How to Efficiently Charge Your Electric Vehicle at Home
Owning an electric vehicle (EV) has revolutionized the way we approach daily transportation. Gone are the days of solely relying on petrol stations for refueling; now, EV owners have the convenience of charging their cars at home. With a simple indoor or outdoor setup, you can ensure your EV is always ready for your next adventure, waiting silently on your driveway.
Understanding Home EV Charging
Charging your EV at home is as straightforward as plugging in your smartphone or tablet. However, the process varies depending on the level of charging solution you use. Home EV chargers typically fall into two categories: level 1 and level 2, each differing in power output and charging speed.
Level 1 charging operates on a 120-volt, 20-amp circuit, delivering a 1.4kW output. This method is commonly used by plugging into a standard household outlet or a garage’s dryer outlet, providing a steady trickle of power to your EV.
On the other hand, level 2 charging operates on a 208-240-volt system with a 40-amp circuit, delivering an output of 6.2 to 7.6kW, depending on the specific unit. Unlike level 1 charging, a level 2 charger significantly reduces charging time, taking approximately 4-5 hours to fully charge your EV or slightly longer for those with longer-range batteries.
In summary, level 1 chargers add about 4 miles of range per hour, while level 2 chargers can add approximately 25 miles of range per hour. Level 1 chargers usually come as standard with your EV purchase, while level 2 solutions need to be purchased separately and often require professional installation by a qualified electrician. Moreover, level 2 chargers can support multiple EVs charging from a single unit.
Choosing the Right Home Charging Solution
Selecting the appropriate charging solution largely depends on your driving habits. If you frequently drive long distances and require a reliable charge, a level 2 home charger is the ideal choice. However, if you use your EV sparingly, the standard level 1 charger that comes with your vehicle will suffice for keeping it charged when not in use.
Installing a Level 2 Charger
While some enthusiasts might consider installing their own level 2 wall box, it is recommended to hire a professional electrician for this task. Incorrect installations can be hazardous and lead to potential dangers. Various service providers, such as Pod Point and Webasto, offer installation services for home chargers.
Avail of OLEV Homecharge Scheme
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (connected to the Department of Transport) provides a special grant under the OLEV Homecharge Scheme. This grant reduces the cost of a home charging solution by ₤350 for eligible applicants. If you’re working with a provider like Pod Point, they can assist with the claim process on your behalf, making it easier for you to get the subsidy.
To be eligible for the scheme, you must fulfill three main criteria:
A. Have dedicated off-street parking.
B. Be a first-time claimant for the EV charging grant.
C. Not exceed the limit of two OLEV charging points per household.
Charging Without Off-Street Parking
For those without off-street parking, various alternative charging options exist:
Charge Points at Work: If your workplace has a parking facility where your car sits idle during the day, consider advocating for the installation of charge points. This option allows you to charge your EV during work hours instead of overnight.
Lamp Post Chargers and Pop-up Chargers: Some councils are experimenting with innovative solutions like lamp post chargers and pop-up chargers. Lamp post chargers draw power from existing street lamps, while pop-up chargers remain underground until needed for use.
Kerbside Home Charging: In certain areas, councils have collaborated with residents to safely install charging units right outside their homes. These charge points draw power from the residents’ houses, providing a practical solution for on-street charging.
Growing Public Charging Infrastructure: The UK continues to expand its public charging infrastructure, with thousands of new charge points added each year. Fast public chargers can add up to 100 miles of range in under 20 minutes, offering a convenient option for on-the-go charging.
Considering Your EV’s Battery Health
When exploring home charging options, keep these two factors in mind to ensure the longevity of your EV’s battery:
Opt for Slower Charging: Faster and more powerful charging solutions may strain the battery over time. Whenever possible, opt for slower charging to extend battery life.
Charge Between 20% and 80%: Charging from zero to full puts additional stress on the battery. It’s recommended to maintain your charge between 20% and 80% for better battery health. Even Elon Musk himself recommends this practice for long-term battery maintenance.
By embracing home charging and following these charging practices, you can maximize the efficiency and lifespan of your EV’s battery while enjoying the convenience of electric vehicle ownership.