You can compare home charge points by using the Rightcharge system, but what should you look into when it comes to choosing your home charger? Here are 6 tips for choosing your home charge point.
Electric cars can be recharged for as little as £1.20 if you switch to a home electricity tariff with low overnight rates (a popular one is the Go tariff from Octopus Energy). You’ll also need something that can schedule your car so you don’t have to wake up in the early hours to unplug.
A smart charger can do this for you. Here’s a bit more information on smart features, plus some physical aspects of the charger to consider before choosing.
The Government grants (the £350 OLEV grant in the UK plus the £300 EST grant in Scotland) are only applicable to ‘smart’ charge points today so that’s already a good reason to go smart.
However, here are another three reasons why they could be a great choice:
- Smart charging. Consider this if you’re often parked at home over night. Smart charging means your charger can schedule your charge for the off-peak hours of your energy tariff. This can save you over £200 per year on charging and can mean you’re using electricity when the average carbon emissions from the UK’s grid are 25% lower (there’s more low carbon generation overnight than during the evening).
- Solar charging. Consider this if you have solar panels or are you considering them. These chargers can be told to wait until you’ve generated excess solar power before they start charging. They can of course just be told to charge as soon and as fast as possible if you just need the juice.
- Fuse protection. Consider this if you could be getting a second charge point one day. Your installer may also recommend it once you start speaking to them about your install if you already use a lot of electricity in the home. Chargers with fuse protection temporarily lower the power to your car if they notice that your home and car electricity usage is approaching the limit of your home’s fuse.
Some cars have settings that can schedule charging. However, the apps that allow you to control charging via your charge point today are more convenient and accurate, which can mean a bit less cost and carbon compared to using the car’s timer.
- Aesthetics. This is where it gets personal. Charge points come in different shapes, sizes and colours and they may be visible on the front of your house so it might make sense to get one that looks good! One of the smallest on the market is the EO Mini Pro. One of the highest quality finishes is the Andersen EV, which includes a storage compartment for the cable complete with a magnetic lid.
- The cable. ‘Tethered’ or ‘untethered’? Tethered means the charger comes with a cable permanently attached to plug into your car. Untethered means that it comes with no cable and you use your own to plug in at both ends. Tethered offers convenience (no need to grab your cable from the boot each time) but could mean you can’t charge a car with a different type of socket. There are only two types for home charging though – Type 2, which has become the new standard, and Type 1, which exists on some older cars, such as the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Untethered offers flexibility. You can use any charging cable, so you can charge a Type 1 or Type 2 car.
- Earth rod. Charge points need to be earthed for safety. Some have that technology within the charge point and others require an earth rod (a metal spike that goes into the ground). If you would prefer not to have a spike in the ground, plus the extra cabling involved, you can look for a charger that doesn’t require an earth rod.
You can find out if your car has Type 1 or Type 2 socket by clicking ‘Find my charger’ and checking the top of the results in the Rightcharge system.