Electric Car Charger Installation: A Complete Guide

 

Electric cars in the UK are on a firm upward trajectory. As of September 2022, nearly 140,000 fully electric cars have been sold in the UK, bringing the total to 470,000 (as well as 790,000 plug-in hybrids). That’s still some distance short of the millions of petrol-driven cars but the only way is up – especially when you consider that by 2030, no more all-petrol or diesel vehicles will be available for purchase in the UK. There has simply never been a better time to go electric.

Charging is central to the usage of electric vehicles (EVs). Without a charged battery, your shiny new vehicle won’t be moving an inch beyond your curbside or garage. But how exactly is this done?

Can you install an EV charging point at home?

Yes, you can. The two main ways of charging an electric vehicle are: at home or on the road. Public charging points are used to top up EV batteries when out and about – and, remarkably, there are now more than 34,000 across no less than 20,500 locations. That’s almost four times the number of petrol stations in the whole of the country!

But most EV recharging takes place at home. There are two simple reasons for this: convenience and cost. Although infrastructure is improving monthly, drivers cannot always be sure they will find a public charging point when they need one, and there is also the waiting time for the charge to complete, which is harder to accommodate when you’re away from home. Instead, most people simply plug in their vehicles when they get home at night, then wake to a full battery the following morning.

Using an electric car home charger reduces the already low cost of EV power even further, especially if the driver’s home electricity tariff includes a lower rate. A full battery, giving an average driving range of 200 miles, should cost less than £20.

Points to consider before trying to install an EV charge point

Where do you want to install the device in your home? Will it be on full display or hidden?

What is the distance between the location of your charger and the charging port on your car, when the latter is parked in its usual location?

Where on the car body is the charging port located? Is this spot relatively easy to access and will it affect the location of your charger? You don’t want the charging cable to be too exposed or stretched as they can present a tripping hazard.

Is your preferred location relatively close to your Wi-Fi router? You will need a Wi-Fi link if you plan to use ‘smart’ features such as app control.

Finally, do you want a tethered or untethered charger? A tethered charger has a cable attached, an untethered one does not.

The advantages of an untethered charger include:

  • It looks tidier with no coiled cable on the front
  • You’ll be able to use your home charger with a new car should you opt for an upgrade later, even if the new vehicle requires a different charging plug

The principal disadvantage is the need to supply your own cable. Most EVs come with a charging cable, but you’ll need to carry this in the boot of your car and then reattach it to the charger every evening, then tidy away again in the mornings. Replacement cables can cost around £100.

The advantages of a tethered charger include:

  • Coiled cables provide greater flexibility and can be extended further than fixed length detachable cables
  • There’s no need to carry a cable in the boot of your vehicle unless you know you may need to use a public charging point

On the downside, you may be left with an obsolete charger if industry standards change (though this isn’t likely at the moment).

Can you install an EV charge point yourself?

No, you cannot – unless you are a properly qualified electrician that is. Like any other electrical device, a home charging point could be a significant safety hazard if installed incorrectly. Instead, hire a suitably qualified professional. Specialists are the best choice, as not all electricians will be familiar with the technology.

Professional installation adds to the cost in the short term but it provides valuable reassurance. In addition, the manufacturer’s warranty may be voided by DIY installation.

How much does it cost to have an EV charge point professionally installed?

Electric car charger installation is a complex job that involves surveying your home, setting up the charger in a suitable location, then running secure cabling between the unit and your fuse box, which may be as much as 30+ feet away. This all means that electric car charger installation typically costs around £850+. While this is not a small outlay, professional installation will almost always pay for itself eventually. Except in rare instances, you will have no repairs to commission, and you will be making considerable savings on fuel. As we all know, petrol and diesel are heavily taxed and a major component of the cost of running a car. With a hybrid, you will not need as much – and with an all-electric vehicle, you will (of course) need none at all.

Can you get government assistance in installing an EV charge point?

If you are a homeowner who owns and lives in a flat, or you live in rental accommodation, you may be eligible for the UK Government’s EV chargepoint grant. The grant provides a 75% contribution of up to £350 to the cost and installation of one chargepoint, and replaces the previous Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. 

Installing EV charge points at your business

Many of the above principles apply to the installation of EV charging points for your business, except safety concerns should be an even higher priority because the points will be used by multiple individuals.

Installation by fully qualified engineers is essential to meet applicable regulation.

If you’re installing multiple, you may also be able to negotiate a reduced rate from the supplier and installation engineers. Bulk discounts can make a big difference to business overheads.

Interested in getting an electric car for your business on subscription? Speak to our EV Specialists who can recommend where best to look to get your charge point from.

FAQs

Can you install an EV charging point at home?

Yes, you can, however it’s recommended that you hire a qualified professional to do this for you.

How much does it cost to have an EV charge point professionally installed?

Electric car charger installation typically costs around £850+, however this can vary depending on the complexity of your installation, and the charging unit you choose.

What type of charger will I need for my electric car?

The most common type of EV charging cable plug in the UK is the Type 2 design, which replaced the older, slower, Type 1. However, these can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (as some use CHAdeMO connectors instead).

Not sure what that all means? Check out our Electric Car Jargon Buster.

How do I find an electric car charger installation engineer?

There are a few ways you can find good quality EV charger installation engineers, including:

  • Electric car dealerships
  • Recommendations from online electric car owner communities
  • Searching online for reviews of your local engineers

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