Skip advert
Advertisement

Home electric car chargers: how to choose a wallbox and have it installed

If you’ve got an electric car and somewhere to park it at home, a home electric car charger is a great idea.

For most people, charging at home through a wallbox charger is by some margin the easiest way to top up your car’s batteries.

According to the Government’s Go Ultra Low campaign, up to 90 per cent of electric vehicles are charged at home. However, it can take a long time to top up your batteries when using a standard domestic plug. So, to speed up the process, many owners invest in a charging unit known as a wallbox.

These discreet wall-mounted (as the name suggests) boxes (again, it’s in the name) can be connected to your existing home electricity supply without too much trouble. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

You’ll need some form of off-street parking, but within reason, your new wallbox can be placed exactly where you want it. Better still, there are dozens of units to choose from. 

Pick one of the latest ‘smart’ wallboxes and you could be eligible for a government grant of up to £350, allowing you to make best use of off-peak electricity tariffs by programming your car to charge at times when demand on the National Grid is low.

Typically, this will be overnight, effectively allowing you to refuel your car while you sleep. At that cheaper rate, topping up a standard Nissan Leaf could cost as little as £4 – or just over 2p per mile. Most wallboxes will supply alternating current (AC) at a maximum of 7.4kW; a normal three-pin plug is limited to 3kW, although car manufacturers don’t recommend using these long-term, because this can cause damage to the socket due to the high amperage drawn over a sustained period of time.

Faster (up to 22kW) three-phase set-ups are available if your home circuit will allow, but the idea of rapid direct current (DC) charging is almost exclusively reserved for public charging stations – for the time being, at least – where speeds of 50 or 100kW are common, and figures of up to 350kW are possible.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

All wall chargers come with either a Type 1 or Type 2 cable. It’s more likely to be the latter, because these are currently accepted by all PHEVs and EVs sold in the UK. Once you’ve checked the cabling will fit, it’s time to look at how fast you’d like your car to charge. Think about how you intend to use the charger, cross-referencing with the size of the battery fitted to your car. A plug-in hybrid will charge fully overnight on a 7kW charger, while some larger-battery EVs may need longer.

The higher the power, the more the unit will cost. Wallbox providers will also arrange installation, and this process is usually included in the price. One company says 90 per cent of customers qualify for free standard installation, although some will need to pay extra. 

You’ll need to satisfy a series of safety checks, but once that’s complete, a certified technician can usually get your wallbox set up in a few hours. From here, you’ll be able to charge your car quickly and easily when you’re at home.

How does the home wallbox charger installation work?

  • Handover - Your wallbox supplier will arrange for your unit to be delivered
  • Fitting -  The installer will drill through the outside wall to allow the wallbox to be connected to the electric supply
  • Connected -  Your new wallbox is wired into the household mains via the consumer unit
  • Features -  Most wallboxes have WiFi connections to let you monitor usage, Units made after 1 January, 2019, have a ‘fuse saver’ to prevent circuits from tripping
  • In control -  Connecting your wallbox to the internet will let you monitor how much electricity you’re using and how much it is costing you to charge your car

What home charger grants and tax breaks are available? 

New EVs costing less than £50,000 are eligible for the government’s £3,000 plug-in car grant. Yet whether you buy new or used, plug-in hybrid or fully electric, you can also apply for a government subsidy towards the cost of a home wallbox. There are a few criteria you must meet, but if you tick the boxes, it could make charging your low-emissions model quicker, cheaper and more convenient.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) oversees the grant, which will cover 75 per cent (up to the value of £350) of the cost of buying and installing a ‘smart’ wallbox charger. These cost from around £300, and let you take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity tariffs.

Find out about the best public charge point providers in the uk here...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Continue Reading
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Electric car charging in the UK
Fiat 500 connected to a Gridserve rapid charger
Tips & advice

Electric car charging in the UK

Keeping your EV battery topped-up is easier than ever. Here’s all you need to know about charging an electric car today
9 Apr 2024
Volkswagen ID. Buzz review
Volkswagen ID. Buzz - front tracking
In-depth reviews

Volkswagen ID. Buzz review

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is arguably the most convincing electric car from the company yet
5 Apr 2024
Charging to the Alps in the mind-blowing Rimac Nevera EV hypercar
Rimac Nevera EV hypercar - Dynamic front 3/4

Charging to the Alps in the mind-blowing Rimac Nevera EV hypercar

Can an electric car be a genuine grand tourer? We take a Nevera to the Alps to find out
29 Mar 2024
New Audi A3 still planned: entry-level EV to give affordability edge over BMW and Mercedes
Audi A3 EV render - front
News

New Audi A3 still planned: entry-level EV to give affordability edge over BMW and Mercedes

Audi will persevere with its plan for an entry-level electric car to replace the existing Audi A3 at a time when rivals will be exiting that market
20 Mar 2024

Most Popular

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind
Dacia Duster - tailgate
News

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind

The value brand’s new warranty is also available on used cars, as well as for existing Dacia customers
16 Apr 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month
Mercedes EQC - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month

Mercedes’s EQC showed that the German firm was serious about electric cars and it’s our Car Deal of the Day for Monday 15 April
15 Apr 2024
New Nissan Qashqai gets angry, as best-selling family SUV receives aggressive facelift
Nissan Qashqai reveal - front
News

New Nissan Qashqai gets angry, as best-selling family SUV receives aggressive facelift

In addition to its new much sharper design, the Qashqai now features Google apps and voice assistant built in
17 Apr 2024