Electric cars are growing in popularity, with an increasing number of drivers going for electric or hybrid options. More electric cars were registered than diesel vehicles for the second month in a row in July 2021, and it points to a plug-in future for our motors. Of course, an electric vehicle requires charging so it can do some impressive mileage, but which EV charger is the right one for you? We’ve put this guide together detailing everything you need to know about EV chargers and the types you should consider if you’re planning on going electric.
What is an EV charger?
Electric cars need to be charged. You might have noticed charging stations in and around your area that allow you to plug your car in and charge up the juice with an EV charger while it’s parked. But what about when you’re at home?
If you don’t live near a charger, you’ll need to charge from home, which is more convenient anyway. That’s where an EV charger for your house comes in handy. There are plenty of options and styles on the market, which is why we’ve listed the key features to look out for when buying a charger for your electric car.
Different types of EV chargers
There are several options when it comes to the type of EV charger you choose for powering your electric car. Some are free, some are relatively inexpensive, and others come with all the bells and whistles and cost a fair amount.
You don’t actually need to buy a charger for your car. That’s because you can use a standard domestic three-pin socket to charge it up. It’s definitely the most affordable option but also the longest. A charge takes around 26 hours on a household socket – not very helpful if you need to drive your car sooner rather than later.
The next option on the list is a 3.6kW charger wallbox, though it’s only marginally faster than a domestic socket. Wallbox chargers are the most popular, as they sit nicely on the wall somewhere (usually in your garage) and can also power your home. If you have low daily mileage, then a 3.6kW might be enough. But if you use your car more frequently, a 3.6kW probably won’t provide you with the juice needed for some serious and regular drives. 3.6kW options retail for between £300 and £450.
The 7KW charger is the most popular option on the market and meets the needs of the majority of electric car owners. It charges the battery at twice the rate of a home socket and will cost you about £800 – though there is a government scheme where you claim money back (more on that in a bit).
A 22kW charger is one of the fastest available on the market when it comes to charging. You can expect charge times in around nine hours, though you can expect to fork out anywhere between £1,200 and £1,500 for the pleasure. You’ll also need to check if your home electricity supply can handle a 22kW charge.
Government EV scheme
As well as tax advantages, electric cars also have benefits when it comes to choosing a charger. Therefore, it’s best to opt for one approved by the Government’s electric charging list. Doing so means you can apply for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), which is worth up to 75% of the purchase price of a wallbox (maximum contribution of £350).
To tether or not to tether?
Tethered electric car chargers have cables attached to them, whereas untethered options only offer a charge point with no cable attached. Your car should come with a cable, so you may opt for an untethered option as they are slightly more aesthetically pleasing. However, there’s no doubt that tethered options are more convenient as you simply need to unwind the cable and plug it in.
Type 1 or Type 2?
Expect to find two different types of connectors for charging: Type 1 and Type 2. Most electric cars in the UK use Type 2 connectors, as they were mandated by the EU in 2014. However, some older cars use Type 1 sockets, though it’s rare to find them in the UK. You can also buy converters for both Type 1 and Type 2 sockets, which reduces any potential issues over not having the right charging socket.
What about smart chargers?
Unsurprisingly, there are smart options for electric cars. These are chargers that can be powered remotely through an app. That means you can monitor your car’s charging and choose charging times without needing to be next to the charger. These are slightly more expensive but are growing in popularity thanks to their convenience.
Charge me up
You have plenty of options when it comes to finding the right EV charger for your car at home. And with the information in this guide, you can feel more confident about finding the right option and enjoying a fully charged electric car when you hit the road.