How to choose your electric car charger

So, you’ve ‘gone green’ and bought your first electric car. Fantastic, welcome to the future. Clean, quiet and ultra-low cost powered transport is all yours.

But wait, what about getting some more of this lovely clean power, commonly referred to as electricity, when you’ve used what you had in your car to begin with? Where do you get it and who from? And even, where from?

An obvious option is to get your car charged up at one of the many destination locations with their own chargers. Destinations include supermarkets, public car parks etc. The good news is that their chargers use higher powered electricity and that means you car can charge very quickly.

Obviously, each car has a different sized battery, and some batteries, with newer technology charge at different speeds. But whatever electric car you have, you will receive a very fast charge. Great!

But wait, this means you have to drive to a destination and then wait for your car to charge. Even with the fastest chargers, this can take well over and hour, sometimes much longer if you have a larger electric vehicle. If you like hanging around supermarkets or public car parks you’ll be fine but if not you’ll want a better way.

You’ll want to charge your car at home.

But that’s slow, surely? You’re right, but only if you are using a cable attached to a standard 3-pin electrical socket. These sockets are designed for toasters, hair dryers, and lawnmowers. They are not designed to charge a large battery.

They can, of course, but it could take all night to charge your car that way and that’s not very convenient for most people.

So, you’re now into the world of electric car home chargers.

Let us explain what these are (don’t worry, we’ll keep the jargon to a minimum). Essentially these are high powered outdoor electrical sockets. These ‘sockets’ are designed to connect directly to your consumer unit (fuse box) and charge your car much faster than using a 3-pin socket.

They are not as fast as the big chargers you see in car parks, supermarkets etc. because those use a different type of electricity. But they are still fast chargers.

How fast? There are typically 2 power options for home chargers: 3.6kW and 7.2kW. The 7.2kW is the most popular and one of these will add around 30 miles of range per hour.

It’s worth pointing out that if you only have 90 miles of range possible with your car when it is fully charged, this will take longer than 3 hours from completely flat because charging rates always slow down when they get close to fully charged.

Ok, so now you know all about home chargers. So, which one should you buy? What are the differences?

 Size

Chargers vary in size and looks and colours. From a purely aesthetic viewpoint, what do you want? Do you want a large bright charger on the wall of your home, proudly proclaiming your move into the EV future? Or do you want something discreet and subtle? Its personal choice for you here, just choose the one you prefer.

How fast?

For your home you typically have 2 options. A 3.6kW charger or a 7.2kW charger. Predictably, the 7.2kW charger charges your car twice as quickly. For a 3.6kW charger you can add 15 miles of range per hour whilst a 7.2kW will double this.

Go for the 7.2kW. Why? Because often the cost difference is small and, as the world moves more and more into electric vehicles with even larger and more powerful batteries, you won’t be left having to upgrade to a more powerful charger in the future.

Here at Chargebase, the majority of the chargers we fit are 7.2kW.

OLEV Approval

OLEV, the government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicle’s, provides subsidies for new charger installations in your home. These are subject, predictably, to you meeting some key requirements ranging from actually owning and electric car to having a private space to charge it.

However, also, OLEV only provide subsidies for approved chargers. Make sure yours meets their criteria (ours do!) as without it your installation will be considerably more costly. As one prime example, Tesla chargers have not been approved by OLEV (but other chargers such as our Mini home charger will do the same job much more cost effectively).

Delivery times

With demand increasing all the time some suppliers/installers have long delivery times. Plan ahead or find one who can fit it sooner.

Anything else?

All the main chargers on the market will be robust, strong and designed to take many years of use if installed professionally, by companies specialising in their fitment

We hope this has helped and if you are looking for further information on this subject or would like to talk to us about getting a home electric car charger fitted, just call us today on 01252 933 273.

 

 

 

 

Our customers say...

“Thank you so much for our charger. Your installer was really nice and helpful and did an excellent job.
He was great. I’ll recommend you to other people without a doubt!”
- Mr Paul Hewitt, Farnborough.

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