Rightcharge is on a mission to help electric car drivers find the right charger and domestic energy tariff. We caught up with commercial manager, Colin Hennessy, to find out what you really need to know when you’re shopping for a home charger.
I’m thinking about buying an electric car and I’d like to charge it at home. What do I need to know?
There are a few things to think about before you start hunting for a home charger:
Will you park on your drive overnight? That means you can install your own smart charger to take advantage of cheap electricity.
Do you have solar panels? If so, look for a solar-compatible charge point to make the most of the energy you generate.
Will you ever want to charge two cars at once? If so, you’ll need either a charger with ‘load management’ or fuse protection. This makes sure you’re not draining too much energy and protects your property from an overload.
What sort of socket does your car have? This is less of an issue now because new cars all use Type 2 sockets. But some older cars (like the earlier Nissan LEAF) use a different socket, called Type 1.
Once you’ve got your answers, just go to Rightcharge.co.uk and find the perfect charger for your home.
How do I narrow down my charger choices, then?
Once you’ve got your recommendations, it’s worth asking a few more questions:
How will it look on your house? Some chargers have different colours and finishes.
How much do you want to spend? Prices start from £900 – though sometimes you need to pay more for different colours and finishes, or more advanced smart functions.
Do you want to buy or subscribe? Some of the subscription options let you pay £30 a month which covers installation, maintenance and an upgrade in a few years.
How long is the warranty?
Most warranties provide cover for your charger for 3 years but check the details.
How smart do you want your charger to be? Smart chargers can charge when energy is cheapest and greenest, which makes loads of sense if you’re on an agile tariff. These flexible tariffs check wholesale prices and pass on the savings when the price drops. But not all chargers can check supply prices, though, so think about whether that’s important to you.
Image of Colin Hennessy
OK – I’ve chosen my perfect charger and I’ve got my heart set on it. How do I get it installed?
Finding an installer is a bit like finding an electrician – it can be a bit stressful. Some people choose their ideal charger first and then find an installer, while others find an installer they trust and ask for a recommendation.
Either way, I’d just ask around: friends, colleagues, online owners’ groups (either regional or by car). People are always happy to recommend good installers. You’ll soon get a bit of a shortlist.
The actual installation’s fairly simple, so you’ve got a few different options:
A local electrician – great for anything tricky or if you want careful installation
A local specialist installer – they’ll probably have loads of experience installing charging points
National installer – some energy suppliers can often install chargers as a service – and they can often do it pretty quickly.
Charge point comparison services – services like Rightcharge help you make straightforward comparisons and connect you to an approved installer.
What should I ask the installer I choose?
If you’re trying to choose an installer, it’s time to ask a few questions. Are they Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) approved? Installers need to be to get grants. Have they installed the charger you want before? Or do they have enough experience to recommend one?
And of course, find out when they’ll install it. It’s best to have it ready before you get your new car so you can top it up when you need.
I think I’ve found an installer. What should I tell them?
Just tell them anything that will help when they get to your home. My checklist is:
- Photo of your consumer board (your main circuit breakers)
- Photo of where you want to install the charger
- Video of the journey from your consumer board to where you want the charger
- Documents from your car order, including an order number
- Evidence of your business approving your electric car use for at least six months
The plug type your car uses (most are type 2), and whether you want the cable to be permanently fixed to the charger or not
Your installer needs this information so they can let your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) that you’re having an electric car charge point installed. It’s important DNOs know where electric cars are charged, so they can manage upgrades to the local electricity network
Your installer will bring all the bits they need like fuse or circuit breaker upgrades.
There may an extra cost if your main fuse needs upgrading to cope with the additional load of charging your electric car or if your installation is a bit more complex. Your installer and DNO can give you advice on this.
OK – I’ve found a charger and installer. Thank you! Is there anything else I should think about?
It’s worth thinking about your energy supply. You’ll use more electricity, but 70% of electric car drivers haven’t changed their tariff.
A great option is something with an off-peak tariff. It means you pay peak rate during the day and less at night, which is the perfect time to charge your car.
It can save money (about £150 a year at the moment if you’re driving 7,500 miles a year), and also the off-peak energy often comes from renewables.
Get a home charger
Top up your car at home with a smart charger.
- Smart charging – schedule charges when you need them and when energy is cheapest
- Easy installation – book an appointment with approved installers
- Advanced charging tech – we’re working with smart charging experts