Electric car charging at home - how to install a charge point | RAC Drive (2023)

An estimated 80 percent of electric car charging takes place at home.

Saying goodbye to petrol stations is a key benefit of EV ownership, but you could also minimise the number of times you visit a public charging station. Simply arrive home in your EV, plug it in and wake up to a fully charged battery in the morning.

Using a home charger is the cheapest, most convenient and safest way to charge an Electric Vehicle (EV), which is why it’s the default choice for many electric car owners.

Here’s everything you need to know about charging your electric car at home.

How to charge an electric car at home

There are two options for charging an electric car at home: using a domestic three-pin socket or a dedicated EV charge point.

Charging with a domestic socket should be reserved for emergency or occasional use; fine for an overnight charge when visiting friends or relatives, but not for regular use at home.

By all means keep a standard 3-pin UK plug-compatible charging cable in the boot, but installing a home charger is the recommended solution.

A dedicated home charge point will communicate with the electric car, making it the safest method of domestic charging. A smart home charger will also allow you to take advantage of cheaper energy tariffs, charging the EV when supply is high but demand is low.

For up-to-date pricing, click here.

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Going electric?Installing ahome charging point makes owning an electric car so much easier and cheaper.

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Tethered or untethered home charge point?

Having chosen whether to opt for a 3.6kW, 7kW or 22kW charger, you must also decide whether you want a tethered or untethered charge point. It all comes down to personal preference, but there are a few things you need to consider.

The difference is quite simple: a tethered charger has a cable attached, while an untethered unit doesn’t.

A tethered charger will come with a cable for a Type 1/Type 2 socket, so you don’t need to carry a cable in the boot of your EV.

While that’s convenient, you could be left with an obsolete home charge point should the industry eventually move away from Type 1/Type 2 sockets. You also have to put up with a fixed cable length and the need to tidy it away when not in use.

An untethered charger looks tidier, but you’ll have to supply your own cable. Most EVs will come with a cable included in the purchase price, but you’ll spend around £100 for a replacement.

On the plus side, an untethered charger gives you more flexibility; you won’t have to change the unit should you buy an EV with a different plug requirement.

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How to get a home charger installed

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Some car manufacturers offer free or discounted home chargers when you buy a new EV or lease an EV. But look closely at these bundles because they may not be right for you, or even a good deal at all.

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Where to put a home charge point

Here are some things to consider when you’re choosing a place for your charge point.

  • Do you want the charge point to be hidden or on view? Whether you have a tethered or untethered charge point will make a difference here, you may not want the tethered cable to look like a coiled garden hose on the front of your house
  • Where is the charging port on your EV? Some are easy enough - right on the front, but others are on a side, or even further back where you’d normally have a fuel filler cap
  • Factor in the length of the charging cable. Even on a private drive, a cable can present a very serious trip hazard
  • The charger will also require access to your home wifi signal to take advantage of the smart tools, such as remote charging and access to off-peak energy tariffs, so it may not want to be at the furthest corner from your router

What speed do I need for a home charge point?

To recharge a Nissan Leaf with a 40kWh battery, the slowest and cheapest home charger with a rate of 3.6kW will take around 8-9 hours. This makes it only really practical for overnight charging on smaller EVs.

A 7kW home charger will be twice as fast as a domestic socket, delivering around 30 miles of electric range per hour. This makes it ideal for EVs with any size battery, and needing charge at any time of day.

A 22kW home charger will be even faster, but this requires a three-phase electricity supply, making it unsuitable for the vast majority of EV owners.

Some homeowners upgrade to a three-phase electricity supply when they convert a house into flats, extend a property or install high-power equipment, such as an air-source heat pump. In theory, these homes should deliver faster charging times.

However, many EVs are actually unable to even accept a 22kW charge, so you should check the handbook or consult your nearest dealer before upgrading your home. Costs vary, but you’re looking at anything between £3,000 and £20,000 for a three-phase supply.

A single-phase supply will have a single fuse, while a three-phase electricity supply will have a trio of 100 amp fuses.

The cost of electric car charging at home

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To get the most up-to-date pricing, click here.

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EV energy tariffs

Your home energy bills will increase with an EV plugged into the mains. However, this needn’t mean that your household bills will rocket; the Energy Saving Trust says you can save more than £300 by switching to the cheapest fixed-rate energy tariff.

A smart home charge point like ours will automatically select the cheapest time to charge your electric car. It offers electricity at just 6p per kWh between 12am and 5am every day - much lower than the UK average rate of 14p.

