Updated: Jun 12
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 €600 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.