When buying an electric vehicle, it is practical to have a home charger installed as well. Using a dedicated home charging point is the faster, safer and more convenient way of charging your EV.
While you can opt to plug your car into a typical 3-pin domestic socket using a Granny cable, it is not the fast and hassle-free method. Level 1 charging is a torturously slow process that can take up to 4 times longer. Furthermore, household sockets cannot withstand the high levels of long-term EV charging.
Installing an EV home charging station is the smart choice! They are also very affordable with the €300 SEAI Grant for electric car owners planning to install chargers at home.
For a first-time buyer, choosing a charging unit can be as confusing as picking your EV given the various options available in the market today. So, we’ve put together a guide on how to select the right charger for you.
Amperage Capacity of EV Home Chargers
You need to pick a charger with a current or amperage level that suits your car’s capacity. In Ireland, the home chargers sold are typically 16Amps that can supply 3.6kW and 32Amps that can supply 7.4kW.
The recommendation nowadays is to purchase a charger that outputs 7.4 kW, even if your car has a lower powered inverter on board. This way you will not have to upgrade in a few years when you do get an EV with a higher power capability.
When having a charger installed at home It is highly recommended to also incorporate Load Balancing into the installation. Load Balancing uses a second piece of equipment that monitors the total power that your house is using and will automatically reduce the power to the car at any times that your house requires it, for a shower, electric oven or pump for example. This means your house will always get priority and your main fuse will always be protected.
Safety and Durability of EV Home Chargers
Choose a charger that has been fully tested and certified to be safe. Keep in mind, the charger is going to deliver a high amount of power to your EV for several hours every night. You want to be certain that you can leave and charge your vehicle without problems cropping out.
It is also important that the product is built to last many years. It needs to be weather-proof, especially if you are going to install it outdoors.
Nowadays, there are many companies, including start-ups, making EV chargers, but not all of them produce high-quality products. Make sure you choose a device that is manufactured by a reputable company – one known for its safe and durable chargers. Search online to determine which brands of chargers are proven to be safe and durable.
EV Home Charger Price
For most people, price is the top consideration when buying an electric vehicle charger. With the wide selection of products sold in the market today, you would certainly find an EV home charger that fits your budget.
While price is an important factor, you should not choose a device just because it is the cheapest. You need to put more weight on the quality of the product. You have likely spent quite a lot of money on your new EV – what good is buying a low-priced charger if it is not going to function properly or last long?
Remember, there is the SEAI Vehicle Home Charger Grant which makes it possible for you to purchase high quality devices without breaking the bank.
The price of the unit depends on various factors such as the amperage level and features available. It should also be noted that, on top of the charger, you are also going to spend on the installation.
To know exactly how much you are going to spend, it is best to request for a quote from a reputable charging provider.
Tethered & Untethered EV Chargers
A tethered point has a charging cable attached to itself. Using this type of device is straightforward – just uncoil the cable and plug it into your EV. It is also secure since removing the cable from the charging unit is not possible.
In addition, you do not have to purchase a separate charging cable since the charger already has one. But you would not be able to use the cable anywhere else since it is attached to the device.
Many EV owners find tethered home chargers very convenient. But using this type of charger has its disadvantages, one of which is the lack of flexibility. If you need a longer cable, you cannot simply change the cable. You have to replace the entire unit.
Similarly, you cannot switch between a Type 1 and a Type 2 cable if you have a tethered charger. If you currently own a Type 1 charger and plan to buy a new car that’s Type 2, then you have to get a new charger, too.
Meanwhile, if you prefer a device that is a bit more flexible, an untethered charger is the right choice for you. This type of charger does not have an integrated cable which means you have to purchase one. This isn’t a problem since brand new EVs come with a cable nowadays. Also, you can buy one from companies that sell high-quality charging cables like ePower.
Since no cable is permanently attached to the unit, you are not restricted to a single type of connector which is beneficial if you have both Type 1 and Type 2 cars. Also, in case you need a longer cable, there is no need to change the entire unit.
The main disadvantage of owning an untethered charger is security as it is easy to remove the charging cable. The other drawback is the inconvenience of coiling it up and storing it after use.
The best choice depends on what you think is the most beneficial one for you. If convenience is your priority, then a tethered EV home charger is undoubtedly what you should buy. But if flexibility is your main concern, then go for an untethered charging unit.
Warranty and Customer Support
Check the warranty and support available for the home charging station you intend to purchase. Depending on the provider, the warranty period for the units can range from 1 year to 3 years. Highly regarded EV charger providers in Ireland offer a minimum warranty of 2 years.
Make sure that the supplier or manufacturer provides after-sales service. It should have a customer service team that can answer your queries or resolve problems immediately via phone or email. This is going to come in handy when you encounter issues with your unit, especially if you are a first-time EV owner.
Smart Features of EV Home Chargers
Some EV chargers have additional features that can improve the EV owner’s charging experience. These smart chargers are WiFi enabled, making it possible for you to manage the charging process using your smartphone. This feature is very useful if your unit is situated outdoors as you get notified whenever someone connects to your charging station.
Some smart chargers can be programmed to charge only during off-peak hours which is very helpful in keeping your electricity bill low. There are also units which are capable of monitoring data such as your charging costs and your cars electricity consumption.
These WiFi-connected EV chargers have more advanced onboard displays as compared to the basic or standard units which only have the charge-indicator lights.
Again, these are just extra features which are nice to have. You can get a smart charger if you want to make charging your EV even more convenient. Just remember that home chargers with advanced or extra features tend to be more expensive as well.
EV home chargers come in different sizes. Some units are large and bulky which should not be a problem if you have ample space on your wall. If you want something more discreet, there are small and lightweight chargers, too.
These charging stations also come in various designs and colours. There are units that sport a modern and elegant look which are excellent options if you are placing the charger in a spot where it is visible to a lot of people.
Just keep in mind, the aesthetic appearance of the chargers should not be prioritised over other factors like amperage capacity, safety, durability, etc.
In conclusion, when buying an EV home charger, take note of what you need now and consider what you might need in the future. Ensure that you purchase one that meets your current and future needs and fits your budget.
Need help choosing an EV home charger? You’ve come to the right place! Call us now on 1800 99 88 77 and we’d be happy to talk to you about our home chargers and installation service!