Rates differ depending on your postcode, but EV energy tariffs live these have been devised with electric car owners in mind, so they’re usually the best option for EV drivers’ needs.

Vehicle-to-grid charging

Although it’s currently only available to business customers, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging allows you to ‘sell’ electricity to the National Grid. When a number of EVs are connected to the network, they can discharge electricity to the network when it’s needed most.

In 2020, Honda launched a V2G scheme with Islington Council. More recently, the company launched what it calls an e:Progress home charging service, promising savings of up to £475 a year. It uses renewable energy and will recharge when the cost of electricity is low.

Pre-cooling and pre-heating

A side benefit of home charging is the ability to pre-cool or preheat the car’s cabin before a journey.

Because the energy is drawn from the mains supply rather than the battery, there’s no impact on the estimated driving range. You won’t even have to wait for the windows to demist on a cold morning!

Conclusion

Home charging is the straightforward, sensible and affordable way to charge your electric car. You decide when to charge and, to a certain extent, how much to pay for the electricity.

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With a little forward planning, such as choosing the right charge point and energy tariff, you can enjoy the full benefits of charging at home.

For more information, check out our guide to the cost of electric car charging.

†Prices are inclusive of VAT and include the OZEV grant of £350; charger make and model subject to change. Excludes any additional work required by your energy network provider (also known as your Distribution Network Operator/DNO).

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FAQs

Is it worth installing an electric car charging point? ›

With around 80% of electric vehicle (EV) drivers charging their cars at home, installing a home charging point is evidently worthwhile!

Can I install my own car charging point? ›

Can I install my EV charging point myself? No, unless you're an electrician with experience in installing EV chargers, don't do it yourself. Always hire an experienced and certified installer.

Can you install electric charging point at home? ›

You can charge an electric car at home using a dedicated home charger (a standard 3 pin plug with an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) cable should only be used as a last resort). Electric car drivers choose a home charging point to benefit from faster charging speeds and built-in safety features.

How much does it cost to install an electric charging point at home? ›

The average home charger in the US costs between $1,000 and $1,200 (£740-£900) to buy and install – but the government offers a grant that can reduce the price. You can get a federal tax credit that cuts the cost of your new EV charger by 30%, up to $1,000.

Is a home charging point worth it? ›

Out of the three, home EV charging is hands-down the most convenient and cost-effective solution with most EV owners charging their vehicles at home. Since most private cars are parked at home overnight, it becomes extremely convenient for EV owners if they have EV charging points installed in their homes.

Where is the best place to install an EV charger? ›

Electric car charger home installation

There are electric car charging stations in cities and towns, but what is really the best option is to have one on your driveway or in your garage.

Can any electrician install an EV charge point? ›

You should only choose a qualified electrician for any new electrical installation. This also applies to home EV chargers, as well as those at the workplace. In fact, your home charger's warranty might only be valid with an Electric Installation Certificate (EIC) from a competent electrician.

What do I need to install a EV charger? ›

What's included in an EV charger home installation?
  1. Fitting the chargepoint to a brick or plaster wall (or sometimes another suitable structure!)
  2. Up to 15 metres of 6mm power cable, to connect the distribution board or electricity supply meter and the chargepoint.
13 Dec 2021

What power supply do I need for an electric car charger? ›

In fact, they need a dedicated power supply of 240 volts of electricity. If you look at an outlet in your home or office, right now, you'll almost definitely see one on top and one on bottom. These standard outlets at home are usually 120 volts each, even though the total power supplied is a full 240 volts.

Is it worth getting an electric car without a home charger? ›

In cost terms, while an electric car costs more than a petrol or diesel option, its lifetime cost in terms of maintenance and charging (even using public charging points) as opposed to filling a car with petrol will be much lower.

Can a normal electrician fit car charging points? ›

Do I need a qualified electrician to install a car charger? You should only choose a qualified electrician for any new electrical installation. This also applies to home EV chargers, as well as those at the workplace.

How much does it cost to install an electric car charger at home UK? ›

The cost to install a charger for an electric car or hybrid at home range from: 3kW electric car charger: £250 – £500. 7kW electric car charger: £450 – £800.

Can you plug an electric car into a normal socket? ›

You can charge using a regular domestic 3 pin socket, but a dedicated home EV charger is the better option by far. Dedicated EV home chargers typically deliver around 7kW of power.

Videos

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