limited to what is supplied by the manufacturer and you will be restricted to either Type 1 or Type 2 connectors. Changing to a different connector will involve installing a new charging station.

The benefits of untethered chargers are that you can simply use the cable supplied with your car or buy a new cable if you need a longer cable or a different connector. You can also easily disconnect the cable for tidy storage or to take the charging cable away when you travel. But buying the cable is usually a separate expense when buying the charger. Also, the cable needs to be attached and detached every time you charge, which makes it slightly less convenient and more prone to damage.

Power NI EV home charger
Tethered or untethered? Whatever you decide is right for your home, the versatile, compact and smart Power NI EV Home Charger has got you covered.

  • The world’s smallest smart home charger for a tidy, discreet installation
  • Smart dynamic load management to balance the power around your home
  • Safe and secure locking feature to stop other people using your charger
  • Choice of tethered or untethered charger
  • Free survey to check your installation requirements

 

Installing EV chargers at home

Installing an electric vehicle charger at home is definitely not a DIY job. The installation should be completed by a qualified electrician, ideally one with specialist training in EV charger installations. When preparing to install your EV charger:

  • Check on the cost of your installation. We offer a free survey so you know in advance whether your property is suitable for a standard installation or whether extra work is needed.
  • Decide whether you want an indoor or outdoor charger installation. Indoor offers more security and shelter, while outdoor might give you more options when choosing the best location.
  • Consider any complications related to your installation. You can install an EV charger even if you’re renting or have no driveway but you might need to think about how you’ll run the charging cable to your car without causing an obstruction.
  • Look for any EV grants to help with installation costs. At the time of writing, EV charger installation grants in NI are only available if you live in a flat, live in a rental property or are a landlord.   

Once you’ve checked those things, you can get ready for your EV charger installation. The installation process varies between different companies and chargers, but here’s a step-by-step guide to installing a Power NI EV charger.

  1. Fill out a short form to register your interest in installing an electric car charger at home.
  2. Our installation partner will visit you to complete a free survey and provide a quotation for the installation. They will be able to discuss installation locations and help you decide the best place to put your charger. The survey will usually be within nine days of you registering your interest.
  3. After the survey, our installation partner will be in touch to arrange your installation. This will depend on whether your home is suitable for a standard installation or whether additional work is required as part of the installation.
  4. Clear the area around your charger location and your electricity consumer unit to get it ready for installation. Have your Wi-Fi password handy so that your installer can connect your smart charger to the internet.
  5. Your installer will visit you on the agreed date to install your home charger. This will involve drilling and attaching your charger to the wall, connecting it to your electricity supply, testing the connection and giving you a demonstration. For standard installations, this will only take a couple of hours.
  6. You will then be ready to start charging your electric car at home.


When you're ready our installation partner can provide an EV charger survey and quotation.
 

How to use an EV home charger 

Once your EV home charger is installed, it’s really simple to use. You’ll just need to follow the demonstration given by your installer and the instructions from your vehicle manufacturer to plug in and start charging. 

Most people use an EV home charger similar to how you might use a mobile phone charger. You’ll give your car a full overnight charge each night, then top up during the day as needed.

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How often to charge an electric car at home
How often you charge your electric car at home will depend on your use. If you’re travelling considerable distances every day, you will probably fully charge it every night. If you’re coming home with your battery still 70-80% charged, you might not need to charge it. You can adjust your charging to match your travel plans for the following day.

Maintaining charge at around 80% is thought to prolong EV battery life, so you might want to consider charging to that level instead.

How long to charge an electric car at home
The length of time it takes to charge your electric car will depend on the current battery level, the level of charge you want, and the size of the battery. 

With a standard 7kW charger, an electric car with a 40kW battery will take less than six hours to go from empty to fully charged. A larger 100kW battery would take 14 hours to charge fully. If you’re only charging to 80% to protect the battery, the charging time required will be shorter.

With a 7kW charger, you will add up to 30 miles of range for every hour your electric car is on charge. So even an hour or two on charge is plenty for most people’s daily travel.

How to charge more than one electric car at home
There are a couple of ways of charging more than one electric car at home. The first is to simply take turns. If you don’t need to fully charge both cars every night, this is quite easy to do. This is the best option for most households with more than one electric car.

If you regularly need to charge two electric cars at the same time, you will need to install an extra home charger. By installing a charger with load balancing, you will be able to charge both cars at the same time without overloading your electricity supply.

Power NI electric vehicle tariffs

We understand that overnight charging at home is the best option for most electric car owners, so we’re helping to make it more cost-effective and convenient. With Power NI electric vehicle tariffs, you get cheaper overnight charging rates that can halve the cost of a full charge. 

Take a look at our electric vehicle tariffs to see how they’d work for you.